XENIA — Moments after Saturday night’s Elks-Buccaneers boys basketball battle, Centerville coach Brook Cupps leaned back dejectedly against a wall with his hands on his knees and head down.
And he won!
Centerville (4-0) utilized its slight size advantage to jump out to a 10-point lead, then withstood the speedier Xenia Buccaneeers’ comeback flurry, for a 59-54 victory at Xenia High.
They’d out-rebounded Xenia, 32-19, but all Cupps could ask about was his team’s 20 turnovers.
“Well, our starting big guy (6-foot-5 forward Kyle Fedewa) rolled his ankle during warm-ups and wasn’t able to play. So that kinda forced us to make some changes in a hurry, but 20 turnovers was probably the most disappointing thing for us,” Cupps said. “Now a lot of that goes to Xenia. Their athleticism and the pace that they want to play, it sped us up and I thought it made us passive and kinda led to some of those turnovers.
“I didn’t think we played very well, and I think a lot of that had to do with Xenia and how Kent’s kids play. They fly around and make things happen.”
Centerville’s 6-3 junior guard Keegan Saben finished with a game-high 25 points and also had seven rebounds. Senior 6-4 forward Daniel Buchenroth hauled in a game-high nine rebounds to go with his nine points while fellow starters Kevin Meiners, Jevon Henderson and Donnie Shelton combined to snare nine more rebounds.
Xenia (4-1) didn’t get many second tries at the basket. Twenty five of the Elks’ boards were of the defensive variety.
Bucs coach Kent Anderson liked his team’s effort, but said his speedy bunch just needed to do more little things to convert at the other end of the floor.
“We just couldn’t get our hands on a lotta loose balls. We just couldn’t make the plays when we needed them,” he said. “Ryan (Johnson) got a steal and threw it just a little bit ahead of our guy who was cutting to the basket. Rocky (James) had a one-on-one situation and tried to make the unselfish pass to Ray, but the ball gets tipped away. … We did a lot of the right things, we just couldn’t get our hands on those loose balls, or finish when we needed to, and those little things cost us tonight.
“I’m proud of our effort, though. We were down 13 and battled back and cut the lead to four points. That’s hard to do against Centerville. Usually, you’re out there chasing your tail against them, trying to catch them. …. The kids battled, even after playing so hard just the night before (in a 64-57 home win Friday night against Lebanon). I’m really proud of our effort tonight against a very good Centerville team,” Anderson said.
Xenia’s Johnson led the Bucs with 15 points scored. Rocky James finished with 14 points, and led the team with six rebounds, while Samari Curtis and Danny Naylor finished with nine points each.
After trailing by 10 points after that first quarter, the Buccaneers outscored Centerville 43-38 the rest of the way.
Xenia hosted a nonleague game with New Paris Graham on Tuesday. That result will be in Wednesday’s paper. They will then hit the road on Friday for a Greater Western Ohio Conference, South Division matchup at 7:30 against West Carrollton.
John Bombatch can be reached at (937) 372-4444, Ext. 2123.