CLAYTON — Too tall and too pesky.
That pretty much summed up Dayton Christian’s defense against Greeneview, Tuesday night Feb. 28 at Northmont High School.
The Greeneview Rams fell to Dayton Christian, 46-32, in the Division III sectional semifinal game, and the Warriors’ defense was a big reason why.
“It’s definitely tough losing. I’m proud of what the guys did, … Like I told the guys in the locker room, it’s the worst speech a coach wants to give, you don’t plan it out. You don’t think about losing, but it happened to us tonight. We just gotta figure out how to take some positives from this and learn from it.
“We had a great group of seniors this year (Ethan Bradds, Blake Steward and Dylan Lehotay) that led us. One of them couldn’t play, obviously (Bradds sat out the second half of the season after season ending surgery) but still he was a great teammate. It’s just a sad time for us as a staff right now,” Greeneview coach Kyle Fulk said.
Nick Clevenger led the Rams (15-9) with nine points scored, Ian Tamplin finished with seven and Steward finished his high school career with six.
Unofficially, Dayton Christian’s constant defensive trapping pressure led Greeneview to turn the ball over 21 times in the contest.
“We’ve got a great team with good balance and good size. I don’t think they expected that,” Dayton Christian coach J.T. Holliday said. His Warriors will now advance to play the winner between either No. 20 Greenon or No. 1 seed Versailles, at 4:30 p.m. Saturday March 4 at Northmont for the sectional crown. “This whole season, we’ve been a high-pressure team. We want to be the ones to make our opponent uncomfortable. … It starts and ends with the defense for us.”
In a low scoring defensive battle throughout, the Warriors were led by Matt Welker who scored a game-best 13 points. Dominic Wilcox also reached the double-figure scoring barrier — barely — finishing with 10 points.
“I think the difference was their pressure,” Fulk said. “We scrimmaged them early in the year, and they had some success in pressuring our guards then. We knew that was what they were going to do to be successful, and that’s what they’re good at. They’re very good at forcing turnovers. They hang their hat on that, so hat’s off to them for doing that.
“We didn’t handle their pressure well enough to get the win. So, as a coaching staff we’ll look at it, figure out what we did wrong, and try to move forward.”
Fulk said that while their efforts didn’t always show up in the scorebook, seniors Bradds, Lehotay and Steward will definitely be missed.
“When you look at our stat sheet, you’re not going to think that we’re losing a whole lot, but in terms of leadership and guys we know we can count on to do the right thing and try to keep everybody else accountable, we’re losing a lot. It’s a great group of young men, and I wish them all the best in the next phase of their life.”
You can reach John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ex. 2123.