Boys’ basketball teams look forward to sectional tournament

The Ohio boys’ sectional draw took place on Sunday, February 12 and although most teams have a few games left in their regular season, some coaches are looking forward to postseason preparations.

Starting at the end next week, seven of the 10 Clermont County schools will take the floor with their seasons on the line.

Beginning on Friday, February 24, Bethel-Tate, Milford and Williamsburg will be in action at three different venues.

In Division I, Milford will take on Western Brown at 8:30 p.m. at Oak Hills High School. The Eagles are seeded No. 17 and a favorite, but the No. 23-seeded Broncos are worrying Milford coach Joe Cambron.

“I think (Western Brown) is dangerous,” he said. “They have a lot of seniors and have won 16 games, so they’re used to winning. They’re really scrappy. We have a size advantage, but (Western Brown) keeps coming at you the entire game.”

The Eagles started the season a little sluggishly, but really came together in February as players came back from injuries to get the team ready for tournament time.

“If you would have told me in November that we would be 13-7, I would have been a little disappointed,” Cambron said. “But if you would have told me in January that we would be 13-7, I would have been excited.

“Things didn’t click right away, but February has been a lot better. We’re definitely playing our best basketball at the end of the year.”

Although Milford is relatively young, they do have a pair of seniors led by Rob Overbeck who Cambron believes should be ready for this type of do-or-die basketball.

“We are in a unique situation with Rob playing in three state tournaments already,” the coach said. “He won’t be wowed by the atmosphere or the mentality that everything is on the line. He’s been there already and understands it.”

As for Bethel-Tate and Williamsburg, the Tigers face second seeded Aiken at 8 p.m. at Mason in the Division II sectional and the Wildcats will play third-seeded Roger Bacon at 6:30 p.m. at Western Brown.

Both teams have tall orders as their opponents have double-digit wins on the season.

Saturday, February 25 is chalk-full of Clermont County games with four teams in action including three in a triple-header at Mason High School.

The only Clermont team not playing at Mason in the Division II sectional is Felicity who is playing Cincinnati Christian at 4 p.m. at Oak Hills in the Division IV sectional tournament.

Goshen will kick off their postseason as the first game at Mason at 11 a.m. against No. 5 seed Wilmington.

“The draw came out exactly how I thought it would,” Goshen coach Scott Wake said. “We scouted all the teams we thought we might play, so we’re ready for (Wilmington). I think if we come out and are ready to play, we should have a good chance of winning.”

The Warriors struggled with injuries during the regular season, but Wake believes with his team at full-strength that they can make a run.

Wake doesn’t have any major concerns about the early tip-time because of the Goshen practice schedule.

“We talked about (the time of the game) and we told the guys that it’s just a state of mind,” Wake said. “We practice earlier than 11 every Saturday, so hopefully the guys won’t let it get to them.”

New Richmond plays the middle game of the day at Mason at 12:30 p.m. The Lions, seeded No. 8 will play the seventh seeded Norwood Indians. The teams are evenly matched and both share identical 8-10 records with two games remaining in the regular season.

The Clermont capper features No. 10 seed Batavia against No. 12 seed Taylor.

The Bulldogs got off to a rough start, but turned their season around to get near .500.

“I’m very proud of our guys,” head coach Mike Hatfield said. “It’s easy to go through a stretch like (we did at the beginning of the year) and just go through the motions for the rest of the season, but we never did. Practices were still competitive and we finally got a couple of things to go our way.”

Hatfield thinks his team is a better all-around squad than Taylor, but with a win, the Bulldogs will likely meet No. 1 seed, Taft.

Hatfield said that Taft is one of the best teams in the city and that even if they present matchup problems, he expects his guys to go out and work hard.

The final two teams in Clermont County are Amelia and Glen Este, both competing in the Division I sectional.

Glen Este will likely play top-seeded La Salle on Wednesday, February 29 at 6:30 p.m. at Lakota West High School. The Lancers were state runners-up last year and likely give Glen Este all they can handle.

Amelia will likely face second seed Moeller. The Crusaders were knocked out of the state tournament by La Salle last year in the state quarterfinals. Amelia plays on Wednesday, February 29 at 6:30 p.m. at Hamilton High School.