A good week of hoops makes this winter more palatable

Basketball is the best antidote to winter, especially this one. Well, that’s not exactly true. My parents are in Florida, and even though they say it’s cold for the Sunshine State, I’ll take the 50s in the afternoon and the high 30s at night for a few days.

But in the arctic regions of Ohio there is no place like a warm gym and good hoops. I covered two high school games this past week that have been two of the best I have seen in a while.

On Wednesday, Springfield and Wayne battled and showed why the GWOC Central is the best league in the Miami Valley. The Wildcats beat the Warriors for the second time when junior guard Henry Alexander sank a 3-pointer in the final seconds.

I put this game in my top 10 for prep games I have covered since I started doing this in 1987. There were good players making athletic plays, big plays, big shots and playing with tournament-level intensity.  Put all that with Wayne making 23 of 24 free throws (the miss came after the Warriors made the first 23), a 3-pointer to win it and you have a great game.

The game also meant a lot to the GWOC standings. The Wildcats, who needed overtime to beat Northmont on Friday, are alone in first place now at 5-1 because Centerville dropped to 4-2 in the league Friday with a loss to Wayne. The Wildcats are 13-2 overall and have equaled last year’s victory total.

Isiah Carson started coaching the Wildcats back to respectability last year. Now he has a chance to win a league title without a lot of seniors. He starts two juniors, a sophomore and a freshman. The freshman is Danny Davis and he showed Wayne what kind of player he is becoming with 19 points and five 3-pointers. Davis is a 6-2 guard with probably more upside than anyone else in the GWOC. Davis has great range and he has a knack for making tough shots around the basket. In the few Springfield games I have seen this year, no one ever gets close to his shot.

Carson’s team has shown an ability to win a lot of close games. Both Wayne victories went to the wire. It took a last-second shot to beat Northmont the first time and overtime the second time. There was a one-point win at Hamilton. The losses are to Trotwood (13-1) and Beavercreek (12-4). But the Wildcats haven’t won anything yet. Their next two games are at Centerville and Beavercreek. Not easy.

While the GWOC Central is loaded with good teams and balanced, there is no more balanced group than the Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail. Road wins have been common as was the case with Tecumseh beating Tippecanoe 53-48 in overtime on Friday night in Tipp City.

Dalton Davis made it happen at the end for the Arrows to keep them in a hunt for the league title with Tipp, Bellefontaine and Shawnee. Kenton Ridge and Stebbins have combined for one victory, but no one looks forward to playing them.

Davis is one of the best-kept secrets in the area. He is shooting 45.4 percent from 3-point range, averages 16.4 points per game and runs the team. What I like most about his game is his uncanny ability to make difficult shots around the basket and from anywhere in the lane. He goes in there at 5-foot-10 dribbling low to the  ground, and you don’t think he will get a shot off. But he does and it seems like they always go in. Some small college team needs to give Davis a chance. He’s not big, but he makes plays and he makes shots.

I sure hope next week gives me the same warm feelings this week did. And temps above freezing. That would be really nice.


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