NEW BOSTON — According to Adam Cox, New Boston’s boys basketball coach, with the longer and wider floor for Friday’s Division IV state semifinal game —and possibly Sunday’s state championship tilt —the Tigers not need be on a shorter leash.
That’s because Cox, in previewing the Tigers’ Final Four bout against fellow 24-2 Columbus Grove, simply said: “our bench needs to play big minutes”.
But, New Boston’s “bench” basically has been —all season long in fact —6-3 junior Brady Voiers coming off first, then if need be both junior Sethe Perry and even sophomore Luke Henson.
It’s primarily a six-man regular rotation which has managed throughout the postseason, as Voiers would start for many Southern Ohio Conference clubs — but given the four standout seniors and junior point guard Grady Jackson, Voiers is quite the capable sixth man.
However, if the Tigers are to punch their ticket to their first-ever state championship in their first state tournament appearance since 1960, then they will have to make the most of the rotation which Cox is planning for.
Tipoff inside the sparkling University of Dayton Arena is set for 2 p.m. — with the winner advancing to Sunday’s state championship tilt, which is set for 10:45.
Friday’s first state semifinal, between 25-3 Botkins and 17-4 Richmond Heights, is set for an 11 a.m. tip.
“When I say bench, I mean Brady Voiers, then rotation-wise it’s going to have to go through an order of rotations for us to manage our starting five. Brady comes in first, but the next substitution is not going to be for Brady. It’s going to be for the next man to catch a break,” said Cox. “Trying to get a rotation going, save some legs, and try to stay fresh for four quarters and 32 minutes on that big court.”
The Tigers, in preparation for Friday’s atmosphere, were set to practice at Shawnee State University on Wednesday —with Wright State being the Tigers’ practice and walk-thru venue for Thursday night.
The Tigers are also familiar with playing at Ohio University’s Convocation Center — another 13,000-or-more seat college arena.
But either at Ohio University, Wright State, and on Friday in UD Arena, the floor is still 94-feet — and the shooting backdrops are different than regular gymnasiums.
All 16 teams which are in Dayton for the state tournament this weekend will have to adjust to anything and everything.
Just like back
in New Boston
One thing that will not change for the Tigers —or for the Bulldogs for that matter — reminds you of the scene from the all-time classic Hoosiers.
The fictional Hickory Huskers, a tiny school much like New Boston, overcame the awestruck of playing in the real-life Hinkle Fieldhouse (where the state championship game scenes were filmed) — by simply taking two measurements once they arrived in the building.
The distance from the rim to the floor was 10-feet, and the distance from the free-throw line to underneath the basket was 15-feet.
Simply put, in borrowing from that famous film line, the Tigers will “find these are the exact same measurements” as their gym back in New Boston.
That home gym, of course, is Homer Pellegrinon Gymnasium.
It will indeed look even nicer next season — with at least a Final Four banner hanging high above.
Tigers’ Top 5
Barring any last-minute changes on Friday, New Boston’s starting five will consist of its top five scorers.
The six-foot five-inch senior Kyle Sexton (21.4 ppg, 13.0 rpg) is the two-time Ohio Prep Sports Writers Association Southeast District Division IV Player of the Year —as 6-1 Tanner Voiers (19.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg) joined Sexton on that first-team all-district unit for the second straight season.
Sexton — who has verbally committed to playing collegiately at Ohio Valley University in Parkersburg, W. Va. — set the Tigers’ new career scoring record at 1,707 points in their regional championship win.
De’Von Jones (14.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg) joined the all-district list this season as a second-teamer, while 6-6 senior Chase Clark (10.7 ppg, 11.8 rpg) was a third-team all-district choice.
The final starter is the six-foot junior point guard Jackson.
The first four are all seniors, while the junior Jackson has the experience level of some senior players.
All five have come up large throughout the tournament at different times, and will need to do so again on Friday.
“I’m really stoked about how our kids have responded. These four seniors especially. It’s their last rodeo, and when you have a good group of seniors in the tournament, they are going to leave it all on the floor,” said Cox. “These kids have.”
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved