VANDALIA — After six scouting trips to Greeneview High boys basketball games, Dayton Christian coach J.T. Holliday knew his Warriors might have to pull out a few tricks in order to earn a win.
It apparently worked.
Holliday’s 15th seeded Warriors knocked the fifth-seed Rams out of step with a kind of 3-2 zone defense that pestered Greeneview’s often reliable outside shooters, while rarely giving up an easy inside shot.
Dayton Christian trailed, 34-31, with just over three minutes left, went on a 7-0 run in the ensuing two minutes to grab the lead, and never trailed again for a 40-38 upset win in the first round of the Division III sectional basketball tournament, Feb. 20, in the Vandalia Butler Student Activities Center.
Rams coach Kyle Fulk placed the blame on himself.
“No knock on Dayton Christian, because they did an extremely good job. But I think talent-wise we’re as good as anyone in the area. So when we don’t win, personally I’m going to take the blame for us not putting guys in the right situations, to make something happen,” Fulk said. “(Dayton Christian) went into a 3-2 zone for the last 3-4 games of the year, and we’ve been able to handle it for the most part.
“Tonight just wasn’t our night.”
Unofficially, Greeneview hit three of its 11 shot attempts from three-point range (27 percent). The Rams, who led the Ohio Heritage Conference in three-point shots made with 148 in 22 games (6.7 per game) did not hit a three in the final quarter.
At the same time, the Rams had a tough time driving inside and drawing fouls. They got to the free-throw line eight times and hit three.
Junior guard Cole Allen led Greeneview (17-6) with a game-best 15 points, fellow junior Rhett Burtch scored nine points, Gabe Caudill finished with seven, while Myles Witt and Ethen Caudill combined for the other seven Rams points.
“Our goal was to make them uncomfortable, make their guards get out and push, and not let their guards penetrate,” Holliday said. “It was a little unique. It’s not a zone we ran in the regular season. I think it gave them some fits. Having some extra time to prepare was definitely beneficial for us, and it looked like that made a big difference for us tonight.”
The Warriors had six days inwhich to prepare for the Rams, having last played on Valentines Day.
Freshman forward Isaiah Edwards led Dayton Christian (15-8) with 13 points scored, Devin Dreier added seven points, and four other Warriors scored six points or less.
Greeneview’s Gabe Caudill and David Lehotay played the final games of their senior years.
“Those two led us to an OHC South Division championship this year. It’s really tough in the locker room after a tournament loss, because the seniors … it’s their last time putting that jersey on. They’ve both worked really hard this season, and were solid leaders in different ways. We wouldn’t be where we’re at without them.”
Dayton Christian advances to the tournament’s quarterfinal second round to take on eighth seeded Camden Preble Shawnee (12-10) for a 6 p.m. game on Tuesday, Feb. 25 at the Butler SAC.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.