PORTSMOUTH — Basketball teams from Scioto County will play for the right to move on in this weekend’s Division III and IV tournaments.
It’s the second straight season that five boys teams from Scioto County advanced to the district tournament, while three girls teams will be playing for a district championship on Friday for the first time since the 2017-18 season.
Let’s break down the matchups and what’s at stake for each team and program this weekend.
Division III Southeast District 1 Final — No. 1 Wheelersburg vs. No. 4 Fairfield
Records: Wheelersburg (22-0), Fairfield (20-3)
When and where: Friday, February 25 at 6:30 p.m. at Waverly Downtown Arena
The No. 1 team in the Division III AP poll and the No. 1 seed in the Southeast District Wheelersburg Lady Pirates will play for their third district championship in four seasons on Friday.
Their opponent, the Fairfield Lady Lions of the Southern Hills Athletic Conference, looks to play spoiler as they seek their first district title since moving to D-III in girls basketball during the 2017-18 school year.
The Lady Pirates escaped North Adams of the SHAC 42-40 last Saturday with a game-winning bucket by senior Alaina Keeney.
In their two games against NA in SHAC regular-season play, Fairfield swept the season series 62-54 in January and 41-39 in early February.
‘Burg coach Dusty Spradlin said this after their win over North Adams, “Just the resiliency of this group and finding different ways to win, it speaks a lot to these kids’ character and want-to,” said Spradlin. “These kids have been bought-in since day one, and they want what’s best for the whole group. This is a ‘team’ in every aspect of the word. And we’re still playing for district championship.”
Division IV Southeast District 1 Final — No. 1 Trimble vs. No. 4 South Webster
Records: South Webster (19-4), Trimble (16-5)
When and where: Friday, February 25 at 6:30 p.m. at Piketon High School
The South Webster Lady Jeeps go for win No. 20 and the program’s first district championship since 2016 on Friday in a rematch from the regular season.
When the Lady Jeeps traveled to Glouster and defeated Trimble 58-56 on January 22, it helped spark their current nine-game win streak and run to their next test.
Bri Claxon dropped a game-high 36 points and helped South Webster escape Athens County with a signature non-league win.
Lady Jeeps coach Ryan Dutiel said he excepts another tight contest with the Lady Tomcats — after their 64-51 win over Paint Valley in the district semis.
“Seeing them before in the regular season I think is an advantage for us. We’ve seen each other’s personnel, we know what we have. Just have to come out and execute,” Dutiel said. “Up there it was a back-and-forth game until we were able to pull away late, expect the same thing on Friday night.”
Division IV Southeast District 2 Final — No. 2 Waterford vs. No. 3 Notre Dame
Records: Notre Dame (20-3), Waterford (21-3)
When and where: Friday, February 25 at 9:00 p.m. at Piketon High School
For the No. 3 seed Notre Dame Lady Titans to secure the program’s fourth district title since 2016, they’ll need to go through a familiar postseason opponent.
No. 2 seed Waterford and Notre Dame met in the D-IV district final in 2016 and last season, both going the Lady Wildcats’ way.
To reach Friday’s late show, the Lady Titans defeated South Gallia 65-58 in overtime, while Waterford defeated Peebles 50-35 in their own district semi.
“It’s exciting to go back to the district championship. It’s an experience we want these girls to have every year,” McKenzie said, after their district semi win. “If you’d told me that we’d be here at the beginning of the year, I’d have said that’d be a huge step for this team. It was a goal, but we don’t want to stop there. These girls are hungry and we’re excited for the opportunity to get to play another game.”
Division III Southeast District 1 Semifinal — No. 1 Minford vs. No. 8 Wheelersburg
Records: Minford (19-4), Wheelersburg (13-11)
When and where: Saturday, February 26 at 1:00 p.m. at the Waverly Downtown Arena
As if Minford and Wheelersburg don’t already have quite the postseason history as of late, Saturday’s D-III district semifinal between the No. 1 seed Falcons and No. 8 seed Pirates will add another chapter to that.
Minford has the eye-test advantage as the Falcons won both regular-season meetings by a combined 28 points — 54-37 on January 11 and 62-51 on February 11.
However, the postseason and its win-or-go-home nature makes it an entirely new season.
A win for the Falcons would place the Minford program in its first district final since the 1994-95 season — when they reached the regional final.
Wheelersburg, with a win, will be playing in their fourth district championship game since the 2017-18 season.
Division IV Southeast District 1 Semifinal — No. 1 Trimble vs. No. 9 Notre Dame
Records: Notre Dame (16-6), Trimble (20-1)
When and where: Saturday, February 26 at 1:00 p.m. at Wellston High School
The Notre Dame Titans have already pulled off one upset by seeding in the postseason.
On Saturday afternoon, they’ll go for another.
Following their 61-56 win over Waterford of the TVC-Hocking, the Titans claimed their first D-IV sectional title since 2014 — and earned the right to face top-seeded and defending district champ Trimble.
The Tomcats have just one loss on the season, falling to Federal Hocking 61-60 on a last-second half-court three to split the TVC-Hocking title with the Lancers.
Over the last five weeks, the Titans have been red hot.
Notre Dame enters Saturday’s district semi riding an 11-game winning streak, dating back to January 18.
They’ll go for a dozen and another upset win against the Tomcats at Wellston — to reach the program’s first district final since the 2012-13 season.
Division IV Southeast District 2 Semifinal — No. 2 Valley vs. No. 7 South Webster
Records: Valley (18-4), South Webster (15-7)
When and where: Saturday, February 26 at 6:00 p.m. at Wellston High School
The final game of the weekend involving Scioto County teams, Saturday’s D-IV district semifinal between SOC II rivals Valley and South Webster, is the ultimate toss-up.
The Indians and Jeeps split their regular-season matchups in SOC II play, both winning on the other’s home court.
Valley won at South Webster 60-54 on December 10, while South Webster won in Lucasville 52-50 on January 21.
A win would place the No. 2 seed Indians in their second straight D-IV district final — as they seek to win the program’s first district crown since 2014.
For the No. 7 seed Jeeps, a win would mean the program’s return for to the district title game for the first time since the 2017-18 season.
Two wins for South Webster this district tournament would give the Jeeps the program’s first district title since the 2012-13 campaign.