PDT Sports Writer
ATHENS — The honor of the team with the most defensive intensity remaining in the Division IV tournament may belong to South Webster.
The No. 2 Jeeps held No. 6 Miller to 10 second half points on 4-of-27 shooting and weren’t challenged beyond the first quarter in a 51-30 Division IV Southeast District Semifinal win Tuesday night at Ohio University’s Convocation Center.
South Webster will be vying for its sixth district title in school history Saturday night against No. 5 Leesburg Fairfield, which upset No. 1 Eastern 55-52 in the first game of the evening.
“We were able to get out into transition a little bit,” Jeeps coach Steven Ater said. “Their zone forces you to scramble, they get out and extend it so far.”
South Webster forced the Falcons into 21 turnovers which led to 18 points for the victors. The Jeeps also held a 39-28 edge in the rebounding department.
“We wanted to lock down the paint because they’ve got so many guys who put it on the floor, put their shoulder down and just drive it,” Ater said.
It was a wire-to-wire victory for South Webster, which raced out to a 9-2 lead to start the game. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Miller made it a 9-8 contest, the closest it would get the entire game, before a 13-2 run by the Jeeps put it out of reach.
For the second-straight contest, South Webster started the game with no turnovers in the first quarter. In their sectional championship game last week against New Boston, the Jeeps went an entire half without a turnover. However, they were still guilty of 14 miscues Tuesday night.
Levi Cook led South Webster with 18 points as he was one of three players in double figures on the winning side. He was joined by Andrew Salisbury with 15 and Jensen Dyer with 11.
Dyer finished with 10 rebounds while Salisbury pulled down 13.
“I thought Jensen played phenomenally inside,” Ater said. “He did what we’ve been asking of him all year, moving his feet and got some blocks. They weren’t blocks like he’s was elevating over top of you, he’s just in good position so he’s able to get a hand on the ball.
“…I thought Andrew played really big for being undersized and having to battle inside against guys with some more height. He played really well for us.”
The most noteworthy part of the game for Ater came in the fourth when intentional fouls were called on each team.
“The lesson for our kids is make sure you don’t get, one, ejected, and two, lose your composure and let a team come back,” Ater said. “You just never want to put yourself in that position. It’s a good learning tool for our kids.”
Ater didn’t think the game was getting out of hand physically and appreciated the fact the officials were trying not to allow it to get that way.
Now the attention shifts towards the Lions with three days to prepare. In this scenario, Ater feels his team wants to play.
“We get a chance to do that Saturday and cut down some more nets if you win,” Ater said.
Cody Leist can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 294, or email@example.com.
Miller 8 12 8 2 — 30
South Webster 15 14 12 10 — 51
Miller — Rader 1-0-3, Abram 1-0-3, Sinift 1-0-3, Starlin 4-4-13, Hook 3-0-6, Ladd 1-0-2, Totals 11-4-30.
South Webster — Cook 8-1-18, Norman 1-1-3, Dyer 3-5-11, Salisbury 7-1-15, Goddard 2-0-4, Totals 21-8-51.
3-Point Goals — Miller 4 (Rader, Abram, Sinift, Starlin); South Webster 1 (Cook).
Records — Miller 10-14; South Webster 16-7.