Trotwood-Madison has had a boys basketball season full of great memories. But that doesn’t mean the Rams are over their most bitter disappointment.
That would be a stunning last-second loss to Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary in last season’s Division II state semifinals. The Rams had beaten the Irish by 39 points in the regular season.
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“That stung for a long time,” admitted Trotwood coach Rocky Rockhold during a state-wide media conference call this week. “We felt we didn’t play our best on the biggest stage a year ago. It’s been a goal of ours all year to get another opportunity.”
Sure enough, the Rams have done just that. Trotwood (25-3) will take an 18-game win streak into its second straight D-II high school state semi, this time against upstart Byesville Meadowbrook (22-6) at 10:45 a.m. Friday at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center in Columbus.
Nemesis Akron SVSM (19-8) plays Lexington (23-5) in the other semi at 2 p.m. Friday. The winners will play for the state title at 5:15 p.m. Saturday, also at the Schott.
This is Meadowbrook’s first final four appearance. The Colts play in the Ohio Valley Conference and are on an 11-1 run. Coming out of the Athens region, the teams appear to be opposites: Trotwood is averaging nearly 91 points; Meadowbrook defeated New Concord John Glenn 36-31 in a regional final.
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»RELATED: Boys state final four pairings
“That’s unbelievable,” Meadowbrook coach Louis Tolzda said of the Rams’ high-scoring offense. “I’ve been coaching for 30 years and you can’t find many teams that have averaged 90 points. That’s a challenge.”
As usual, Trotwood will lean on an uptempo game and pressing defense. Two big keys to that are All-Ohioans Myles Belyeu (first team) and Amari Davis (third team). Both surpassed 1,000 career points this season and both average 20-plus points.
“(Davis) has a mid-range jumper that kids today don’t understand,” Rockhold said. “A lot of kids either want to dunk or shoot 3’s and Amari has found a niche and we’re going to lean on him and hope those two guys touch the ball a lot.”
»RELATED: Boys regional results
»RELATED: Girls state final four results
Akron SVSM is the defending state champ. The Irish play a daunting schedule that includes many out-of-state powers and defeated Trotwood by 10 points in early December.
• Former Alter boys basketball coach Joe Petrocelli and longtime Dayton Daily News contributor Debbie Juniewicz will be among those honored by the OHSAA during the boys state tournament.
“Petro” will receive the OHSAA Naismith Award for “meritorious service to the sports of basketball or interscholastic athletics.” His tenure with the Knights spanned 50 years and included three state titles, eight final fours and 24 district championships. He retired from coaching in 2013 and his 831 career wins rank second all-time in the state.
He will be honored during a D-I semifinal at 5:15 p.m. Friday.
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Juniewicz’s coverage has appeared in multiple publications since 1992. She has authored a weekly bowling column in the DDN and has mainly written about high school tennis, volleyball, swimming and even wrestling.
• Spectrum (Channels 99, 311 and 1311) will televise all 12 boys final four games live. It also will stream each game live at MySpectrumSports.com.
All 12 games will be carried live on ohsaa.org/news/radio.
• The Bill Moss Memorial Girls Underclass All-Star Games were postponed until Thursday night at Edison State Community College in Piqua. The combined division games will be played at 6 and 7:30 p.m.
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