Chris was on hand for some real great hoop action in the 2004 OHSAA Basketball Tournament. He files this report on the action.

The journey to the state championship is well underway in Dayton.  Monday night championship road traveled through Wright State University's Nutter Center as Centerville took on Middletown and Springfield South took on Fairborn in sectional finals.

The first game showcased the Centerville Elks against the Middletown Middies.  The Elks advanced to this game by defeating Sidney in the previous round and the Middies advanced by beating Belmont. 

The Middies started off the game applying full court man-to-man pressure but collapsed into a 2-3 zone in the half court set.  The Elks started off the game in a straight 2-3.  Dometrice Davis scored the first field goal of the evening 1:30 minutes into the game for the Middies.  The Elks quickly responded and the game was underway.  The Elks made some threes early and were set to take a 12-7 lead into the second when, with time running out in the quarter, 5'10" senior guard Malcolm Tipton hit a circus like shot for the Middies at the buzzer.  At the end of the first Centerville led 12-10.

The Middies took the lead for the first time since the opening points when Malcolm Tipton hit another three with 1:39 remaining in the second quarter.  At that point the Middies led 25-24.  Centerville then called a timeout.  Coming out of the timeout the Elks Scott Grote moved on the baseline and was called for traveling.  The Middies held the ball for the remaining 1:20 of the quarter, but were unable to convert as time expired, but they took a one point lead into halftime.

Dometrice Davis led the Middies at the half with 10 points.  Jon Weimer led the Elks with 8.  However, the most intriguing stat at the half was the Middies had attempted no free throws.  It is not often a team goes an entire half without even attempting a free throw.

The third quarter was all about the Centerville defense.  The Middies were held to 4 points in the frame until Aaron Kerns hit a three as time expired.  In the meantime the Elks executed their offense and put 14 in the frame.  Going into the fourth the Elks led 38-32.

Things heated up in the fourth and got a little ugly with 5:45 remaining when Jon Weimer broke away for a transition layup but was creamed as he went by Cordele Thompson.  Thompson was whistled for the intentional foul and Weimer made 1 of 2 and retained possession of the ball.  Both team's benches and fans were uneasy as play progressed.  Then with the Elks leading 43-35 a questionable call against the Middies led to a technical foul on the Middies Chris Wright.  That was Wright's fifth and after the free throws the Elks led 45-35.  Cooler head prevailed in the last four minutes of the game as the Elks maintained their advantage by converting on their free throws and playing tough defense.  The Centerville Elks advance to the Districts winning 60-49.

Scott Grote scored 16 in the second half and finished with 23 points and 5 rebounds.  With that performance he earned the OPS player of the game.  Sophomore forward Justin Johnson also impressed for the Elks scoring 7, pulling down 4 rebounds and playing great defense.  He is one of the up and comers in this relatively young Centerville Elks program.

The second game of the evening featured the red hot Springfield South Wildcats against the Fairborn Skyhawks.  The winner of this game will advance to face the Vandalia Butler Aviators.  The Aviators spoiled a much anticipated rematch between the Troy Trojans and the Wildcats by upsetting the Trojans in the sectional final.  Tonight the Skyhawks look to duplicate the Aviators upsetting ways.  However, South came into the tournament as one of the hottest teams in the state.

The Wildcats wasted no time getting an easy basket off the opening tip.  That pace continued until the Skyhawks spent a timeout with 5:05 remaining in the quarter with the Wildcats leading 11 to 4.  The Skyhawks scored off the timeout, but South was too much.  South scored 10 points on fast breaks and were just too quick and athletic for the Skyhawks to keep pace.  By the end of the quarter the Wildcats led 29-14. 

The Skyhawks came out with new life in the second and scored 8 unanswered points to start the quarter.  The run ended with a bucket from South's Jabriel Thomas with 4:37 to go in the frame.  St. Bonaventure recruit Isiah Carson pushed his assist total to 5 with 3:48 remaining with a sweet no look pass under the basket to James Cooper.  However, the Skyhawks kept coming throughout the quarter playing with an urgency that was not there in the first.  At the half, Fairborn had cut the lead to 9, but South still led 44-35.

The Wildcats came out in the third on fire.  By the three minute mark they had pushed the lead to 20.  The lead stayed the same and at the end of the quarter the Wildcats led 65-45.

The fourth was more of the same as the Wildcats went on cruise control.  The highlight of the quarter came with 4:50 remaining when junior forward Nate Miller got out on a fast break and threw down a dunk that brought the South fans to their feet.  Springfield South advances to play Butler by the score of 84-62.

The OPS player of the game went to Nate Miller.  The junior forward finished with 26 points going 12 for 16 from the floor.  Add in 13 rebounds 4 assist and it is clear he was a difference maker tonight.  Jabriel Thomas finished with 21 shooting 9 for 12.  James Cooper finished with 13.  St. Bonaventure commitment Isiah Carson finished with 8 points and 9 assists.  He created a lot off his passing tonight.  Another young talent showed signs that he was going to be force to be reckoned with for the next three years Fairborn freshman Josh Copeland.  The young gun put up 15 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. 


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