By Chris Chaney
The second installment of the Girls’ Southern Buckeye Conference Basketball Tournament took place on Feb. 8 and for six of the 12 member schools, it should act as a launching pad from which they can begin a postseason run.
No other team will look to parlay their success into a prosperous postseason run more than New Richmond who after clinching their first league title since 1984 also won the SBC outright with a 47-44 win over Georgetown in the First Place Game.
“(The win) was important for both league accomplishments and getting ready for the postseason,” New Richmond head coach Brad Hatfield said. “As far as the league championship goes, Georgetown is a really good team and it’s good to see how we stack up against other really good teams. I thought it put a good stamp on our league competition this year.
“We’re clearly going to see some competition in the sectional with McNick and Wyoming both in our bracket, so it helped us to prepare for games like those.”
The Lady Lions were carried to the SBC Tournament championship by Josie Buckingham, New Richmond’s 6-foot-5 center, who scored 29 points, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked three shots in the win. Sophomore point guard Maren Hance added 10 points and six assists.
The Lady Lions get their postseason underway on Saturday when they take on interdivisional foe Clermont Northeastern at 3 p.m. at Withrow High School.
In the Second Place Game, Felicity-Franklin tallied the lone win for National Division teams with a 66-63 win over Norwood. The Lady Cardinals were paced by Ashley Moore’s 28 points. Moore shot 6-9 from 3-point range while also grabbing nine rebounds and dishing out three assists.
Felicity opens up their postseason play on Thursday, Feb. 13 when the No. 2 seeded Lady Cardinals play No. 13 Lockland at 7:30 at Monroe High School.
The remainder of the games were not as closely played as the First and Second Place contests as all four American Division schools took down their National Division counterparts.
Western Brown took Batavia down, 55-25, with a balanced offensive attack. The Lady Bulldogs were led by Jordan Foster who scored a team-high nine points. Batavia begins their postseason schedule on Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 7:30 p.m. at Withrow when they will face No. 6 seed Hughes.
Head coach Dave Fallis’ Bethel-Tate Lady Tigers ended their regular season on a strong note dismantling Blanchester 45-15. The Jenike sisters combined for 24 points in the win — Brooke had 13, Julia had 11 — and now Bethel’s sights return to familiar foe Georgetown in the first round of the sectional tournament.
The Lady Tigers played the Lady G-Men tough on Jan. 20 despite playing without three starters, including both Jenikes. The rematch will be contested on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 2:30 p.m. at Wilmington High School.
In the Fifth Place Game, Goshen took down Clermont Northeastern 68-54 to get back to .500 on the season. The Lady Warriors got big games from Sheilelah Pittman and Kayla Miller, both of whom scored 18 points.
Olivia Taulbee and Courtney Turner added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The solid win should give the Lady Warriors some added confidence as they face Taylor High School on Friday, Feb. 14 at 6 p.m. at Withrow in a 7-seed vs. 8-seed matchup.
Finally, Amelia concluded their solid second half of the season with a convincing 56-40 win over Williamsburg. The Lady Barons were led by Elise Whitesell’s 21 points and buffeted by Kendall Kaiser’s 13.
The Lady Barons, competing in Division I, will play Mt. Notre Dame on Thursday, Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m. at Harrison High School while the Lady Wildcats are in action the same night and at the same time against Greeneview at Wilmington High School.