OPS has the hoop coverage for the Miami Valley area with Chris Isbel taking in the action at the Nutter Center.

In the early game at the Wright State University Nutter Center, the Springfield South Wildcats took on the Kettering Fairmont Firebirds.  South has high hopes for a strong tournament run after ending the season with a surge.  They came out strong early and had built a 16-7 lead by the end of the first quarter.  The second quarter was more of the same as the Wildcats smothered Fairmont with fantastic defense.  Fairmont struggled to get shots off and was held to just 4 points in the quarter. 

Halftime score

South               33

Fairmont        11


Having a comfortable lead, Coach Ham from South was able to get his bench into the game and provide his younger players with some valuable playoff experience.  As the tournament draws into the later rounds, that experience should payoff, adding depth to an already talented roster.

James Cooper, a 6'0" senior, led all scorers with 26.  He was 4-7 from behind the arch and 10-13 overall from the field.  Cooper, one of the many great talents in the Dayton area this year, is receiving interest from Wisconsin Green Bay.  A total of five players scored in double digits for the Wildcats in an eventual 42 point win.  6'3" Junior Nate Miller also had a great night.  He scored 15 and pulled down 10 rebounds.  "He's only 6'3", but he plays so much bigger than that." Said one college coach in attendance.  "He plays like he is 6'6" or 6'7"."

St. Bonaventure signee, Isiah Carson, finished with 10 point, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.  All considered, Cooper, Miller and Carson's performances were exceptional considering they were all held out in the fourth quarter with a big lead.                                      

Final score

Springfield South          87

Fairmont                       45


The late game was one of the most anticipated first round matchups in the Dayton area.  The seventh seeded Northmont Thunderolts expected to have their hands full with the Colonel White Cougars.  Of course, the Thunderbolts were also looking to exercise the ghost of last year's disappointing first round exit at the hands of Tecumseh.

The Cougars jumped out at the start of the contest going on a 6-0 run.  At the end of the first the Cougars led 13-9 in part to Northmont's 5 turnovers caused by the Cougars man-to-man pressure.  The Cougars hustled and seemed to win every loose ball in the quarter.

The Thunderbolts came out with a flurry in the second.  With 5:48 remaining in the second the T-Bolts grabbed their first lead 16-15, but Colonel White's Donelle Hailey immediately answered with a clutch 3-point shot.  Not to be out done, Northmont PG Kenny Hayes answered that bucket with a 3 of his own.  The teams went back and forth the rest of the quarter with Northmont holding a 3 point advantage at the half.

Halftime Score

   Northmont        32

            Colonel White     29        


Northmont repeated their hot start in the third by going on a 5-0 run and prompting the Cougars to take a timeout just one minute into the second half.  The Cougars battled back the rest of the quarter and retook the lead with 30 seconds remaining on a Montae Walker three pointer.  Heading into the fourth, the Cougars led 46-45.

The fourth quarter was intense for both teams.  The lead exchanged hands several times.  With just under 4:00 remaining Montae Walker hit another big three to give the Cougars a 59-56 lead.  Moments later, Quade Milum, who will be playing ball for Akron next year, followed a miss with a thunderous put back dunk that seemed to set the tone for the remainder of the game.  With that dunk the Cougars extended their lead to 5.  Both teams went to the full court press in hopes of pressuring their opponent into mistakes.

It all culminated in a 1 point Cougar lead with 5.5 seconds remaining.  The Thunderbolts had the ball out of bounds and needed a basket to take the lead.  Northmont got the ball into PG Kenny Hayes, but the Cougar defenders forced him out of bounds with 2.0 seconds remaining.  Northmont fouled before the in bound and sent Donell Hailey to the line.  Hailey made both to push the lead to three.  The T-Bolt inbound was stolen by Antwaun Phillips and the secured the upset victory for Colonel White. 

Final Score

Northmont  67

Colonel White  70

The second game was obviously a lot more interesting than the early blowout, but both games showcased some exceptional players.  The Springfield South Wildcats advance to play Wayne High School at 6:30 on March 4th at the Nutter Center.  Colonel White will face off later that evening against Fairborn.


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