XENIA — It’s always nice to play a home game. The familiarity with the court, the noise and, of course the rims, is an advantage for the home team. … Unless the home court happens to be new to the hosts as well.
That may have been the case on Saturday, Jan. 4 at Benner Fieldhouse, which isn’t Xenia High’s regular court to play on. The host Bucs saw several shots clank off the rims, but none of them fell through the hoop, to go scoreless in the third quarter. As a result, visiting Vandalia Butler came away with a 49-32 Miami Valley League win.
“It was a rough quarter for us, and we just couldn’t make the adjustment,” Xenia coach Jessica Threats said. “No excuses though. We just have to get better, continue to work hard, and just continue to progress. We’re definitely progressing as a team.
“Overall, the girls are working hard. I think it’s going to pay off for us in the long run.”
Unofficially, Xenia was 0-for-12 in third-quarter shooting from the floor. The Buccaneers missed two free throws over that eight-minute span as well.
Meanwhile, Butler (9-2, 9-0 Miami Valley League Miami division) scored 10 points to extend its lead to 38-21 after three quarters of play. Aviators coach Molly Bardonaro said she lit a fire under her team during halftime.
“We had a 20-2 lead at one point in the first half (with two minutes yet to play in the opening quarter), and then we just kinda settled,” Bardonaro said. “We have a tendency to do that this season. We settle for things and kinda get into bad habits when we get a big lead, and that lets our opponent make their run. So we talked about tightening things up at halftime, tightening up our defense, because our defense is what’s kept us winning these games all season long.”
Freshman guard Sami Bardonaro led all scorers with 15 points, while senior guard Gracie Price finished with 10 for the Aviators.
“That Xenia team works hard. They’re gonna be okay. They have a good work ethic right now. They’re very aggressive and they play hard,” Bardonaro added. The coach credited Sami Bardonaro for her point guard play, saying she has really taken over the position when the team needs to settle things down. “Overall, I think everyone was able to come up with some big plays when they needed to. Our subs played well. Rebounding wise, I think it was a whole team effort.”
Seven Bucs scored in the loss. Haley McManus led the scoring for Xenia with seven points, Brynna Mardis scored six, Kamea Baker finished with five points, Reaghan Wakefield and Alexis Claybaugh scored four points each, and Janell Tarver scored two.
Xenia, now 1-10 overall and 0-8 in MVL play, was scheduled to play at Springfield Northwestern in a nonleague contest on Monday.
Butler has now won nine straight games. They will host Tipp City Tippecanoe for their next game, at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 8.