Still a work in progress, the Xenia High School boys basketball team has rallied around high-scoring senior Samari Curtis. No surprise in that; he’s closing in on his third straight Greater Western Ohio Conference scoring title.
“Our practices have been really intense lately and our defense has stepped up,” said Curtis, a 6-foot-4 wing who signed with the University of Cincinnati. “We just had to take time to figure out where everyone belonged and what their roles were.”
There’s no doubt about Curtis’ role. He broke a single-game Xenia record he shared by scoring 52 points in a 90-55 defeat of visiting Bellefontaine on Tuesday night. He previously tied the Buccaneers’ record of 50 points as a junior at Tippecanoe. Robert Siwo of Xenia also scored 50 points against Sidney in February of 2002.
Curtis’ hot-shot effort was the first of several significant milestones by area players and coaches this week:
• Centerville girls coach Adam Priefer earned his 300th career win following a 54-37 defeat of host Beavercreek on Wednesday. That clinched an outright GWOC National East title for streaking Centerville (20-1, 11-0), which also won its 10th straight.
Priefer is a combined 300-123 in 18 seasons, all but one with the Elks. Centerville is at Wayne (13-4, 9-2) in a regular season-ending showdown on Saturday night. The teams are seeded 1-2 in the upcoming Division I sectional. Centerville also has vaulted to No. 2 in the D-I girls state poll.
• Kenton Ridge senior Mikala Morris is 22 rebounds shy of owning the all-time state career mark. According to Ohio High School Athletic Association records, Kaayla Chones of Eastlake North (1996-99) owns the record of 1,690. Chones is the daughter of former Cavs player Jim Chones.
Morris has to rank among the state’s leaders in scoring (26.5), rebounding (21.2) and blocks (4.1). Kenton Ridge (16-3) is at Chaminade Julienne (8-12) on Saturday.
• Fairmont’s Madison Bartley scored a school-record 38 points in Wednesday’s 85-51 win at Springfield. The 6-3 junior forward leads the GWOC in shooting percentage (62.8). Also, senior Trinity Morton-Nooks of Springfield scored 30 and surpassed 1,000 for her career.
• Oakwood senior Lauren Hapgood is closing on 3-point single-season and career records. She had four 3-pointers and 23 points in Monday’s 57-34 defeat of Madison. That moved her into second place (185) all-time at Oakwood behind leader Nicki Motto (263), an assistant athletic director at Fairmont.
• Trotwood-Madison senior Amari Curtis surpassed 2,000 career points in the Rams’ 131-70 defeat of visiting West Carrollton in a makeup game on Wednesday. Earlier in the day Curtis signed to play basketball at Wisconsin-Green Bay.
• Tecumseh’s Corinne Thomas surpassed 2,000 career points in a 72-27 defeat of visiting Bellefontaine. She joined former Ohio Ms. Basketball Bianca Quisenberry, who first did that for the Arrows in 2013.
• Finally, CJ girls coach Randy Duff earned his 250th career win following Wednesday’s 53-34 defeat of visiting Fenwick. In his second season coaching the Eagles, Duff collected most of those wins at Miami Valley.
Curtis hit 20 of 28 field goals against the Chieftains, including 7 of 13 three-pointers, and five free throws. He also had seven assists. He’s scored 1,945 career points as a four-year starter and is a cinch to surpass 2,000 career points.
Locally, the 52 points ties Curtis with six other former standouts who hit that total:
• Jack Hendricks, Fairmont, vs. Indianapolis Washington, Dec. 2017.
• Jarron Cumberland, Wilmington, vs. Washington Court House, Feb. 2016.
• Luke Kennard, Franklin, vs. Mullins (S.C.), Dec. 2014.
• Tyler Niekamp, Fort Recovery, vs. Waynesfield-Goshen, 2003.
• Mike Haley Jr., Dunbar, vs. Meadowdale, 1988.
• Robert Patterson, Colonel White, vs. Hamilton Taft, 1974.
Jerry Lucas of Middletown owns the area’s all-time, single-game best with 63 points against Lima Senior in 1958. Gary Bradds of Greeneview put 61 on Mt. Sterling in 1959, as did Phil Snow of Sabina against Blanchester in 1964.
Before burning Bellefontaine, Curtis twice hit 47 points. Also going for 40 or more this season were Davis (43), Andre Gordon of Sidney (42) and Fairborn’s Shaunn Monroe (41).
Ironically, Curtis was coming off his lowest output, 19 points in an 80-68 loss at Fairmont. However, that was the only dip in a mostly red-hot last 10 games in which he’s scored 40 or more six times.
Among area girls, Tecumseh’s Thomas owns a best 51 points against London early in December. She scored 45 in another, same as GWOC scoring leader Mickayla Purdue of Springfield. Morris of Kenton Ridge has scored 40 or more three times, including a high of 44.
“I’ve been working on my game a lot,” Curtis said. “To see all the hard work pay off, it feels great. Whatever the team needs, that’s what I’m going to keep doing.”
Xenia (11-8) hosts Trotwood (16-2) in a rematch on Friday. Trotwood won 95-60 early in the season.
• The boys coaches seed meetings for the upcoming sectionals are Sunday.