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Not off the Press: We have entered the postseason

These past seven days have been filled with excitement. In Highland County, we had wrestlers in the sectional tournament, a team win a co-league title, another team win their sectional championship, and just a lot of good, quality performances from the student-athletes in the area.

First, I want to send my congratulations to Whiteoak senior Joe Michael for his 1,000-point achievement Friday night at WHS against the West Union Dragons. From what I know about Joe, when I did a preseason interview with him, he showed the utmost respect to me, and the 1,000-point honor is well deserved.

Before the season, Michael told me for a player profile: "For myself, it is every kid’s dream to get his picture on the wall for 1,000 points. That is my big goal for myself, but I can't do it myself. We have to play as a team to achieve our goals."

Also, the HHS varsity boys basketball team deserves some accolades, as well, for their performance this season. On Friday, the Indians got the job done and defeated the Red Raiders of London, and in the process, won a share of the South Central Ohio League championship for the first time since the 1989-90 season. They will share the title with the Miami Trace Panthers with 9-3 SCOL records.

All I have to say about that night was the atmosphere before, during and after the game was great. In the two years at the new HHS gym, this was the game that broke in the place, so to speak. Let me explain … I swear the student section at HHS Friday was the largest student section I've seen at a high school game, including tournaments. The student area was packed. Also the band, the halftime presentation to Ernie Blankenship, and the victory by HHS made it such a fun atmosphere to be around.

Then after the game when HHS students stormed the court, surrounding their team, and all of them jumping to the sounds of the band … that was just a fun, fun game to cover.

Girls Basketball
This week saw four of the five girls basketball teams bow out of their respective postseason tournaments. Both SCOL teams were knocked out of the Division II tournament at Adena High School. The two games saw HHS lose to Waverly and MHS lose to Logan Elm. Both of those games had their high points for both Highland County teams, but it just wasn't enough to advance.

The Fairfield Lady Lions went 1-1 in their Division IV sectional in McDermott at Northwest High School, defeating Green and losing on Saturday to Clay.

I want to thank the FHS Lady Lions for not giving up this season, though the odds were stacked against them. No matter the part of the season when I watched them, if they were in the lead or trailing, they were focused and playing tough. They were diving at loose basketballs, in the paint battling for rebounds, and just doing whatever it took to play their best. No matter what the record was this season, they played hard. That is something sports and non-sports fans alike can respect.

The other team in the Division IV tourney from Highland County, the Whiteoak Lady Wildcats, I was told played their best game of the season, but fell just short. Again, when I watched this team during the season, they played hard for all four quarters. Though they had more losses than wins, they went out tough in their OT loss in the tournament.

As for the LC Lady Mustangs, they will play in the districts next Monday against Williamsburg. Last year, LC played at the same venue in the district semifinal, and they are just one win away from reaching the Convo, in Athens. I will have more info on the district semifinal game at a later date.

For the 462nd time in this column, I want to send congratulations … so, congrats Lady Mustangs, see you in Waverly.

Here is a link to game story between LC-AHS:

What can I say, I like congratulating people on their accomplishments.

Boys Basketball on Monday
The first boys team in Highland County to play in a tournament game will be the Lynchburg-Clay Mustangs, and they will face neighboring Adams County team North Adams in Pike County at Waverly High School on Monday.

Makes sense, doesn't it? I wish Highland County had some sort of athletic complex that could possibly host high school tournament games. That would be real nice.

Anyways, this should be an interesting game. LC has defeated NA twice this season, but just by 10 points in their second meeting of the season at NA. LC will be the No. 8 seed, (the home team) in the game and NA is the No. 9 seed, the away team.

The Green Devils are coming off four tough games where they went 1-3, while LC has lost its last two games.

Here is my preview on the game:

The rest of the boys tournament
The SCOL and Highland County fans are in for a treat Tuesday night, when McClain plays Hillsboro for the third time this season at Southeastern High School.

I will have a preview on this game posted on Monday mid-to-late afternoon, so I will save the details about the game.

My personal thoughts are this: I can't wait for this game. It will be a fun atmosphere if both fan bases travel well. What makes this game exciting, is MHS will be trying to break their 7-game losing streak against their cross-county rival, while this actually is a must-win game for either team's season to continue.

Whiteoak and Fairfield don't play again until March 1 in their respective Division IV tournament games, both at Valley High School. All they have to do is win one game, and they go to Athens. I will have way more on these games next week.

10 thoughts/questions on high school sports
1. I have seen good crowds at most tournament games.

2. I saw where Blake Justice (Peebles) broke the Southern Hills League scoring record … he's a great basketball player.

3. Seeing teams cut down nets after winning a league or a championship in the postseason never gets old.

4. Sometimes I wish tournament games were played a little closer to home. If only there was a basketball court/complex large enough to host tournament crowds.

5. Teams not making baskets under the hoop will eventually cost them a tournament game.

6. Covering all the teams in the county during tournament time allows me to become better friends with my car. Last week, I attended games in Frankfort and Lucasville, not to mention I took in one last game this year at Hillsboro and Fairfield High Schools this past week.

7. One performance I wish I could have covered this past week was Megan Sword's 35-point game against Green. It is always fun to watch one player take over a game when they are in a zone.

8. The sectional wrestling meet took place this past weekend in Circleville. Congrats to Kaleb West (HHS) for his first-place win and all the wrestlers in the event.

9. Who has the best concession stands during tournament time?

10. What is your favorite postseason memory as a player or a fan? I'd like to know.

Non-high school sports thought
All I can say is the 2011 Daytona 500 left me surprised when 20-year old Trevor Bayne won the biggest race of the season.

Quote of the Week: "I told the guys in the locker room that now they know what it feels like to be a champion. To see all of our fans and parents out there on the floor after the game, excited … and all our students proud to be a part of Hillsboro, that's a great feeling. Now that we have experienced that, that needs to motivate them to try to continue to do it again and again."  — Tim Davis, HHS boys varsity basketball coach

Another Quote of the Week: "A sectional at Lynchburg-Clay, to me, is an expectation. It is something we expect to do. I talked to the girls before the game on how this was feasible for us, and you are expected to win. They knew that and knew they could, it was just a matter of showing up and doing it." — Tiffany Barnett, LC girls varsity basketball coach

Third (and final) Quote of the Week: "It was a great night for Megan as she tied the record with Chelsey (Riddle). It seems only fitting that these two players share the record as they have been together all these years at the varsity level." — Matt Hodson, FHS girls varsity coach

Stat of the Week: The HHS Indians, known for their 3-point shooting ability, made zero shots from beyond the arc Friday against London. They still won.

Another Stat of the Week: In the HHS/FHS boys game last Tuesday, each team made eight free throws. HHS was 8-of-15 and FHS was 8-of-12.

A quick observation
I have never seen a student section like the one at HHS on Friday night. I'm not good at counting, but it had a LOT of students in it.

One last item of business
Spring training has started, and that means the spring sports season will be here before we know it.
See you at the games.

Stephen Forsha is the sports editor at The Highland County Press. He can be reached at[[In-content Ad]]

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