TROTWOOD — When 5-foot-9 sophomore Dylan Hoosier heeded his coach’s advice, he was finally able to see the basket despite the trees around him.
With 6.3 seconds left in overtime, and with Xenia’s star player on the sidelines, Hoosier pulled up and launched a jump shot from inside the paint to give the No. 9 seeded Buccaneers an exciting 76-74 win over seventh seeded Miamisburg, Feb. 26, in the Division I sectional tournament semifinals at Trotwood-Madison High School.
“The shot was huge, but I first wanna thank God. To take that shot, all you need is God and faith,” Hoosier said, “but I also wanna thank my teammates. They played a wonderful game, Samari (Curtis) had a great game and a game-changing steal that really fired us up. Isaiah (Hoyt) had a big steal, and Gavin hit that free throw … I wanted to make that shot for my teammates. It was huge.
“I played defense for most of the night, and didn’t really have much going on for offense. So hitting that shot was for my team.”
Early on in the contest, Hoosier would drive in toward the basket and soon find himself trying to shoot over the taller Miamisburg players. According to the roster, the entire Vikings team had at least a two-inch advantage over him.
“We talked earlier in the second half, ” Xenia coach Kent Anderson said. “He was over penetrating, but he finally listened. He pulled up, and didn’t go all the way into the trees that time, got him a nice little jumper and knocked it down. It was just a clutch shot for us at that time.”
The before-mentioned Samari Curtis had fouled out of the game with 2:28 remaining in the overtime period. Curtis had scored Xenia’s first two buckets of the OT to give the Bucs a 71-70 lead before his final foul while going after a loose ball. Having scored nearly 68 percent of his team’s points to that point, several other Buccaneers players were thrown into action with the need to step up in his absence.
“That was the beauty of it. We had other guys — we had (Isaiah) Hoyt, we had Noah (Crawford), (Zack) Gaither, Johnzel (Gray), Dylan (Hoosier). Gavin Gearhardt coming off the bench. He hadn’t shot a free throw all year, and he goes up and hits the first free throw (in overtime), and kept us with that cushion that we needed. … I am so proud of our kids, and to see how they overcame adversity tonight,” Anderson said.
Curtis finished the night with a game-best 48 points, 33 of which came in the second half. He was proud of how his team played without him.
“They gave everything they had. Dylan hits his shot, and Gavin makes his free throw, Daviohn (Boccacia) hits his free throw … Everyone gave everything they had tonight,” Curtis said.
Miamisburg coach Tim Fries looked visibly drained after the game, but still managed a smile.
“It was an absolute roller coaster of a game. Playing in overtime of a tournament game is a great thing, you’re talking about extra minutes to your season, and that was really exciting,” he said.
Fries applauded his seniors, Corey Hartman, Drew Barry, Bret Hensley and Duncan Hall. “I told them, if you go through life swinging and fighting to the end, you’re going to be successful in life. And I think we showed that toughness and grit tonight.”
Hartman led the Vikings with 20 points scored, Hensley scored 18, junior Colin Murphy scored 14 and sophomore Alex Ball finished with 12.
The Greater Western Ohio Conference National West division champion Miamisburg Vikings end the season with a 17-7 record. They had won nine of their previous 10 games, including seven straight prior to Tuesday’s OT loss.
Xenia (14-10), which had lost three of its last five regular season games, will now take on the winner of Tuesday’s late game between top-seeded Centerville or No. 16 seed Northmont for the sectional title. That game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start on Friday, March 1, tentatively with Centerville High School being the game’s location. Should the Elks defeat Northmont, that location may change, however.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.