The sectional tournament for Clermont County’s boys varsity basketball teams is just around the corner. Four of the county’s male cage contingents will begin their quest for a state title on Feb. 21.
New Richmond (number-14 seed) versus Taft (number-two seed), Feb. 21, 6 p.m., at Anderson High School.
“It’s been a good year for our young kids to get in court time and experience,” said Eric Coulter of his young Lions who are 1-14 overall and 1-10 in the Southern Buckeye Conference American Division.
“It’s been a frustrating year, but I’m proud of them. We were expecting a lot from Chris Heald our one returning senior with much varsity experience, but he got hurt in the second game and has been out since then,” Coulter said.
Junior center Nolan Darland is the leader of the Red and Black averaging 12 points and 14 rebounds per contest. Sophomore guard Justin Wilson is averaging 2.8 assists per game.
"In actuality this team is playing good defense. We just can't put the ball in the basket," Coulter said.
Goshen (number-nine seed) versus Norwood (number-10 seed), Feb. 21, 7:30 p.m., at Anderson High School.
The Warriors are 11-3 overall and 9-1 and in first place in the Southern Buckeye Conference American Division.
"We played Norwood last year and we've seen them this year once. They're having a decent year. They're about .500 which is the best they've done in a while," said Scott Wake, Goshen head coach.
"Our year has been a nice surprise for us. The kids have been great and they're playing hard."
Senior guard Josh Greer is the Red and Gray's top offensive threat netting 19.5 points per game. Junior forward Chris Petry is throwing in about 10 points per game and is grabbing 7-8 rebounds per battle. Junior guard Nick Napier is the assist leader.
"We're getting good team defense. We're doing a good job playing our zone defense," Wake said.
Amelia (number-24 seed) versus Western Brown (number-26 seed), Feb. 21, 7:30 p.m., at Lakota West High School.
The Barons are 7-9 overall and 3-5 in the Fort Ancient Valley Conference Cardinal Division.
"It should be a pretty good game," said Amelia head coach Craig Mazzaro. "I think they're much improved since we played them at the beginning of the year (an Amelia victory). They've won quite a few games."
Senior guard Courtney Rodgers is the scoring leader for the Blue and White averaging about 13 points per game and junior forward Brandon Dietrich is muscling down about 10 rebounds per game.
"We're playing in a very tough league and many of those teams have won 10-12 games already," Mazzaro said. "Our defense is starting to pick up, but we still need to work on our offense."
Felicity (number-11 seed) versus Madeira (number-five seed), Feb. 21, 8:30 p.m., at Sycamore High School.
"Madeira is a hard-working, well-coached team," said Felicity head coach Ross Hudson of his team that is 7-7 overall and 6-4 in the Southern Buckeye Conference National Division. "We're going to have to get ready to play against a team with the type of style and talent we haven't seen yet this year.
"We haven't peaked yet...Our goal is to win the first tournament game for Felicity in seven years."
The Cardinals have been led in their offensive efforts by several members of the team. Junior guard Tyler Utter has been the primary leading scorer in the most recent games. Senior guard Alex Jarman, junior guard Brandon Manz, junior guard Andrew Gabelman, junior forward/guard Jordan Peron, and junior guard Justin Grooms have also contributed double digit scoring efforts.