By Chris Chaney
The Amelia Barons won the Southern Buckeye Conference Tournament for the second consecutive year at Batavia on Saturday, Feb. 15 by sweeping their season series with interdivisional rival Georgetown, taking down the G-Men 63-56.
“(The win over Georgetown) gives us a lot of momentum going into the sectional tournament,” said Barons head coach Craig Mazzaro, whose win total at Amelia has reached 212. “(New Richmond) beat us in the third game of the year and we had to keep the slate clean until we played them again (Jan. 31). We were able to beat them and then we beat Georgetown in the last game (of the regular season) and we handled Georgetown again in the SBC deal, so now we’ve got a little momentum going into the one-game season. It’s survive and advance now.”
The Barons’ victory over Georgetown to close out the regular season gave them the edge over SBC-American co-champions New Richmond in terms of seeding for the SBC Tournament, allowing them to raise the trophy for the second straight season.
That cherry on top of an exceptional year was headed up by the Barons usual suspects, Garrett Weaver, Tom Hacker and Mason Blankenship. Weaver led all scores in the first-place game going for 24 on 9-19 shooting. Hacker added 12 points and Blankenship scored 10.
Amelia now turns their attention to Turpin, their first-round opponent in the Division I, Cincinnati 5 sectional.
“We’ve already played (Turpin) once, we beat them at our place (on Dec. 28),” Mazzaro explained. “It ended up a (five)-point game, but (we were up) 14 points with three minutes to go.”
The Barons did an exemplary job on the Spartans’ Zach McCormick, a Miami University signee, and one of the best players in the city. McCormick only scored nine points in the loss.
The two teams square off on Friday, Feb. 21 at 8 p.m. at Fairfield High School.
In other SBC Tournament action, the American Division won four of the five other games. American co-champions New Richmond took down Williamsburg, the second-place team from the National Division 79-52 behind 21 points from John Ernst, 18 from Josh Heiden and 16 from Frankie Taulbee.
The Lions begin sectional play in Division II at Mason on Saturday, Feb. 22 against Wyoming at 12:30 p.m. while Williamsburg has a few more days before they travel to Turpin to play St. Bernard at 7:30 p.m. in what equates to a sectional semifinal matchup on Feb. 25.
The third-place game between host Batavia and Goshen was the lone National Division victory on the day as the Bulldogs protected their pseudo home court in a 54-42 win.
Batavia’s Austin Sammons headlined a balanced offensive attack with 13 points. The Warriors’ Austin Smith scored a game-high 15.
The Bulldogs’ will begin a triple-header of SBC sectional action on Feb. 22 at Mason when they face McNicholas at 11 a.m. With New Richmond sandwiched in between, the Warriors will go last, at 2 p.m. against Woodward. A win by both Goshen and New Richmond would set up a third meeting between the two schools on Feb. 26.
The fourth-place game was won by Norwood, 56-45 over Clermont Northeastern. The Rockets’ Darian Bullock scored a team-high 11 points. CNE will play on Feb. 22 as well in their sectional opener against Clark Montessori at Western Brown in a DIII sectional.
If the Rockets can get past Clark, they have a date with fifth-place game losers Felicity-Franklin. The Cardinals fell to Western Brown 57-48 on Feb. 15 despite 19 points from Dillon Utter and 16 points from Louis Quiles.
By virtue of their draw, Felicity can win one game over the winner of CNE/Clark and play for a sectional championship. The Cardinals’ first game will be at 6 p.m. on Feb. 26.
In the sixth-place game, Bethel-Tate captured their first win of the season just in time for the sectional, beating Blanchester 63-60. The Tigers’ Evan Iding scored 17, Adam Shinkle added 15 and TJ Boyd scored 14. Bethel hopes to parlay that momentum into their sectional opener likely against top-seeded Roger Bacon on Tuesday, Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. at Turpin.
Full sectional bracket, game times and locations can be found at swdab.org.