MIAMISBURG - Most area high schools are administering semester exams and members of the Xenia boys basketball team didn’t do so well in Late Game Fundamentals 101 on Thursday night.
“We made some very, very bad decisions in the fourth quarter,” Xenia coach Kent Anderson said. “We forced a couple shots. We just didn’t handle it well.”
Up seven points midway through the fourth, the Buccaneers unraveled and dropped an important Greater Western Ohio Conference Southern Division game to host Miamisburg, 48-47.
After taking a 42-35 lead on a 3-pointer by Clayton Kadel with 4:47 left, the Vikings scored six straight to tie it and then tied at 44-all with 2:06 left, it all fell apart for Xenia. The Buccaneers became impatient and gave the ball up on a turnover. They got it back a minute later, still tied, but again gave it up on a turnover that turned into layup and the first Miamisburg lead of the night.
Scrambling to score, Xenia missed a shot in the lane and had to foul. Miamisburg’s Connor Brown made two free throws with 19.2 ticks left to give the Vikings a 48-44 lead. Xenia missed a pair of 3-pointers in the final seconds before Jaylin Cumberland drained a trey from the corner as time expired.
“Too impatient,” Anderson said. “We’re trying to run our stall … and unfortunately, we turned the ball over and gave them the lead. We ought to be able to handle that. We spend time working on that type of basketball. We weren’t very fundamental the last couple minutes of the game.”
Cumberland finished with 12 points on four 3-pointers while Kadel also added 12. Both had to do a lot of extra ball handling, as point guard Brent Bauer went down with an apparent ankle injury three minutes into the game. Khiyani Harris added 10 points for the Buccaneers (6-6, 2-3 GWOC South). Brown finished with 18 points, a point over his average, but nine of those points came in the fourth quarter.
The 6-foot-6 senior was rendered ineffective for much of the game thanks to Xenia’s pack-them-in-like-sardines zone defense. The Buccaneers had nobody to match his height and width so they defended by committee.
“I thought our kids executed our game plan so well in the first half,” Anderson said.
So well, that it appeared a late collapse wouldn’t even be an option.
Despite turning the ball over eight times, Xenia led throughout the first 16 minutes as Cumberland drained a trifecta of 3-pointers and Kadel a 3-pointer and a pair of 2-pointers.
Miamisburg didn’t do itself any favors, only converting the Xenia turnovers into four points. The Vikings also missed the front end of one-and-one situations three times while scoring just five points in the second quarter on only two field goals.
Xenia led 28-20 at halftime and had a 36-30 lead with 1:17 left in the third before Miamisburg’s Jeremy Randolph made a 3-pointer and a layup to make it a 36-35 game after three. Xenia scored the first six points of the fourth quarter and appeared to be cruising until Brown asserted himself and the Buccaneers began to miss some shots.
“It’s been our recurring theme,” Anderson said. “We get to the rim and we don’t finish.”
The Vikings remain in first place in the Central Division at 4-1 (8-4 overall). Xenia is now two games behind with four league games remaining.
“This puts us in a hole,” Anderson said. “We’re going to have to have a lot of help.”
The Buccaneers are at Washington Court House on Saturday and host Trotwood-Madison, Tuesday.