Mohawks fall to Clinton-Massie, make first-round sectional exit

Madison coach Jeff Smith talks to his team during Friday night’s Division II sectional game against Clinton-Massie at Fairmont’s Trent Arena. RICK CASSANO/STAFF
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Madison coach Jeff Smith talks to his team during Friday night’s Division II sectional game against Clinton-Massie at Fairmont’s Trent Arena. RICK CASSANO/STAFF

It was a celebration of sorts, just not the one Madison High School’s boys basketball team really wanted.

The Mohawks went one-and-done in Division II sectional play Friday night, suffering a 62-48 loss to Clinton-Massie at Fairmont’s Trent Arena. But the team then boarded a limousine and headed for Donatos Pizza.

“It’s the only place that’s open until midnight,” Madison coach Jeff Smith said. “We’re taking them to do something fun. We didn’t want the end of their journey to be a 14-point loss. We’re going to have some fun because the journey was fun. It’s a super-young team and most of our talent is in our younger classes, so I think we have a bright future.”

Smith’s crew finished 9-14 after starting the season with a 5-3 mark. The Mohawks led 7-6 midway through the first quarter Friday, then watched the Falcons go on a 15-2 run.

Madison made several mini-surges, but never could get close enough to make Clinton-Massie sweat.

Madison’s Mason Whiteman is guarded by Clinton-Massie’s Bailey LeForge during Friday night’s Division II sectional contest at Fairmont’s Trent Arena. RICK CASSANO/STAFF
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Madison’s Mason Whiteman is guarded by Clinton-Massie’s Bailey LeForge during Friday night’s Division II sectional contest at Fairmont’s Trent Arena. RICK CASSANO/STAFF

“Coach had written on the whiteboard, ‘Why not us?’ ” said freshman forward Grant Whisman, who led the Mohawks with 20 points and 12 rebounds. “He said, ‘This may be some of you guys’ last game, so why not leave it all out on the court?’ That’s what we tried to do.

“They’re a really good team, but we could’ve beaten them. We just didn’t capitalize when we had the chances.”

Kevin Duritsch had nine points and seven rebounds for 14th-seeded Madison, which committed 20 turnovers and never trailed by less than seven points in the second half.

Clinton-Massie (11-12), the No. 16 seed, got double-digit scoring from Thomas Myers (13), Noah Greathouse (13), Trey Uetrecht (12) and Griffin Cook (11).

“We knew we would have to play real well to beat them,” Smith said. “We played well in moments. We’re a little offensively challenged, and that was exposed at times because our best defensive group is not our best offensive group. We tried to mix those up so we could get a little scoring on the floor and still guard, but it was tough to guard man-to-man with our best offensive group.”

Falcons coach Todd Cook wasn’t impressed with his squad’s performance. Clinton-Massie has been a strong team down the stretch after beginning the year with a 1-8 record, but Cook felt Friday’s showing wasn’t very good.

“I don’t think we came out and played well at all,” he said. “I didn’t think we executed the offensive plan very well. We shot too many 3s. Even though we’ve been shooting the ball well, we outsize them, so we needed to do a better job of getting the ball inside. And when we did get it inside, our bigs missed a lot of easy shots.

“We played in spurts. Whenever we got the lead to 10 or 12, it’s like, ‘OK, when are we going to get to that 20 mark? Let’s put them away.’ And we never could.”

Myers grabbed 11 rebounds, Uetrecht hauled in 10 and Nick Chowning added eight for the Falcons, who were just 8 of 16 from the line (the Mohawks were 15 of 22).

Still, Cook admitted that leaving Trent Arena with a victory was a big deal for his players.

“This school hasn’t won a tournament game I think in nine years, so this was a goal of theirs at the beginning of the year,” Cook said. “We came out and did a mediocre job, but it’s still good to get a win.”

Clinton-Massie advances to face second-seeded Dunbar in a 7:30 p.m. sectional semifinal Monday at Fairmont. Greathouse sprained his ankle Friday, but his coach is hopeful that he’ll be ready to play against the Wolverines.

“Yeah, we get Dunbar,” Cook said. “But you know what? That’s why you play games.”

Madison is focusing on the future, despite the fact that it’s losing four seniors: Logan Gomia, Ryan Friend, Ethan Limon and Donovan King.

“I told our seniors, ‘This is not how you would’ve dreamed this would end,’ but all of them had particular good moments during the season,” Smith said. “I hope they can gather that a little bit.

Madison’s Grant Whisman follows through on a shot over Clinton-Massie’s Trey Uetrecht (35) on Friday night during Division II sectional play at Fairmont’s Trent Arena. RICK CASSANO/STAFF
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Madison’s Grant Whisman follows through on a shot over Clinton-Massie’s Trey Uetrecht (35) on Friday night during Division II sectional play at Fairmont’s Trent Arena. RICK CASSANO/STAFF

“We knew this season was going to be a tough sled. Obviously with Grant, we have a chance to be very good over the next couple years. We think if we get the right pieces to fall into place around him, we’ll be OK. And we’re going back to Division III next year, which will help.”

“There were some rough times this year, but I think we’ll bounce back,” Whisman said. “We’ll keep working and getting better and see how it goes next year.”

In Friday’s first two games at Fairmont, Chaminade Julienne beat Waynesville 67-41 and Dunbar defeated Bellbrook 75-51.

Madison 9-17-13-9—48

Clinton-Massie 18-18-10-16—62

MADISON (9-14): Mason Whiteman 0 4 4, Donovan King 1 1 3, Ryan Duritsch 2 0 4, Cameron Morgan 1 0 3, Grant Whisman 7 6 20, Ben Paarlberg 1 2 4, Kevin Duritsch 4 1 9, Tyler Baumgartner 0 1 1. Totals: 16-15-48

CLINTON-MASSIE (11-12): Thomas Myers 6 1 13, Griffin Cook 4 0 11, Nick Chowning 2 2 6, Noah Greathouse 5 0 13, Trey Uetrecht 3 5 12, Chris Demler 1 0 2, Daulton Wolfe 1 0 2, Bailey LeForge 1 0 3. Totals: 23-8-62

3-pointers: M 1 (Morgan), C 8 (Cook 3, Greathouse 3, Uetrecht, LeForge)