TROY — After the game as her team sat down to watch the next one to be played, Xenia head coach Jessica Threats passed out Valentine’s Day candy boxes to each player.
Each box appeared to have a specific recipient in mind with the cartoon character printed on the heart-shaped container. It was a good pick me up idea with the season having just come to a close.
Xenia never led as it lost to one of the top teams in the state and the No. 1-seed Centerville 76-32 at Troy High School on Monday in its Division I sectional tournament opener.
“We knew we were facing Goliath, and we just hoped we had brought the right pebble,” Threats said.
The Lady Bucs had come in winners of four of its previous five games to close out the regular season, an impressive feat considering it was the tail end of a grueling 12 games in 25 days stretch due to numerous rescheduling of games from postponements.
Centerville wasted no time though in showing how difficult a task it would be for Xenia to win on this night.
The Elks hit one of 10 first-half three-pointers within the first 20 seconds. Six more would fall in before the first quarter ended and a Kendall Sherman layup in the final seconds prevented a shutout.
Trailing 27-2 after the quarter, Xenia settled into the game and did not lose its composure at any point. While the deficit only moderately grew, the task was too tall for a real comeback attempt.
“We just need to find a way to get the girls to buy-in more,” Threats said. She added with the multiple stoppages Xenia faced due to health protocols, the team didn’t get to gel as many would normally during the course of the season.
Xenia had a difficult task of needing to put self-motivation at the forefront of priorities to continue on with in-person coaching instruction limited and games coming at a rapid pace at the end.
Assistant coach Cedric Tolbert said it becomes easy for their kids to want to put attention to other activities when not getting the time in another.
“The hardest part is when we play so many different sports … we have to make them understand how to put in time in both,” he said. “I love the way some of our other coaches go about it and we should find a way to put it all together.”
Sherman led Xenia with 13 points in the game and ends the season as the team’s leading scorer. Jaelyn Moore had five points, with Alaiya Meaux and Amarie Withers adding four. Bri Randall hit a three, and Ally Vandergriff hit a jumper from 12-feet out to wrap up the scoring.
Centerville advances to face Fairborn on Thursday. The game will either be held at Butler HS or Troy HS depending on the result of the West Carrollton-Butler game which followed the Xenia contest and was in a second overtime period at press time.