By Chris Chaney
The Southern Buckeye Conference’s inaugural Girls’ Basketball Championship turned out to be an All-American affair with the six schools from the American Division of the SBC sweeping their National Division counterparts.
The six-game matchup held at Western Brown on Saturday, Feb. 9 meant different things to different teams as they added a 22nd game to their regular season schedule.
“I think (the championship) was a good thing,” New Richmond head coach Brad Hatfield said. “It gave us a chance to brush up a little bit before the (sectional) tournament while still having that tournament atmosphere. It allowed to develop our bench for tournament season.”
Hatfield’s Lady Lions played in the third-place game against Clermont Northeastern, winning 45-30, led by freshman point guard Maren Hance’s 11 points on 5-8 shooting. Junior center Josie Buckingham carded a double-double, scoring 10 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.
The fourth-place game between Amelia and Batavia turned out to be one of the best of the tournament, with the Lady Barons grinding out a tough 56-49 win in overtime.
“I thought (the championship) was good and it’s nice to add a 22nd game that’s not too far from home,” Amelia head coach Tara Kaiser said. “We had a tough game from the start and coming off a good win over Bethel (on Feb. 7), our girls were a little tired, but we fought hard. Batavia did a good job keeping it close.”
The Lady Bulldogs did better than keep it close, they held a seven-point lead in the waning minutes of the game, but Coach Kaiser employed a man-to-man full-court press, which forced some turnovers and allowed the Lady Barons to tie the game up and send it to overtime.
Amelia shut out Batavia in the extra period to claim a seven-point win, 56-49. The Lady Barons had four players score in double-digits — Elise Whitesell, Cassidy Bailey, Danielle Lang and Ainsley Pruss — to Batavia’s one — Samantha McElfresh.
The other game that pitted Clermont County teams against one another came in the fifth-place game between Bethel-Tate and Williamsburg. The Lady Tigers, led by Brooke Jenike’s game-high 19 points, took care of the Lady Wildcats 49-23.
The Goshen Lady Warriors closed their regular season in style, beating Blanchester 49-34 in the sixth-place game, paced by Courtney Turner’s 15 points, which included four three-pointers.
The Felicity-Franklin Lady Cardinals fell to Norwood in the second-place game in a close one, 59-53.
All of the teams now have a short rest period before kicking off their sectional tournament runs. Games begin on Thursday, Feb. 14 with locations and opponents determined by the sectional draw.
Amelia will play Fairfield on Feb. 14 at Lakota East at 6 p.m. in a Division I sectional. Batavia, Bethel-Tate, Goshen and New Richmond are all playing in the DII Withrow sectional, which games start on Feb. 14 as well.
Felicity-Franklin, Clermont Northeastern and Williamsburg will play in the DII Wilmington sectional with the first game taking place on Saturday, Feb. 16.
For more information concerning game times and opponents, log on to the Southwest Ohio District Athletic Board’s website at swdab.org.