By John Bombatch
XENIA — Who needs hair in February?
According to one Buccaneers varsity player, if Xenia wins its remaining eight games in January the team will get to cut varsity coach Kent Anderson’s hair into a mullet.
Anderson inched closer to the barber’s chair Tuesday night when the Bucs handled Lebanon, 67-55, at Xenia High.
“Coach said that if we win these last eight games of the month, he’ll let us cut his hair into a mullet,” senior guard Kobe Hughlett said. “That’s what we plan to do.”
It won’t be an easy task. Xenia has home contests with Tipp City Tippecanoe, Piqua, Vandalia Butler and Bellbrook during the month, and road contests at Sidney, Greenville, Springfield Shawnee and Troy.
Six of the eight Hair Games are against GWOC American North opponents, while Bellbrook is in the Southwestern Buckeye League’s Southwestern division and Shawnee hails from the Central Buckeye Conference’s Kenton division.
Sidney and Greenville are battling for the American North division crown. The two teams are a combined 12-3 overall, 10-1 in the division.
Anderson said his team’s got a lot of work to do, but he likes where the team is headed.
“We’re not there, yet,” Anderson said. “There were times and possessions where we worked hard defensively. Other times, we gave up too much penetration. We’d let them get a rebound and work their way back into the game. Fortunately, we converted 7 of 10 shots inside in that fourth quarter, we got to the rim enough, and got enough free throws that we were able to win the game.”
Lebanon coach Kevin Higgins blamed the Warrior loss on too many miscues and poor possessions.
“We turned it over constantly, and you just can’t do that. Especially in that third quarter, we’d turn it over and wouldn’t guard them. … They did everything they needed to do to win,” Higgins said. Xenia outscored Lebanon, 20-12, in the third.
Warriors senior guard Parker Smith scored a season-high 26 points to lead all scorers, and was the only Lebanon player to get into double-figure scoring. Lebanon, now 1-7 overall and 0-4 in the GWOC’s National West division, hosts Springfield on Friday.
Xenia is now 4-4 overall (1-3 GWOC American South). With the rash of injuries his team has had, Anderson hasn’t been able to field the same starting lineup yet this season.
On Tuesday, the Bucs played without Samari Curtis. Curtis (wrist injury) leads Xenia and all of the GWOC — except for Greenville’s Isaiah Gable (25.4 points per game) — in scoring with a 24.8 points per game average.
“To be honest with you, I’m happy to be back at 4-4 with this bunch. We’ve had to fight through a lot of adversity. ‘Haven’t had the same lineup out there twice. But four guys in double figures (Ricky Williams with a team-high 22, Hughlett with 14 and Brandon Love and Meechi Harris each with a dozen), it’s nice to see some balanced scoring. And while Te’Andre Adams didn’t have his normal scoring night, he did a nice job in his defensive role tonight and got some good minutes for us. I’m just happy for us to finally get to .500 …. and we finally have a Friday night home game!” Anderson said.
So far, Xenia has played four Friday night games all on the road. Two of the team’s four home games thus far have been played on a Tuesday night, one fell over the holiday break on a Wednesday and the Bucs revisited Benner Field House for a Saturday night GWOC South matchup with West Carrollton.
Xenia hosts Tippecanoe at 7:30 p.m Friday.
You can reach John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.