CENTERVILLE — There weren’t enough defensive stops made by Xenia for its season to be able to continue.
Monroe overcame a 13-point deficit before halftime and ended the Bucs’ campaign in a 64-57 decision at the Division I sectional round at Centerville High School on Wednesday.
“I think for our defense in the second half, we started with a bad couple offensive possessions and we didn’t just get into a rhythm,” head coach Mike Arlinghaus said. “Our energy level just dropped and they made shots.”
Xenia, the No. 13-seed in the tournament, built a 25-12 lead midway through the second quarter as its offensive efficiency pushed through early turnover issues in shooting 68 percent in the first half. A pair of seniors got the Bucs rolling as Damien Weaver had 10 of his team-high 22 points early and Ayden Rose made three of his four threes in the game to push Xenia ahead.
Monroe was able to chain together baskets in the closing minutes of the half and ended up closing its deficit to six at 31-25.
Several off balance and banked in shots started the hot streak after halftime by the No. 15 Hornets, but the Bucs were still able to slightly grow their lead by one before things began to unravel.
A 12-0 run though pushed Monroe in front for the first time since the opening minutes of the contest and was only halted by a late three by Nate Fellie as the quarter ended.
“They really didn’t do much to us, we just could never stop their run and we started scrambling,” Arlinghaus said. “They made a couple plays and the ball bounced their way a couple times where we couldn’t come up with it.”
Both sides traded baskets to start the fourth, but Xenia eventually had the well around the basket dry up with numerous missed layups as Monroe’s offensive pressure never relented.
Xenia’s season ends with a 9-15 record. Arlinghaus said he felt there were a few plays which turned this game around, but overall was happy to see how his team had turned its season around and found its identity to win five of its last seven before postseason play.
“It’s a shame that the season ended not the way I pictured,” he said. “Our seniors stepped up and played really good basketball night in and night out.”
Kellan Starks had six points in his final game for Xenia, while Tremell Wright scored four and Fellie had three.