The Washington Blue Lion basketball team captured a Sectional championship Saturday night, Feb. 25 in a thrilling 83-73 win over the visiting Warren Warriors.
Washington (20-4) advances to the District semifinals on Wednesday when they will play New Lexington at 6:15 p.m. at Southeastern High School near Chillicothe.
New Lexington is now 20-4 after a 49-43 overtime victory against Ironton Saturday night.
“We knew it was going to be a four-quarter battle,” Washington head coach Shannon Bartruff said. “They are really well coached. Coach (Blane) Maddox picked up his 400th career win probably two or three weeks ago.
“They have a nice team,” Bartruff said. “They are well-balanced. They have guys who can shoot the ball. They shot it extremely well tonight. It was a game of runs.
“We got down eight early in the first half,” Bartruff said. “We just kept battling. I loved our guys’ mindset tonight. They battled through adversity; they battled through turnovers. They battled through missing some shots.
“I felt like there were times when we played great defense,” Bartruff said. “(Warren) made tough, contested shots.”
Washington trailed by as many as eight points early in the second quarter.
Warren led 39-37 at the half in a very fast-paced, up and down the court game.
Warren, with only one senior, gave the Blue Lions everything they had and it was only in the latter stages of the fourth quarter that Washington was able to pull in front enough to feel like they had some breathing room.
Washington tied the game, 45-45 on a three by Brayden May.
Moments later, May hit another three to give Washington a 49-47 lead.
The lead went back and forth, changing hands three times in quick succession.
Tanner Lemaster scored and John Wall scored to give the Blue Lions a 55-53 lead.
At the end of the third quarter, it was 59-57 in favor of Warren.
The score was tied four more times in the fourth quarter.
Garrett Rickman got on a roll and scored three baskets in a row, along with a free throw from Wall, giving Washington a 73-65 lead.
Warren hit another three and made a free throw to pull within four.
Isaiah Haithcock hit a pair of buckets to put Washington up by eight, 77-69.
Warren missed six shot attempts as their final comeback effort began to fade down the stretch.
“It was just a four-quarter war,” Bartruff said. “I felt like that was a very well-played high school basketball game. Garrett kind of separated us there in the fourth quarter. He had four points going in and scored 13 in the fourth quarter.
“Tanner was great the entire game,” Bartruff said. “Zay (Isaiah Haithcock) did a tremendous job defensively and rebounding. He got loose in the second half and was able to score.
“Brayden May was tremendous,” Bartruff said. “He had some big rebounds and knocked down some big threes.
“John didn’t score like he normally scores, but he made some big free throws,” Bartruff said. “And he’s just solid, defensively, all the time and makes good decisions.
“We could have gone to our bench if we needed to, but I felt like the five guys who were on the floor were playing their butts off,” Bartruff said. “They were playing with great effort.
“I’m really, really proud of these guys,” Bartruff said. “That’s two Sectional titles in a row after a couple of lean, lean years.
“Now we have the opportunity to go play a really, really good New Lexington team in the District semifinals Wednesday,” Bartruff said.
Washington senior Tanner Lemaster was the game’s leading scorer with 29 points. He hit four of the Blue Lions’ 10 three-point field goals. Lemaster pulled down a season-high 19 rebounds, including eight on the offensive glass. Lemaster blocked one shot.
Junior Garrett Rickman scored 17 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter.
Junior Isaiah Haithcock scored 15 points, senior Brayden May scored 14, hitting four threes and junior John Wall scored eight. May had five rebounds, one assist and he blocked one shot. Haithcock had
Wall also had three rebounds, three assists and three steals.
In limited minutes, junior Gabe Tayese blocked one shot for the Blue Lions.
Warren was led by sophomore Julian Stadelman with 24 points.
Junior Trent Taylor scored 17 points and sophomore Connor Barry hit four threes for 12 points.
In one other Division II game in the Southeast District Saturday, Fairfield Union defeated Marietta, 47-30.
Fairfield Union improves to 21-3 and will take on Gallia Academy in the second game Wednesday night.
Gallia Academy improved to 18-6 with a 51-34 win over Circleville in a game played Sunday, Feb. 26.
The game was originally scheduled for Saturday evening, but was moved to Sunday because Gallia Academy High School was hosting the Division II Sectional wrestling tournament.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
WCH 17 20 20 26 — 83
War. 23 16 20 14 — 73
WASHINGTON — Garrett Rickman 6 (1)-2-17; John Wall 1-6-8; Brayden May 0 (4)-2-14; Will Miller 0-0-0; Raleigh Haithcock 0-0-0; Gabe Tayese 0-0-0; Tanner Lemaster 7 (4)-3-29; Isaiah Haithcock 5 (1)-2-15. TOTALS — 19 (10)-15-83. Free throw shooting: 15 of 27 for 56 percent. Three-point field goals: Lemaster, 4; May, 4; Rickman, I. Haithcock. Field goal shooting: 29 of 60 for 48 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 10 of 22 for 45 percent. Rebounds: 35 (13 offensive). Assists: 13. Steals: 6. Blocked shots: 3. Turnovers: 17.
WARREN — Julian Stadelman 7 (2)-4-24; Hayden Wells 0-1-1; Trent Taylor 6-5-17; Nick Cressey 3-2-8; Ayden Cornell 0-1-1; Jacob Sealey 0 (2)-3-9; Tyson Cochran 0-1-1; Chase Lupardus 0-0-0; Connor Barry 0 (4)-0-12. TOTALS — 16 (8)-17-73. Free throw shooting: 17 of 26 for 65 percent. Three-point field goals: Barry, 4; Stadelman, 2; Sealey, 2. Field goal shooting: 24 of 54 for 44 percent. Turnovers: 12.