Wheelersburg 60, Northwest 41
McDERMOTT — The signs of an improving team — and also signs of one at their peak.
Northwest kept the Wheelersburg Pirates at bay in one of their five closest Southern Ohio Conference Division II results this season, but indeed fell victim to the now three-time league champion Wheelersburg club.
With Saturday’s Southern Ohio Conference Division II win over the Mohawks, a 60-41 makeup victory in McDermott, the Pirates (19-1, 15-1 SOC II) officially clinched the outright SOC IIboys title for the third consecutive season.
The result, although double digits, was a 28-point difference from their first meeting in ‘Pirate Country’ back on Jan. 9, but remained a win for ‘Burg all the same.
Pirates senior Matthew Miller led all scorers with a game-high 25 points — on an efficient 9-of-15 shooting from inside the arc.
J.J. Truitt also reached double figures for the Pirates, scoring 15 points and going 6-of-9 from the field on two-point attempts.
Jonah Lawson added eight on 4-of-4 shooting, Carter McCorkle scored five and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds, and a trio of Pirates scored two points each.
Brayden Campbell led the Mohawks (6-13, 4-11 SOC II) with a team-high 13 points, while senior big man Brycen Carver had 10 and grabbed five rebounds.
Saturday’s contest might also have been a tournament preview of sorts.
If the No. 18-seeded Mohawks can travel to Kinnikinnick and knock off No. 15-seed Zane Trace in Monday’s Division III sectional semifinal, Northwest will then travel back to Wheelersburg to face the No. 2-seed Pirates — which earned a first-round bye into next Friday’s (Feb. 26) sectional championship.
Zane Trace and Northwest will meet on Monday, Feb. 22 in a sectional semifinal — the winner travels to Wheelersburg on Friday, Feb. 26 with both tipoffs set for 7 p.m.
Fairland 60, Portsmouth 41
PORTSMOUTH — The Fairland Dragons, in their road trip to face Portsmouth in boys Ohio Valley Conference makeup play on Saturday night, got defensive in the game’s middle two quarters.
Thanks to an effort in which the Dragons (14-4, 11-1 OVC) held the Trojans to 13 combined points in the second and third quarters, visiting Fairland managed to prevail at Trojan Arena by a 60-41 margin.
The contest was Portsmouth’s (7-10, 5-8 OVC) fifth in an eight-day span — after a series of postponements in late January.
Four Dragons reached double figures in the win, as Aiden Porter’s 16 led all scorers for both teams.
Clayton Thomas had 14 points, while Jacob Polcyn and J.D. Thacker each scored 12 in the 19-point win.
Portsmouth’s Dariyonne Bryant scored a team-high 11 points — with six coming during the fourth quarter on three-made two pointers.
The No. 16-seed Trojans are set to host No. 17-seed Belpre on Monday (Feb. 22) in a sectional semifinal at Trojan Arena.
A win would put Portsmouth in its eighth consecutive sectional championship game, where it would meet a familiar opponent — No. 1-seed Fairland.
The Dragons, thanks to their strong regular season which includes a tied-for top place in this year’s OVC race, earned a first-round bye to the sectional championship — where they’ll await the winner of the Trojans and Golden Eagles.