By John Bombatch
XENIA — The roar inside the smaller confines of the Benner Field House became contagious, and the host Xenia Buccaneers boys basketball team fed off of that excitement by displaying some exciting basketball moves of their own, in Saturday’s lopsided 83-46 win over West Carrollton.
After losing on the road to an athletic Trotwood-Madison bunch on Friday night, and having lost four of its first five games this season, Xenia took out its frustrations on the Pirates.
West Carrollton had jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, but that’s when Xenia awoke from its wintry losing slumber.
First, Ricky Williams drew a roar from the crowd with a 3-pointer from the left wing to pull the Bucs within two points of the lead. Then, after West Carrollton’s Jayden Evans extended the Pirates’ lead to 8-3 on a 3-pointer of his own, Brandon Love closed the gap with a jump-shot score.
The Pirates’ scoring leader Veshawn Champion gave West Carrollton a 10-7 lead with 2:57 left in the opening quarter, then it was all Xenia. Meechi Harris and Samari Curtis helped the Bucs inch out to an 18-15 lead after eight minutes of play.
But Xenia (2-3, 1-2 Greater Western Ohio Conference American South) didn’t stop there. The Bucs outscored the Pirates 12-2 over the first five minutes of the second quarter to take control, 30-17.
“We got Meechi going,” Coach Kent Anderson said. “He kinda lit the place up with a couple early dunks, and got a little fire in us. And I don’t think (West Carrollton) scored until about three minutes to go in that second quarter. We got a little bit of separation at that point and just kept adding to it as the game wore on.”
Curtis finished with a game-high 30 points in the win. He also brought down nine rebounds for the Buccaneers. Harris finished with 19 points and Love also got into double figures with 13 points. As part of the Benner fun, Xenia wore throwback uniforms similar to those worn by the Bucs from 1959 through 1962.
For West Carrollton (0-6, 0-3 GWOC American South), Jordan Joseph, Evans and Dariane Matthews each finished with eight points.
Saturday’s boys game was the final game of five contested at the old Benner Field House, previously the Bucs’ basketball home until 1977. West Carrollton and Xenia began with a freshman boys game with boys and girls junior varsity contests and the girls varsity contest played prior to the boys finale.
Xenia Athletic Director Nathan Kopp had expressed an interest in making the Benner Field House Classic an annual event each basketball season.
Anderson enjoyed playing on the same court where his dad, Phil Anderson, had previously coached. Phil Anderson coached Xenia to its previous Benner Field House win, a 102-85 win over Kettering Fairmont East, Feb. 22, 1977.
“There were a lot of people here who hadn’t seen a Xenia basketball game in a long time, so maybe they’ll come back,” Kent Anderson said. “It was nice to hear this old place rockin’ again. That was fun.”
Xenia gets back in action Friday Dec. 23 when they travel to Fairborn to take on the Skyhawks for a 7:30 p.m. game at Baker Memorial Fieldhouse.
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