Strong Xenia effort not enough against Elks

By John Bombatch Sports Editor jbombatch@civitasmedia.com

February 18, 2014

HUBER HEIGHTS — The Xenia Buccaneers girls basketball team didn’t lose Saturday’s Division I sectional tournament opener for lack of trying. Top seeded Centerville just lived up to their top billing with a dominating effort in a 65-26 win.

With Xenia coach Terry Toliver constantly urging his players to “Attack! Attack!,” the undersized Bucs were able to scrap their way to within four points of the Elks with less than two minutes to go in the first quarter.

But an 11-0 run to close out the second quarter, and then a 21-0 blanking in the final quarter enabled Centerville to pull away.

“I thought they played an outstanding game,” Centerville coach Adam Prieffer said. “They pressured us and really tried to bother us with their defense, and I thought they did a good job of that. They really frustrated us early. We finally got into our flow late in the game, but it wasn’t until then that we were able to play our game, and that’s a credit to their effort.”

Coffee, a 6-foot-5 center, finished with a game-high 13 points while Tori Harrison and Shannon Reilly each scored 10 points and fellow Elk Bethany Krause added nine for Centerville (20-3).

Unique Conner led Xenia (6-16) with 11 points, Autumn Meyer hit a pair of first-quarter treys to score six points and Infiniti Carr finished with four to lead the Buccaneers. Toliver appreciated how hard they played.

“Everybody who put on the Xenia uniform today, I thought they represented their community and represented their school well. They played hard, they played with class and they competed,” Toliver said. “When you’re playing against a team as good as Centerville, a program that has been good for a long time, our goal all practice was to make their starters play, and I think we did that.

“I think it’s good for them going forward, because they need someone to push them to get them prepared for what they are going to see down the road.”

As an example of how hard the Bucs tried, despite the lopsided score, Ella Welsh, who had been heard gasping for breath during an asthma attack midway through the game, was seen swiping a steal from a Centerville guard as the final points ticked off the clock.

“We all worked hard for this. Sometimes we didn’t do it, but we all gave it our best,” said Xenia senior Africa Strodes. “I’m proud to have been on this team.”

Strodes, Brook Shinkle and Aminah Jabbar played their final varsity basketball games for Xenia on Saturday.