Fenwick’s David Luers defends Badin’s Caleb Meyer on Jan. 19 at Mulcahey Gym in Hamilton. Fenwick posted a 61-56 victory in overtime. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Prep basketball: Badin taking burst of momentum into D-II sectional

The Rams started the season 7-2, then went 2-7 to fall back to .500. Now they’re on a four-game winning streak heading into the Division II tournament.

“I haven’t really been around a winning program on the varsity level, so it’s definitely good,” senior forward Caleb Meyer said. “It definitely helps to know that we have a winning season and the most wins in a really long time here. We can keep it rolling.”

GIRLS BASKETBALL: Dayton Christian 44, Carlisle 37

The “most wins” is in reference to the regular season. At 13-9, Badin hasn’t had that many regular-season victories since going 15-5 in 1997-98.

The head coach that year was Gerry Weisgerber, who was in Season 17 of an 18-year run as the head man. Weisgerber returned for a second stint at the helm last season.

“We talked about how we had to stop having single-digit-win seasons,” said Weisgerber, with the Rams finishing 9-15 the last two years. “Our goals are to win in double digits and to get back to district and make that an annual thing.”

Badin hasn’t been to the district finals since 2013-14 (in Division III), but the program has enjoyed some tournament success in recent years.

Badin High School senior forward Caleb Meyer talks about his team and its surge toward the Division II sectional tournament.

The Rams haven’t lost a postseason opener since 2005-06. They’ll begin Division II Trent Arena 2 sectional play against Valley View (9-13) at noon on Saturday at Fairmont.

Weisgerber likes his team’s draw. A win over 12th-seeded Valley View would give No. 4 Badin either Alter or Ponitz in the second round, and No. 3 Bellbrook is the top remaining seed in the sectional’s lower bracket.

The top two seeds, No. 1 Dunbar and No. 2 Fenwick, went into the Trent Arena 1 sectional to avoid a potential matchup with Trotwood-Madison at the district level.

“We’ve got to play awfully well for three straight games just to get to the district,” Weisgerber said. “I just felt our sectional was pretty even. I thought 3 through 10, 11, 12 were all about the same.”

Badin had quite a run to end the regular season. In order, the Rams beat Southwest Ohio Conference champion Northwest, a Summit Country Day team that’s 17-5, Greater Catholic League Coed Central Division champion McNicholas and a Roger Bacon squad that had a 20-game winning streak against BHS.

Balance is the buzzword for Badin, which has eight players averaging between 4.3 and 8.3 points per game.

“Looking back at it, we may have had 10 people be our leading scorer this year,” Weisgerber said. “I like that. Anybody is quite capable of getting 14 on a given night.”

Senior center Jakob Tipton (8.3) is the No. 1 scorer, followed by Meyer (7.8) and senior guards Sam Mathews (7.7) and Daunte DeCello (6.9). Senior guard Kyle Young (4.8) rounds out the starting lineup.

Badin’s Jakob Tipton defends a shot by Fenwick’s C.J. Napier on Jan. 19 at Mulcahey Gym in Hamilton. Fenwick won 61-56 in overtime. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Defensively, the Rams are allowing 47.7 points per game.

“It starts with our defense, and we’ve started making shots,” Weisgerber said. “We’ve tweaked the offense a little bit. We’re still in a motion offense, but it’s a little bit more spread out than we’ve been in the past. We’re trying to get some more room for people to be able to do stuff. We’re trying to play more inside out.”

Badin’s last defeat was a 46-41 decision at the hands of visiting Ross in a jam-packed Mulcahey Gym on Feb. 3. Weisgerber said it was a turning point for his team.

“It wasn’t so much a wake-up call as much as, ‘Hey, we’ve got to be able to relax and just play,’ ” he said. “I thought we were tight in the Ross game. Since the Ross game, we’ve been pretty loose.”

Badin’s Kyle Young goes after a shot by Fenwick’s David Luers on Jan. 19 at Mulcahey Gym in Hamilton. Fenwick was victorious 61-56 in overtime. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

“We were all really hyped about that game,” Meyer said of Badin’s first loss to Ross since 2004. “To lose on our home court is something we never want to do, especially to a rival like Ross. We definitely wanted to come back and do something about it.”

The Rams could get a boost Saturday in the form of junior forward Justin Pappas, the squad’s second-leading scorer last season. He underwent knee surgery last summer and hasn’t been on the floor all year, but he’s been medically cleared to play and has been practicing this week.

Will Pappas see some playing time against Valley View?

“I know he wants to play, but you’ve got to think of his future as well,” Weisgerber said. “He hasn’t done basketball things since July. I’m just going to play it by ear as the game goes along Saturday.”

Saturday’s D-II schedule at Trent Arena will feature three additional games — Ponitz vs. Alter at 2 p.m., Chaminade Julienne vs. Monroe at 4 p.m. and Bellbrook vs. Oakwood at 6 p.m.

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