Girls basketball: Alter begins quest for second straight state title in loaded region

The Alter girls basketball team begins Division II tournament play on Feb. 8 at Tecumseh High School as the only Miami Valley team trying to win a second straight state title. Their most difficult obstacle might be winning the region.

The Knights (18-3) are ranked No. 1 in this week’s state poll and are seeded No. 1 in the northern sectional brackets. If the Knights claim another district title, which is the expectation, they will likely have to beat two other top 10 teams in regional play. And one of those teams owns a victory over Alter this season.

Circle the dates of Feb. 28 and March 3. If the top seeds advance, the Knights would face Greater Catholic League Co-ed rival Hamilton Badin (18-2) on that first date in a regional semifinal at 8 p.m. at Springfield High School. Alter beat Badin 45-35 in last year’s final.

Alter went to Badin in early January and rolled past the Rams 63-47. But on Jan. 23, Badin went to Alter, made 17 of 33 3-pointers and stunned the Knights 79-56. Badin is the No. 2 seed in the southern sectional and ranked No. 9 in the state.

If the Knights win the rubber match, they will likely face Cincinnati Purcell Marian (18-2) at 7 p.m. March 3 at Springfield. The Cavaliers are ranked No. 4, unbeaten in the Miami Valley Conference and the defending Division III state champion. The Cavaliers are young and all of the key players are back from last year led by 6-foot-1 sophomore Dee Alexander. She averages 26 points a game is rated the No. 2 prospect in the class of 2025 by ESPN. She’s already topped 1,000 career points.

Division I: Bellbrook beefed up its schedule with Division I teams and it paid off with a No. 1 seed. The Golden Eagles (17-3) defeated Greater Western Ohio Conference teams Beavercreek, Miamisburg, Wayne and Springboro. To win a district title, something they last did as a Division II team in 2018, the Golden Eagles will likely have to beat another GWOC team in Fairmont. The Firebirds (15-5) are the No. 5 seed.

Awaiting Bellbrook or Fairmont in the region semifinals would be unbeaten and top-ranked West Clermont.

The other two district final spots available to Dayton area teams on Feb. 25 at Cincinnati Princeton would be interesting matchups if the top seeds make it through. No. 2 Springboro (13-7), the GWOC champion, would meet No. 3 Beavercreek (13-7). The teams split this season and both final scores were in double digits. The other potential matchup is No. 4 Sidney (16-4), the Miami Valley League champion, and No. 6 Centerville (13-7).

Division III: This region could be wide open with Purcell Marian’s move to Division II.

Bethel (16-4) won its second straight Three Rivers Conference title to earn a No. 1 seed. Miami East (16-5) is a No. 2 seed and Preble Shawnee (16-5) is a No. 3 seed.

East Clinton, the other No. 1 seed, is a potential region semifinalist against Miami East. Bethel’s path to regionals would mean a district final victory over Cincinnati Country Day, a Division IV state semifinalist last year.

Division IV: The state’s top two ranked teams – No. 1 Tri-Village and No. 2 Fort Loramie – could be headed for a regional final showdown at 1 p.m. March 4 at Vandalia Butler.

Tri-Village (21-0) begins play at Versailles as a No. 1 seed and is trying to make it back to state for the second time and first time since 2012. Fort Loramie (18-1) begins play at Sidney as a No. 1 seed and has made 11 trips to state and won three titles, most recently in 2021.

Legacy Christian (15-3) is the third No. 1 seed and starts its tournament trail at Monroe.

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