XENIA — The Xenia Buccaneers (2-2, 0-1 Greater Western Ohio Conference, South) were in another tough fight Friday night when the Miamisburg Vikings (2-1, 1-0 GWOC South) came to town, but there were enough things that didn’t go Xenia’s way and the Bucs fell 56-55.
The game went back and forth all night, but head coach Kent Anderson says that his team play just wasn’t consistent enough.
“We competed well at times, our problems, our decision making in the first half dug us a hole. There were too many lost possessions in the first half, but we battled back,” he said. “We played extremely hard and got some good production off the bench, and I thought we competed, we just didn’t get it done there at the end.”
The game started close, but the Vikings started to pick up the pace and go on a run, which was capitalized by a transition slam from senior big man, Connor Brown. The Miamisburg stud was also fouled on the play, and the lead was 15-7 late in the quarter. Xenia senior guard Clayton Kadel answered with a three, but the Bucs still trailed by nine after the first period.
Xenia got back into the game behind aggressive play from junior Brent Bauer at point, who had an and-one during a nine point run by the Bucs. With the game tied at 22, the Vikings put an end to the run and play was pretty much even going to the half. Miamisburg had a 30-25 lead going into the locker room, but Anderson said his team is used to being in tight contests.
The game became heated in the second half, with the Bucs relying on the three-point shooting of Bauer, and the Vikings relying on the size of Brown. Bauer finished with 12 points for Xenia and Brown finished with 21 for Miamisburg. The score was back and forth with nobody taking more than a three point lead for the entire second half.
Miamisburg’s final possession came with 39 seconds left in the game, holding a 56-55 lead over the Bucs. Brown was given the ball at the top of the key and, just as Xenia was beginning to double team him, a whistle blew from the crowd and the Vikings stopped playing. The Bucs took possession, but the referees had to take a timeout and decide what to do. They decided that they couldn’t do anything and the Buccaneers were awarded possession.
Xenia’s final possession was a kick out in the corner to sophomore guard Jaylin Cumberland, who drove the ball and pulled up for a mid-range jumper. The ball bounced out of the rim, and Xenia lost another close game on the season. Anderson said all his team can do is learn from these situations.
“I got mixed emotions tonight. I’m disappointed in the loss, but proud of our effort in the second half out there,” Anderson said. “Everybody notices the shot that didn’t go in, but that’s a great look by Jaylin. When it left his hand, I thought it was in. But the other missed opportunities are what led to that and maybe their chasing us at the end and it’s a completely different ball game.”
“We had a couple options at the end that we didn’t look to and we were too quick to stay on the perimeter and if we attacked once inside then maybe they would have collapsed and we would have gotten a good outside look. I thought we were a little hesitant there to maybe get the ball inside.”
The Buccaneers can’t dwell on this loss too long, as they host Beavercreek today in a GWOC Showcase game. Both schools’ boys and girls programs — from freshman teams on up to varsity — are scheduled to play, beginning with freshman action at 1 p.m. Depending on the weather, the boys varsity game will be tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Xenia High School.