ATHENS —Unfortunately for the underdog Jeeps on Tuesday night, South Webster reverted back to some of its ways that started its season sideways.
Only this time, there is no tomorrow for this year — as the Jeeps picked the worst time to sincerely struggle against the third-seeded and tough-nosed Trimble Tomcats.
South Webster was outscored 23-7 in the second quarter, and 28-18 in the second half, en route to suffering a 68-38 defeat in a Division IV district semifinal inside the Ohio University Convocation Center.
The 11th-seeded Jeeps did lead 6-2 and 8-4, and again at 10-9 —and only trailed 17-13 following the opening quarter.
However, for the final three quarters and final 55 seconds of the first canto, South Webster was only as close as 13-13, as the Tomcats tallied eight unanswered over a span of a minute and 44 seconds — and the Jeeps were never with five from there.
In fact, after Trae Zimmerman made it 24-17 at the six-minute mark of the second stanza with his second two-point goal, and following Gabe Ruth’s second basket which made it 21-15, the Jeeps didn’t score again until the 1:12 mark — on Zimmerman’s first of two three-pointers.
Over that span of four minutes and eight seconds, the Tomcats roared for 16 unanswered —and led 40-17 with 1:52 to play.
The Jeeps faced a doubled-up 40-20 deficit at halftime, and scored just nine points apiece in the two second-half periods —as the 68-38 final was Trimble’s largest margin for the entire game.
Simply put, it was all downhill for the Jeeps (12-13) starting with the second quarter —or actually the final 55 seconds of the first.
Zimmerman’s three was the Jeeps’ only make from long range out of nine in the first half, as South Webster went 4-of-20 (20-percent) from three-point land —part of 14-of-41 (34-percent) overall.
However, the rebounding battle was indeed the one in which the Jeeps got crashed upon.
Trimble, with its physicality, took its toll on South Webster with a 24-6 rebounding advantage in the first half.
The Tomcats actually crushed the Jeeps on the boards by a whopping 50-12 count, as Blake Guffey grabbed 16 and outrebounded South Webster by himself.
At the outset of the season, South Webster coach Brenton Cole —completing his third campaign on Tuesday night —said his Jeeps had to shoot well, play good defense and especially rebound in order to be successful.
They started the year at 3-10, before winning nine of their next 11 — and finishing the regular season at an even 12-12.
In truth, the Jekyll-and-Hyde Jeeps resembled on Tuesday night that same club that struggled mightily in December.
“We just couldn’t keep them (Tomcats) off the glass. It sure felt like the rebounding was worse than 24-6 at half and 50-12 for the game. We worked on rebounding in practice, but then we got into the game tonight, and we stood and watched their guys crash the boards. Even on the offensive end, we fell into the mode of standing and watching,” said Cole. “Then our threes that we took were awfully long threes that led to layups for them. We mentioned that also. It wasn’t necessarily things that happened that we didn’t know they could do, but we didn’t expect things to go that way.”
Zimmerman made a third-quarter trifecta and Andrew Smith sank a pair in the fourth, but by then, all the Jeeps could do was play catch-up and make the score more respectable.
Zimmerman, who added an old-fashioned first-quarter three-point play, paced the Jeeps with 11 points —but shot just 4-of-10 from the field.
Brayden Bockway, the senior standout who averaged 16 points per game and was South Webster’s leading scorer this season, added 10 points on four field goals and 2-of-2 third-quarter free throws —but made just one basket after the first quarter.
He was 4-of-13 from the field, and misfired on all five of his three-point attempts.
“They switched to a zone and we tried to cut and attack against it, because they watched us shoot threes in the first half from deep, deep range. They threw that zone up on us because they knew we would continue to shoot threes after getting down 25 points,” said Cole. “We continued to shoot threes, and they continued to shoot layups.”
Smith scored six, and fellow seniors Ruth and Devyn Coriell each chipped in four.
Bockway had half of the Jeeps’ dozen rebounds.
“The rebounding was just unbelievably lopsided. And it wasn’t just one guy. Everybody was just letting their guys go to the basket and not box out,” said Cole. “Trimble did a good job of following their shots, and we didn’t box those guys out tonight.”
Guffey, on eight field goals and 6-of-7 free throws, poured in 22 points for the Tomcats — although Brayden Weber with 23 points on 10 total field goals including all three of Trimble’s triples led the squad in scoring.
Trimble raised its record to 21-3, and plays Leesburg Fairfield for the Division IV district championship on Saturday night.
The seventh-seeded Lions knocked out second-seeded New Boston 71-55 in Tuesday’s first semifinal in The Convo (see related story).
For the Jeeps, four seniors —but big pieces of their puzzle —graduate: Bockway, Coriell, Ruth and Smith.
That quartet was part of four straight sectional championships —and two district runner-ups before last season’s semifinal loss against New Boston.
Since the 2001-02 season, only in 2008, 2009, 2015 and 2016 did the Jeeps fail to win a sectional title.
“Our seniors started off 3-10, but they kept fighting, kept working hard in practice, kept coming every day and putting more into it, and now we end up at 12 wins with a sectional championship and playing in ‘The Convo’ again,” said Cole. “We had a great second half to the season. At 3-10, if someone would have said we would win a sectional title and be playing here, I doubt many people would have believed them. It started with our four seniors buying in and playing defense. Then we started to make some shots.”
In upsetting sixth-seeded Symmes Valley 56-54 for this season’s sectional crown, the 2020 Jeeps — which enjoyed a six-game winning streak as part of those nine victories in 11 games — certainly turned a season around that had started, and sputtered, sideways.
“I’m proud of our kids and the effort they put forth,” said Cole. “They gave everything they had all season, especially the second half when we made our run. Our seniors are definitely going to be missed, but we’re looking forward to the young talent we have coming back.”
S. Webster 13 7 9 9 — 38
Trimble 17 23 18 10 — 68
SOUTH WEBSTER 38 (12-13)
Andrew Smith 2 0-0 6, Brayden Bockway 4 2-2 10, Devyn Coriell 1 2-4 4, Gabe Ruth 2 0-2 4, Aiden Andrews 0 0-0 0, Trae Zimmerman 4 1-1 11, Brady Blizzard 1 0-0 2, Cam Carpenter 0 0-0 0, Will Collins 0 1-2 1, Jaren Lower 0 0-0 0; TOTALS: 14 6-11 38; Three-point field goals: 4 (Andrew Smith and Trae Zimmerman 2 apiece)
TRIMBLE 68 (21-3)
Brayden Weber 10 0-0 23, Conner Wright 1 0-0 2, Tyler Weber 4 0-0 8, Austin Wisor 2 1-1 5, Kyle Kennedy 1 0-0 2, Cameron Kittle 2 0-0 4, Zach Guffey 0 0-0 0, Blake Guffey 8 6-7 22, Sawyer Koons 1 0-0 2, Bryce Downs 0 0-0 0; TOTALS: 29 7-8 68; Three-point field goals: 3 (Brayden Weber 3)
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved