West wins wire-to-wire over Warriors


WEST PORTSMOUTH — As an ace pitcher for the West High School baseball team, Trevor Fike for sure knows how important his defense plays behind him.

Same applies to the basketball court, as it did on Tuesday night at The Rock, as Fike fired away at the rim —and indeed offensively found the range.

Fike’s five three-point goals as part of his game-high 19 points spearheaded the host Senators, which stymied the visiting Eastern Brown Warriors to single digits in cantos one and three —as West went wire-to-wire for a 66-49 Division III sectional semifinal triumph.

Both teams entered Tuesday’s tilt at 7-15, as West won the home game rights as a result of earning the 16th seed to Eastern Brown’s 17th seed.

The Senators, which last played two full weeks ago before Tuesday in their regular-season finale at Minford, will be back at the Falcons’ Nest on Saturday night —punching their sectional finals tournament ticket to play the top-seeded and 2o-1 Falcons.

While West is experienced in terms of years in school with four seniors, the Senators —truth be told —are a football-centric squad playing the game of basketball.

But they are athletic, including the junior three-sport Senator Fike.

Fike’s first trifecta found the net’s bottom just a minute and seven seconds in for a 5-0 advantage, part of the Senators scoring the game’s opening eight points in the first three-and-a-half.

West led 14-5 at the first stop, then Fike —from the corner pocket this time —found the distance again, and made it a dozen-point margin only 46 seconds into the second stanza.

He then scored a hoop off an inbounds play for a 19-10 West lead, and before his final field goal with 2:25 remaining, Fike’s trio of third-quarter triples riveted the West side crowd —and ultimately upped the Senators’ sizable lead to 25 (47-22), which was their largest of the game.

His second of those three, which doubled the advantage to 44-22, was a banked-in attempt that resembled more of a shot put toss as opposed to basketball shot or even baseball pitch.

Fike’s fiery night from the beyond the arc was a highlight of course.

“Trevor told me before the game he was going to make at least four of them (three-pointers),” said third-year West coach Caleb McClanahan. “I don’t know where that confidence came from, but he delivered and made five. Tonight, we guarded well again, and finally got to see some shots consistently go in. These guys are athletic, but they are just not natural basketball players per se. But they are going to fight you hard, they are going to battle, and they give everything that they have.”

Truth be told, when West makes shots, it can be tough to deal with —given the Senators’ defensive-minded meat-grinding of games.

Eastern Brown — arguably the youngest in veteran head coach Rob Beucler’s tenure with one senior, two juniors and remainder being either freshmen or sophomores —found that out firsthand on Tuesday night.

The Warriors’ only two-point goal in the entire first quarter was by Grady Barber at the 4:15 mark, as Barber buried a corner three-pointer two minutes and 10 tics later to make it 12-5.

The Warriors were within 19-14 with three minutes and six seconds left in the second quarter, but West went on a 12-4 run to end the half —with juniors Jeffrey Bishop and Cole Tipton tallying three-point goals in that spree.

The Senators then doubled up the Warriors with an 18-9 output in the third, thanks to Fike’s three threes — and four field goals and a free throw from senior Ryan Sissel.

Sissel, who finished with 14 points including two first-quarter field goals and a split of fourth-quarter freebies, followed Fike in scoring — as Bishop bucketed a dozen points and Tipton another 11.

But made four deuces and their lone treys, as Bishop split a pair of first-quarter foul shots.

Mitchell Irwin added three fourth-quarter tosses, Ashton Reynolds rained in a game-ending three-pointer for the 66-49 final, and Jack Jordan in the second and Will Kegley in the last also scored baskets.

Still, the Senators’ secret sauce to success is guarding —which they did for three salvos, en route to building and maintaining a double-digit lead for the final 18 minutes and seven seconds.

McClanahan said the Senators’ season, which includes the rigors of the rugged Southern Ohio Conference Division II, toughens them up come tournament time.

West will be playing its in third straight sectional championship bout —having won a Division III title two years back for their first sectional crown since 1998.

“Our kids, they just battled. We’ve had tough stretches in our season. We play a tough league and a tough non-league schedule. We really challenge these kids, but I am really proud the way this group brings it every day in either practices or games. If you walked in and watched one of our practices, you wouldn’t think we were a 7-15 ballclub. We’re loud, we’re communicating, we compete hard,” said McClanahan. “These guys love to get after it and love to compete. I can’t be too discouraged with them, because they give me everything they have every single night.”

Barber paced the Warriors with 13 points on six total field goals, as Luke Haney had 10 points on four field goals and 2-of-3 at the line.

West will compete again on Saturday night, getting a third shot at tall, talented and highly-touted Minford —which swept the Senators in the regular season, en route rolling through the SOC II undefeated (16-0).

Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

But, the third time is always that potential charm — and West will be thinking slowdown mode in order to upset the high-flying Falcons.

“We have to take care of the basketball and rebound. I think we do a really good job of guarding some of Minford’s sets, but they are so talented, so long, and they make shots that most teams they play can’t make,” said McClanahan. “They are so fast and high-powered on offense, you can’t give them second chances or breakaway layups. We have to formulate a plan to make them earn every single basket they get, and we have to be able to score on the other end like we did tonight.”

* * *

Eastern Brown 5 13 9 22 — 49

Portsmouth West 14 17 18 17—66


Kade Walkup 0 0-0 0, Landen Koehler 1 0-0 3, Grady Barber 6 0-0 13, Dylan Pierson 0 0-0 0, Drew Edmisten 0 0-0 0, Wyatt Haupt 0 0-0 0, Luke Haney 4 2-3 10, Pryce Murphy 3 0-0 6, Caleb Jimison 4 0-0 8, Braxton Yance 1 0-0 2, Rylan Ulter 3 0-0 7; TOTALS 22 2-4 49; Three-point field goals: 3 (Landen Koehler, Grady Barber and Rylan Ulter 1 apiece)

WEST 66 (8-15)

Jack Jordan 1 0-0 2, Mason Parker 0 0-0 0, Mitchell Irwin 0 3-7 3, Solomon Norman 0 0-0 0, Will Kegley 1 0-0 2, Jeffery Bishop 5 1-2 12, Cole Tipton 5 0-0 11, Reese Coleman 0 0-0 0, Diamonte Skaggs 0 0-0 0, Ryan Sissel 6 2-4 14, Ashton Reynolds 1 0-0 3, Trevor Fike 7 0-2 19; TOTALS 26 6-15 66; Three-point field goals: 8 (Trevor Fike 5, Jeffery Bishop, Cole Tipton and Ashton Reynolds 1 apiece)

Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2023 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

No posts to display