LEES CREEK — Miami Trace nailed down the 2016-2017 South Central Ohio League boys basketball title Friday night with an 81-50 win over East Clinton.
The victory gives the Panthers an overall record of 17-3 and a 12-1 in the SCOL.
The loss drops East Clinton to 4-15 overall and 3-10 in the league.
Miami Trace raced out to a 21-8 first quarter lead and extended the margin to 35-18 at halftime. After three quarters, it was 55-36. The fourth quarter went to MT by a big margin, 26-14.
For Panthers’ head coach Rob Pittser, winning the SCOL was a goal his team had its sights on from the outset of the season, and he was pleased with his squad’s overall performance.
“I was very pleased we were able to establish the lead. Coming over here, the kids knew we had a chance to win it outright and we just did not want to have the anxiety of a close game, and maybe letting it slip away,” said Pittser. “We played very consistent and I kept telling them stick to the game plan and we shot the ball very well tonight.”
Miami Trace had four players reach double figures in points. Non-starter Darby Tyree led the way with 19, including 11 in the first half. Skyler McDonald had 15, including a trio of three-pointers. Blake Pittser added 12 and Tyrae Pettiford added 11 (nine coming in the second half).
For East Clinton, way too many turnovers in the first half helped put the Astros in a big hole they could not escape. Head coach Tony Berlin credited Miami Trace with an excellent game plan.
“You can’t turn it over 13 times in the first half and five straight turnovers to start the game,” Berlin lamented. “To make matters worse, we struggled on offense. We also had problems on the boards.. Too many times they got offensive rebounds and I think they scored on eight of their 10 second chances.
“This has been the kind of game we have had too many times this season. We just don’t play good enough on a consistent basis. Giving them 13 extra chances just killed us in the opening half.”
Wyatt Floyd led the Astros in a losing cause with 16 points, including 12 in the second half. Senior Cameron Conner followed with 14, including 10 in the second half. JT McCarren also reached double figures with 12 points on the night.
East Clinton returns to game action Saturday night against Highland County foe Whiteoak. The Wildcats are led by former East Clinton athlete and assistant coach Jeremy McGraw. Then the Astros will face Blanchester on Tuesday before their regular season finale against Clinton-Massie next Friday.
On Tuesday, Miami Trace goes up against a very tough Vinton County team which has won 17 of its 18 games. Then the Panthers face their Fayette County rival Washington to close out the regular season next Friday night
February 10, 2017
@East Clinton High School
Miami Trace 81 East Clinton 50
(81) MIAMI TRACE (fg-3fg-ft-tp) DeAndre Pettiford 1-1-0-5 Cameron Carter 1-0-4-6 Skyler McDonald 6-3-0-15 Tyrae Pettiford 5-1-0-11 Mitchell Creamer 0-0-0-0 Seth Leach 1-0-1-3 Blake Pittser 5-1-1-12 Keondric Bryant 3-0-2-8 Jacob Batson 0-0-0-0 Heath Cockerill 0-0-0-0 Brett Lewis 0-0-2-2 Darby Tyree 7-2-3-19 Tiante Connell 0-0-0-0. TOTALS 29-8-15-81
(50) EAST CLINTON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Cameron Conner 6-0-2-14 Wyatt Floyd 7-2-0-16 Brendan Jenkins 1-1-0-3 JT McCarren 5-02-12 Jacob Olds 0-0-0-0 Logan Kelly Dylan Michael 0-0-0-0 Alex Pence 2-0-0-4 Zach Mitchell 0-0-0-0 Trenton Shoemaker 0-0-0-0 Matt Mitchell 0-0-1-1 Jaren Evans 0-0-0-0. TOTALS 21-3-5-50
Bill Liermann covers college and high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @lierjet