MOUNT ORAB — The top-seeded Taft Senators looked every bit the part Saturday afternoon with an 87-15 win over the East Clinton Astros in a Division III sectional game at Western Brown.
Taft (12-8) advances to take on 20th-seeded Clark Montessori 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Western Brown. East Clinton’s season ends with a 19th straight defeat after opening the season 3-0.
It’s the second time the Senators have ended East Clinton’s season in the last three years. Taft defeated East Clinton 74-29 on Feb. 25, 2020.
“We knew the challenge and what it was,” EC head coach Phil Shori said. “We can’t fix that they’ve got 6-6 across the board. We can’t fix that they’ve got ‘guys’ and ‘dudes.’ The one thing we can control is who is going to play harder.
“I think when we talk pound for pound who went at it, I think we got after it. I think they can be proud of that. I’m proud of them for it.”
East Clinton had just one field goal — a Landon Runyon three — over the first 10:25. Taft jumped out to a 35-3 lead. The Senators pushed the opening run to 53-5 with 1:47 left in the first half.
Taft forced 33 East Clinton turnovers, 27 of which were by steals. The Senators also outrebounded EC 34-21, including 19-6 on the offensive glass. Taft committed just two turnovers.
Brandon Cromer led the Senators with 27 points. Mekhi Elmore ended up just short of a triple-double. He finished with 20 points, nine assists and eight steals.
Runyon led the Astros with five points. Justin Arnold added four.
East Clinton said goodbye to eight seniors after Saturday’s game: Runyon, Arnold, Braxton Harrison, Isaiah Curtis, Jared Smith, Matej Jostak, Logan Swaney and Mitchell Bean.
“Our seniors are amazing as far as the type of kids they are,” Shori said. “We had some guys that came back that didn’t play as juniors, and they meshed right in. They were outstanding kids.
“They’ve been outstanding leaders. They’re going to go on outside of high school and do amazing things.”
Saturday, Feb. 20, 2022
At Western Brown High School
Taft 87, East Clinton 15
(15) EAST CLINTON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Landon Runyon 2-1-0-5, Justin Arnold 1-0-2-4, Dameon Williams 1-0-0-2, Dylan Day 1-0-0-2, Logan Swaney 1-0-0-2. TOTALS 6-1-2-15.
(87) TAFT (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Brandon Cromer 11-5-0-27, Johnny Cotton 2-0-0-4, Rayvon Griffith 3-0-0-6, Bryant Thompson 1-0-0-2, Hudson Norton 1-0-2-4, James Burnett 2-0-0-4, Mekhi Elmore 9-2-0-20, Eian Elmer 7-1-2-17, Kieran Granville-Britten 1-0-1-3. TOTALS 37-8-5-87.
FIELD GOALS: EC 6/25 (Runyon 2/8); T 37/70 (Cromer 11/18, Elmore 9/15, Elmer 7/8)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: EC 1/9; T 8/23 (Cromer 5/8)
FREE THROWS: EC 2/5 (Arnold 2/2); T 5/8
REBOUNDS: EC 21 (Swaney 5, Runyon 3, Arnold 3); T 34 (Granville-Britten 9, Elmer 7, Griffith 4)
ASSISTS: EC 2; T 19 (Elmore 9)
STEALS: EC 1; T 27 (Elmore 8, Norton 5)
BLOCKED SHOTS: EC 1 (Williams 1); T 2 (Granville-Britten 1, Cunningham 1)
TURNOVERS: EC 33; T 2