Benner Field House event starts season


By Steven Wright - swright@aimmediamidwest.com



XENIA — Friday nights move indoors as the boys basketball season tip-off across Greene County on Friday.

Benner Field House will host an all-day extravaganza on Friday with six games scheduled starting at noon.

A girls game between Xenia and Northwestern will be played first, followed by five straight boys games. They include Legacy Christian vs. Bethel at 1:40 p.m., Fairmont vs. Westland at 3:20 p.m., Bellbrook vs. Northmont at 5 p.m., Beavercreek vs. Fairborn at 6:40 p.m., and Xenia vs. Springboro at 8:20 p.m.

Beavercreek and Bellbrook highlight the event as two of the top contenders in their respective leagues this season.

Other area scheduling highlights to watch out for this season include Bellbrook challenging its team with games at Chaminade-Julienne, Kenton Ridge and Beavercreek and a home game against Cincinnati Moeller.

Beavercreek and Carroll will play in different holiday tournaments in Tennessee during the final week of 2021. Greeneview also will compete in holiday tournament but closer to home at Miami Trace.

The state boys tournament sectional draw is scheduled to take place on Feb. 6, 2022, with games beginning on Feb. 14, 2022. The state semifinals and finals will begin March 18, 2022.

Also keep in mind a new rule has been implemented for all games regarding the clock. It states any team leading in the second half by 35 or more points means the game clock will run continuously until the margin drops below 30 or until the contest concludes. It should not come into play too often, as one quick peek at final score margins showed it may have only been used in six of every 100 games.

Here is what to watch out for from teams in our coverage area:

(Statistics from 2020-21)

Beavercreek Beavers

2020-21: 9-16, 1-6 GWOC (6th), lost 73-45 to Centerville in D-I district semifinals

Coach: Steve Pittman (25-26, 3rd year)

Players to watch: Gabe Phillips, Sr. (10.2ppg, 62.8FG%, 8.1rpg, 5.2bpg); Adam Duvall, Sr. (13.6ppg, 6.9rpg, 46.8 3pt%), Kyle Putnam, Jr. (9.9ppg, 93.3 FT%); Jamir Hymes, Sr. (4.8ppg, 1.7spg, 53.2 FG%); Gabe Aga, Sr. (3.3ppg, 2.3apg; 78.3 FT%)

Outlook: Beavercreek found more of a groove toward the end of the season winning six straight before the postseason loss to the eventual state champions. A strong nucleus returns and could lead to Beavercreek being a contender in the GWOC. Phillips led the GWOC in field goal percentage and blocks last season, and is in the top-three returners for rebounding.

Bellbrook Golden Eagles

2020-21: 10-11, 8-4 SWBL (3rd East), lost 46-40 to Graham in D-II sectionals

Coach: Donnie Tate (46-67, 6th year)

Players to watch: Gabe Pavlak, Sr. (16.0ppg, 2.0rpg, 1gp) Caleb Fugate, Sr. (7.4ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.3apg); Ashton Ault, Sr. (6.6ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.5apg, 40.7fg%); Drew Diorio, Sr. (3.1ppg, 2.0rpg, 48.2fg%); Luke Driskell, Jr. (3.5ppg, 2.6rpg, 0.9ast/to)

Outlook: Bellbrook allowed the fewest points per game in the SWBL last season at 49.5 but was the lowest scoring team at 44.4. The return to Pavlak should be of great help for a veteran team.

Carroll Patriots

2020-21: 11-11, 6-8 GCL (6th), lost 51-42 to Tippecanoe in D-II district semifinals

Coach: Tim Cogan (110-85, 9th year)

Players to watch: Sean McKitrick, Jr. (10.3ppg, 3.4rpg, 38.4 3pt%), Logan O’Bleness, Sr. (2.0ppg, 0.8 ast/to, 31.3 3pt%)

Outlook: McKitrick was a first-team GCL performer last year and attempted the second most three-pointers while hitting at an impressive clip.

Cedarville Indians

2020-21: 24-2, 15-1 OHC (1st South/overall), lost 42-40 to Botkins in D-IV regional final

Coach: Ryan Godlove (57-19, 11th year) 3yrs record 2011 hire

Players to watch: Caden McKinion, Sr. (5.5ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.9apg); Hayden Hanson, Sr. (4.5ppg, 3.8rpg, 51 FG%); Drew Koning, Jr. (3.7ppg, 3.1rpg) Drew Mason, Sr. (1.9ppg, 0.8rpg); Jack Czerniak, Jr. (1.8ppg, 0.6rpg)

Outlook: Cedarville advanced the farthest of any Greene County school and narrowly lost to the eventual state champions. The core has graduated, but a solid returning cast should provide opponents a formidable challenge.

Fairborn Skyhawks

2020-21: 6-15, 5-12 (5th Valley), lost 80-49 to Centerville in D-I sectionals

Coach: Billy Harchick (7-37, 3rd year)

Players to watch: Alijah Carter, Sr. (2.1ppg, 1.6rpg); Darius Davis Jr., Jr. (2.0ppg, 0.9rpg), Caelan Bush, Jr. (1.9ppg, 0.9rpg, 1.0apg);

Outlook: 85 percent of the team’s scoring has graduated which will lead to new faces in elevated roles.

Greeneview Rams

2020-21: 17-7, 11-5 OHC (3rd South), lost 60-59 to Anna in D-III district final

Coach: Kyle Fulk (96-87, 9th year)

Players to watch: Carter Williams, Sr. (6.8ppg, 3.9rpg, 41.0 3pt%); Myles Witt, Jr. (6.4ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.3apg); Ethen Caudill, Jr. (6.2ppg, 6.8rpg, 48.6 FG%); Jordan Erisman, Jr. (4.6ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.3apg)

Outlook: Two first-team OHC selections graduated.

Legacy Christian Knights

2020-21: 20-5, 11-1 MBC (1st), lost 65-47 to Tri-Village in D-IV district semifinals

Coach: Mark Erwin (25-24, 3rd year)

Players to watch: Brett Carson, Sr. (9.9ppg, 5.7rpg, 49.2 FG%); Andrew Riddle, Jr. (8.9ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.7spg, 41.7 3pt%); Parker Burke, So. (6.2ppg, 3.7apg, 1.6a/to)

Outlook: A young team emerges with only four upperclassmen on the roster. How the new group compliments Carson and Riddle will determine how successful they can be.

Xenia Buccaneers

2020-21: 9-11, 6-10 (4th Valley), lost 68-48 to Fairmont in D-I sectionals

Coach: Michael Arlinghaus (0-0, 1st year)

Players to watch: Josiah Harding, Jr. (12.2ppg, 5.1rpg, 2.9apg, 2.6spg); Damien Weaver, Jr. (2.3ppg, 1.7rpg); Ayden Rose, Jr. (1.7ppg, 40 3pt%)

Outlook: Arlinghaus comes to Xenia after seven seasons at Waynesville with a 71-91 record that showed steady improvement year-by-year. Six of the team’s top seven scorers from last year graduated.

Yellow Springs Bulldogs

2020-21: 7-12, 4-8 MBC (5th), lost 64-40 to Catholic Central in D-IV sectionals

Coach: Nick Trimbach (7-32, 3rd year)

Players to watch: DeAndre Cowen, Sr. (20.9ppg, 9.2rpg, 2.5spg, 4.6bpg); Eli Eyrich, Jr. (3.4ppg, 4.5apg, 4.5rpg, 2.5spg) Nate Curtis, Sr. (9.1ppg, 1.9spg), Malik Thomas, Sr. (5.7ppg, 8.0rpg)

Outlook: No seniors on last year’s team means everyone returns. Cowen led the MBC in scoring, eclipsed 30 points three times and had seven double-doubles. Eyrich had the second-most assists and was third in steals, and Thomas was third in rebounding. Improving on 57 percent free throw shooting could prove beneficial.

By Steven Wright

swright@aimmediamidwest.com

Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.

Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.