By Josh Brown
and Rob Kiser
DAYTON — Even by Miami East’s standards, Wednesday’s defensive performance was exceptional.
The second-seeded Vikings didn’t allow Brookville to score a point for the first quarter and almost half of the second, putting up the game’s first 20 points and leaving no doubt from the start in a 47-25 victory in the Division III sectional semifinal round Wednesday at Belmont High School, advancing to Saturday’s sectional final.
The eighth-seeded Blue Devils (12-12) tried to slow the game down early — but there was simply no stopping the Vikings (20-4).
“Brookville held the basketball on their opening possession, and we let them hold it for about a minute — and it backfired on them,” Miami East boys basketball coach Allen Mack said. “We held them scoreless in the first quarter and for the first three minutes of the second quarter. For 11 minutes, we held them scoreless, and by then we had a 20-0 lead. It was one of the more impressive starts we’ve ever had in tournament play. The lead never went back to single digits after that.
“It was a very impressive defensive performance, holding Brookville to only 25 points. I was very proud of our effort.”
The Vikings — who defeated Brookville 43-39 in last year’s sectional title game — led 10-0 after the first quarter and built a 23-7 halftime lead. The lead was 32-17 after three before Miami East put the game away with a 15-8 fourth quarter.
Damien Mackesy led Miami East with 17 points and seven rebounds, Ryan Haney added 11 points and Logan West had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds — leading the defensive charge by grabbing eight defensive boards. Michael Werling added four points, Brandon Mack had three and Braxton Donaldson chipped in two.
Dalton Stewart scored 10 points to lead the Blue Devils, who were held to 4 for 21 from 3-point range and held to little more than half of their season average in scoring (49.6 points per game).
It was the second-lowest point total the Vikings have allowed this season. They defeated Arcanum 60-20 and National Trail 82-25 early in the season. It also marked the fourth season out of the last six that Miami East has reached the 20-win mark.
The Vikings will face No. 3 seed Versailles at 5 p.m. Saturday at Northmont High School for the sectional championship.
JC 55, Covington 31
PIQUA — Covington boys basketball coach Matt Pond’s thoughts weren’t so much about the game Wednesday night after the Buccaneers lost to top seed Jackson Center 55-31 — but on what the Buccs team showed, as they had all season.
“We were down 27-6 at halftime and we came out for the third quarter like it was a one-possession game,” Pond said. “They have done it all year. That says a lot about the character of this team. The second half was 28-25. That shouldn’t fall on deaf ears. This team is a special group.
“They have shown me that all year. I am just proud of these kids.”
Covington finished the season at 10-14, while Jackson Center improved to 21-3.
“That’s a really good team — they are a No. 1 seed for a reason,” Pond said. “Scott (Elchert) does a great job with those kids.”
And the Tigers’ 6-1 guard Drew Sosby did what he has done all season — make plays.
Sosby was 10 for 13 from the floor — and 5 for 7 on 3-pointers — scoring 27 points for the Tigers.
He scored 10 points in the opening quarter as Jackson Center jumped in front 15-4.
“That’s we talked about — Sosby, Wildermuth and Zorn (who combined for all Jackson Center’s points),” Pond said. “The (Drew) Sosby kid put us in a hole we couldn’t get out of. There is a reason he was Shelby County League Player of the Year.
“We missed some shots early, which we knew we couldn’t do. But you have to give Jackson Center some credit for that. Some of that is the defense making you play faster.”
Covington held the Tigers without a point for the first five minutes of the second quarter — but could only score two themselves.
“I thought we did a great job on (Brady) Wildermuth,” Pond said. “He is one heck of a player. But you can’t have empty possessions. They are long and play great defense, which makes it tough.”
The Tigers scored 12 points in the final three minutes to take a 27-6 halftime lead, before Covington battled with them the final two quarters.
Jordan Mashino had eight points and 10 rebounds for Covington.
Wildermuth complemented Sosby with 16 points and six rebounds, while Ethan Zorn scored 12 points.
Covington was 11 for 42 from the floor for 26 percent and five of 11 from the line for 45 per1 percent.
Jackson Center was 19 of 31 from the floor for 61 percent and 11 of 13 from the line for 85 percent.
The Tigers won the battle of the boards 20-19 and had 12 turnovers to Covington’s nine.
“I thought we did a good job limiting our turnovers,” Pond said.
Maschino was the lone senior for the Buccs.
“Sometimes, when you have a lot of guys coming back, everybody wants to talk about next year,” Pond said. “This was a great group. We had double-digit wins. We had a season that can allow us to move forward and that’s important. Let’s not forget this year’s team. We shouldn’t forget what this team did.”
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter. Rob Kiser can be reached at (937) 451-3334.