By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
MIAMI COUNTY — The snow may have put the freeze on Saturday’s action.
But as basketball season crosses the halfway mark, a handful of Miami County teams are in the thick of hotly-contested league races.
So, with the girls’ sectional tournament draw in three weeks and the boys’ one mere month away, now is a good time to look at where everyone stands as the season enters its stretch run.
Troy was riding high after a three-game winning streak, a run that included an 86-63 win over rival Piqua in which the Trojans hit 13 3-pointers.
Since then, though, the Trojans have dropped five straight including Friday’s 78-76 loss at Stebbins where the team couldn’t hold onto a halftime lead for the third time during that losing streak — the other times in loss to Ponitz and Fairborn. Troy now sits at 4-7 overall and 3-4 in the Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division, sitting alone in third place behind 7-0 Sidney and 6-2 Butler.
Tippecanoe and Piqua are right behind the Trojans in the division, with the Red Devils at 2-5 and the Indians at 2-6. Tippecanoe has dropped four straight and six of its last seven, though, and Piqua had won four of its last five at the halfway point of its season but lost 85-71 to Xenia to fall to 5-7 overall.
The Cross County Conference, meanwhile, is completely up for grabs at this point.
Defending champion Bethel could still regain control of it, but an upset loss to Tri-County North Friday night dropped the Bees to 7-5 overall and 4-2 in the CCC, tied with Miami East and National Trail behind 4-1 Twin Valley South. The Bees’ matchup against Twin Valley South was postponed on Tuesday, though, meaning their big matchup is yet to come.
Miami East began the season with four straight losses but has battled back to 7-6, Newton (4-6, 2-4 CCC) scored a big win over Franklin Monroe earlier this week to start moving in the right direction, Covington sits at 2-9 and 2-4 in the league and Bradford is winless at 0-12 and 0-7.
Milton-Union has shown signs of life after coach Rusty Berner’s return, winning its first two games of the season and sitting at 3-7 overall and 1-4 in the Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division. Those three wins are one more than the team won all of last year, and it equals the number of wins the team had each of the two seasons before that.
And in the Metro Buckeye Conference, Troy Christian’s league-leading defense has carried it to a 7-4 record, bit the Eagles sit at 4-2 in the conference behind 7-0 Legacy Christian — which defeated Troy Christian 42-24 earlier this week — and 6-2 Emmanuel Christian.
Miami County’s teams control the Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division, with Tippecanoe, Troy and Piqua owning the top three spots.
The Red Devils have for the past two and a half years, actually. Their GWOC American North winning streak hit 37 games this week, and the two-time defending champs hold a two-game lead with a 7-0 record. Overall, Tippecanoe sits at 9-3, having bounced back from a two-game losing streak with a huge 51-47 victory over last year’s Division III state runner-up Versailles.
Troy sits in second place at 8-4 overall, 5-2 in the division, having won three straight. The Trojans also nearly ended the Devils’ division winning streak earlier this year, narrowly losing 45-43 back on Dec. 15, 2018. Piqua, meanwhile, sits at 10-4 overall and 6-3 in the division and owns a head-to-head win over Troy.
Saturday’s snow postponed a game that will go a long way to determining this year’s Cross County Conference championship, meanwhile, when defending champion Miami East and current leader Tri-Village were snowed out. The Patriots lead the league at 13-1 and 7-0 in the CCC, while Miami East sits at 11-4 and 7-1.
Tri-Village handed Covington (12-2, 7-1 CCC) its first league loss of the season, but the Buccaneers can still earn a share of the title if Miami East can knock off the Patriots whenever they meet — no reschedule date has yet been set. If Tri-Village wins that matchup, it will all but clinch the title. If the Vikings win, it would shine a spotlight on the Jan. 31 meeting between them and the Buccs to see who would share the title with the Patriots — should everyone win all of their other matchups, that is.
Bradford sits at 11-4 and 5-3 in the CCC, with those three losses coming to the top three teams. Bethel is currently 8-6 overall and 3-5 in the league, and Newton is 5-8 and 3-4 in CCC play.
Troy Christian, which shared the Metro Buckeye Conference title with Legacy Christian last season, still has a chance to do so again this year even after Monday’s 41-28 loss to the Knights. Legacy sits at 11-1, 6-0 in the league, while Troy Christian is 10-2 and 6-1, with the two teams meeting again on Feb. 7 at Legacy Christian.
And in the Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye, Milton-Union currently sits at 8-5 overall and 5-2 in division play, having won its last two straight. The Bulldogs are in third behind 7-0 Waynesville and 6-1 Preble Shawnee, both of which have handed the Bulldogs a division loss this year.
Josh Brown is the Sports Editor of the Troy Daily News. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.