The Miami Trace Panthers began play in the 2023 Sectional tournament by hosting the Circleville Tigers from the Mid-State League.
Circleville entered Wednesday’s game with a record of 11-12.
The Panthers, having one of the best seasons in the program’s history, came into the Division II game at 18-4.
Miami Trace visited Circleville on Jan. 4 and returned home following a 66-48 victory.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, it was a different story Wednesday night, Feb. 22.
After an early 5-2 lead by Miami Trace, the Panthers fell behind the Tigers by as many as five.
Quickly tying the game at 15-15, the Panthers could never recapture the lead and the Tigers went on to post a 61-46 victory.
Circleville will host Gallia Academy Saturday at 7 p.m. for a Sectional championship and a trip to Southeastern High School and a place in the District semifinals on Wednesday, March 1.
Gallia Academy defeated Alexander Wednesday, 66-37.
It turned out to be a tough night from the field for the Panthers and, conversely, a good shooting performance was turned in by the Tigers.
Miami Trace made 16 of 56 shots for 29 percent compared to 22 of 41 for 54 percent for Circleville.
The Panthers were led by junior Austin Boedeker, who finished with 12 points. He also had four rebounds.
Senior Andrew Guthrie closed his career at Miami Trace with 11 points, a team-high nine rebounds and one blocked shot. Guthrie’s career point total finishes at 1,052.
Junior Slater Search was the game’s leading scorer for Circleville with 20 points.
Junior Briley Cramer scored 17 for the Tigers.
Circleville led 11-8 at the end of the first quarter.
The Panthers tied the game at 15 with 4:35 to play in the first half.
The Tigers went on a 7-0 run to close out the first half with a 22-15 lead.
A 10-2 start to the third quarter by Circleville put the Tigers up, 32-17.
Sixteen points was the biggest lead of the game for Circleville. The Tigers led by as many as 15 points on at least three other occasions.
The Tigers led 44-31 after three quarters of play.
There was time enough for the Panthers and hope and determination helped fuel a Miami Trace comeback bid.
Miami Trace pulled closer to the Tigers, thanks to a 10-2 run that got the Panthers to within five points, 46-41, with a drive to the basket and bucket by Boedeker.
After a turnover by Miami Trace, Circleville began to burn some time off the clock.
Two from Guthrie got the Panthers to within eight points with two minutes to play.
However, Miami Trace could climb no closer as the Tigers emerged with the 61-46 victory.
“They fought,” Miami Trace head coach Ben Ackley said in his post-game remarks. “They fought all year long. This just stings so bad right now.
“This isn’t the best practice group I’ve ever coached,” Ackley said. “And the long break worried us.” The Panthers had not played in 11 days, since a 57-46 home win over Stivers on Feb. 11.
Ackley credited Circleville with a fine game.
“We didn’t lose this game, they won it,” Ackley said. “Circleville and their staff were very prepared and they out-played us in every facet and they out-coached us, so they deserve to move on.
“They played us tough at their place,” Ackley said. “We shot it real well that night (25 of 48 for 52 percent). “Tonight we didn’t. (The shots just) didn’t fall.
“I thought Bo was special at times,” Ackley said of Austin Boedeker. Ackley described Boedeker’s foul situation, as he picked up his third personal early in the second quarter.
“When he picked up the fourth in the third quarter, we had to stay with him,” Ackley said.
“We felt pretty good (down seven at the half),” Ackley said. “We felt like we didn’t play very well at all and we’ve been a second half team all year long. In the third quarter, even though we played hard, we lacked execution.
“I told the kids we wish them all the luck,” Ackley said. “To learn from their mistakes. To our underclassmen, we need to be more consistent in practice.
“There’ll be a time when we can look back and see the good things, but this stings right now,” Ackley said. “We didn’t want our road to end here and we didn’t expect it to. But when you play this game, anything can happen.”
Ackley was told the Blue Lions advanced past Hillsboro and he wished Washington good luck moving forward.
In other Division II tournament games in the Southeast District Wednesday, Marietta defeated Unioto, 59-51; Warren trounced Vinton County, 58-36; New Lexington ended Jackson’s season, 40-29; Ironton got by Sheridan, 71-65 and Fairfield Union beat Logan Elm, 45-33.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
MT 8 7 16 15 — 46
C 11 11 22 17 — 61
MIAMI TRACE — Shay Salyers 0-3-3; Trey Robinette 0 (1)-0-3; Grant Guess 0-2-2; Coleden May 2-0-4; Tate Landrum 0-0-0; Brady Armstrong 0-2-2; Zach Warnock 0-0-0; Isaiah Reisinger 0-0-0; Austin Boedeker 4-4-12; Bryson Sheets 1-0-2; Andrew Guthrie 5-1-11; Adam Guthrie 0-0-0; Bryson Osborne 2 (1)-0-7. TOTALS — 14 (2)-12-46. Free throw shooting: 12 of 22 for 55 percent. Three-point field goals: Robinette, Osborne. Field goal shooting: 16 of 56 for 29 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 2 of 14 for 14 percent. Steals: 9. Blocked shots: 3. Turnovers: 10. Rebounds: 34 (16 offensive). Fouls: 23.
CIRCLEVILLE — Preston Hulse 0-0-0; Nolan West 1 (1)-1-6; Matt Bradley 0-4-4; Briley Cramer 8-1-17; Parker Kidwell 1-0-2; Drew Thornsley 2-0-4; Ian Warden 2 (1)-1-8; Slater Search 5 (1)-7-20. TOTALS — 19 (3)-14-61. Free throw shooting: 14 of 21 for 67 percent. Three-point field goals: West, Warden, Search. Field goal shooting: 22 of 41 for 54 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 3 of 11 for 27 percent. Turnovers: 14. Offensive rebounds: 11.