COUMBUS (AP) — The boys and girls basketball seasons have been in full swing for quite awhile, and with good reason.
For each sport, playing for the grand prize at Value City Arena on the campus of Ohio State will come earlier than last season.
The girls state tournament is March 10-12 while last year’s tourney was March 19-21. The boys hit the hardwood in Columbus on March 17 and finish March 19. That compares to the state tournament running March 26-28 in 2015.
Each of the state tournaments opens with a Division III semifinal and concludes with the Division I final.
Other important dates are quickly approaching: The girls sectional draw is Jan. 31 with the sectional games Feb. 8-20; followed by the districts (Feb. 22-27) and the regional tournament (Feb. 29-March 5).
For the boys, their sectional draw is Feb. 7 with the tourney going from Feb. 15-27. The district games will be played Feb. 29 to March 5 and the regional tourney goes from March 7-12.
A look at some highlights from around the state, beginning in boys play:
The Midwest Athletic Conference had a pair of buzzer-beaters on Friday night.
In Versailles, Alex Wendel hit a three-pointer with 0.8 seconds left to lift the Tigers past St. Henry, 54-51.
At Coldwater, Jack Hemmelgarn’s 8-foot baseline jumper just before the horn gave the host Cavaliers a 52-51 win over New Bremen, who was down as much as 18 points in the second half before coming back and taking a lead down the stretch before losing.
Coldwater’s Andy Brunet had a triple-double in the win. The 6-feet-9 senior scored 14 points, pulled down 19 rebounds and blocked 13 shots. Brunet is averaging 14.4 point, 14.9 rebounds and 4.8 blocks this season. The Cavaliers, who started their season late due to the football team’s state championship run, are 5-3.
In another frenetic finish, Dakota Harvey missed his first six 3-point attempts against Antwerp but nailed his seventh attempt with two seconds left to give Hicksville a 33-30 win.
BOYS NOTABLES: When Defiance won the Division II state championship last season the Bulldogs beat Wauseon in overtime in the district semifinals. The Indians avenged that loss with a 42-41 double overtime win over Defiance, even thought the Bulldogs were 15 of 15 from the foul line. . Haviland Wayne Trace junior guard Ethan Linder scored 31 points in two games last week, a 61-57 victory over Sherwood Fairview and a 76-64 win against Delphos Jefferson.
In that win vs. Fairview, Wayne Trace made all 15 free throws. . Wilmington senior Jarron Cumberland became the school’s career scoring leader with a 33-point performance in an 80-28 win over Chillicothe. Cumberland surpassed his cousin Jaevin Cumberland (1,847 career points) and now has 1,865 career points. Cumberland has signed with the University of Cincinnati.
FAST STARTS: The Defiance Ayersville girls team used a 20-5 first-quarter advantage in handing Gorham Fayette its first loss of the season, 55-29. Then Ayersville jumped to a 16-2 lead after one in a 47-18 win over Edgerton.
The Ottoville girls outscored Continental 18-2 in the first quarter and 28-1 in the third quarter in a 70-27 victory.
GIRLS NOTABLES: Norwalk junior Jiselle Thomas scored a school record 46 points in less than three quarters in a 74-44 win at Tiffin Columbian on Jan. 5. Thomas, who was 20-of-31 shooting from the field, which included 5-of-8 from the three-point line, left the game for good with two-plus minutes left in the third quarter. She also added 12 steals. During the game Thomas also surpassed the 1,000-point mark for her career. . Morgan Mattimore had 21 points to lead Delta past Whitehouse Anthony Wayne, 45-37, scoring her 1,000th career point in the process. She followed that with 27 points in a 67-33 win vs. Swanton in her next game. . Willoughby Cornerstone Christian’s Jordan Cloonan notched her 1,000th career point last week. . Sophomore post Teagan Ochaya had 35 points as Mentor defeated Solon, 88-78.