CHILLICOTHE — The Washington Blue Lions will be making a long-awaited trip to Athens to play in the Convocation Center Thursday following a 45-37 victory over the Unioto Shermans Friday night at Southeastern High School.
The Blue Lions (15-8) played an outstanding defensive game, limiting Unioto to 22 points through three quarters of play.
Washington had a balanced scoring attack, led by junior Garitt Leisure with 16 points.
Leisure was red hot to start, hitting four threes in the first quarter.
Senior Evan Upthegrove was next with 11 points.
Senior Richie Burns scored eight points, senior Blaise Tayese scored seven, junior Miguel O’Flaherty had three and senior Omar Porter scored one.
The Blue Lions won in spite of the fact that they made just half of their shots from the free throw line.
However, with 24 attempts, half is not really that bad, especially when Unioto was only 3 of 5 from the line.
Juniors Eli Lynch and Drew Moats also played for the Blue Lions.
Unioto sophomore Isaac Little led with 16 points.
Senior Chance Smith scored six and sophomore Cameron Debord had five points.
“I get to go scout tomorrow,” Washington head coach Connor Scott said. “I’ve never been so excited to go scout in my life. I’m so pumped.”
It was the second win of the season for Washington over Unioto. On Feb. 5, the Blue Lions played at Unioto High School and won that game, 47-42.
“We knew they were going to make adjustments and (we knew) how well-coached they are,” Scott said. “I was able to coach against him (Unioto head coach Matt Hoops) when I was at Chillicothe. His game-planning is so good. We knew we would have to make adjustments.
“We told our guys, after the first quarter, ‘we’re going to have to make adjustments,’” Scott said. “We’re not going to know what they’re going to be in until they show it to us.
“I’m just so happy for my guys,” Scott said. “They deserve this. I am so proud of their effort. With four seniors, I knew I’d have those guys coming out and playing that hard. They weren’t done with the season.
“Garitt makes four threes, knocks down some free throws,” Scott said. “Our defense tonight — team defense. To give up 37 points to a really good offensive team. Omar, Blaise, Evan and Richie deserve this trip.”
Washington will play in the District semifinals in Athens Thursday, Feb. 28 at 8 p.m. It will be the first time the Blue Lions have played in the Convo since 2010.
They will play Fairfield Union.
Washington High School has tickets on sale at the gym entrance between the hours of 8-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. Tickets for the District tournament games are $6 each and the school gets to keep 25 percent of the proceeds from the tickets it sells.
Also, it is believed that this is the first time that Washington’s boys and girls basketball teams have both been in the District tournament in the same season.
Also Friday night at Southeastern, the Waverly Tigers defeated the McClain Tigers in overtime on a last-second three-point shot, 67-66.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
W 14 8 9 14 — 45
U 10 8 4 15 — 37
WASHINGTON — Evan Upthegrove 3 (1)-2-11; Miguel O’Flaherty 1-1-3; Blaise Tayese 3-1-7; Garitt Leisure 0 (4)-3-16; Omar Porter 0-1-1; Drew Moats 0-0-0; Eli Lynch 0-0-0; Richie Burns 2-4-8. TOTALS — 9 (5)-12-45. Free throw shooting: 12 of 24 for 50 percent. Three-point field goals: Leisure, 4; Upthegrove. Field goal shooting: 14 of 29 for 48 percent. Turnovers: 6.
UNIOTO — Cameron Debord 1 (1)-0-5; Gunnar Greenwalt 0-0-0; Nate Keiser 0-0-0; Justin Manson 1-0-2; Isaac Little 5 (1)-3-16; Josh Lambert 2-0-4; Aiden Loeffler 1-0-2; Jeremy Lambert 0-0-0; Gabe McBee 0-0-0; Cade McKee 1-0-2; Chance Smith 0 (2)-0-6. TOTALS — 11 (4)-3-37. Free throw shooting: 3 of 5 for 60 percent. Three-point field goals: Smith, 2; Debord, Little. Field goal shooting: 15 of 41 for 37 percent. Turnovers: 7.