WILLOW WOOD – The East Tartans accomplished one of their goals set before the basketball season began, they are now the Southern Ohio Conference (SOC) Division I champions.
The Tartans clinched the SOC I title Friday night after defeating the Symmes Valley Vikings, on their home court, at Symmes Valley High School, 68-54.
Coach Adam Bailey and his team won’t have to time to go to Disneyland, as the sectional tournaments are just a few days away, but they are happy to reach one of their team goals.
After taking down the Vikings, East improved its conference record to a nearly unblemished 12-1, and their overall record to 17-4.
Akia Brown led the Tartans into battle with the Vikings on offense Friday night. His team high 24 points helped lift the Tartans over the Vikings and into the SOC I title. Brown had an impressive second quarter, scoring 11 of his 24 points in that period alone. He also shot 75% from the free throw line, hitting three of his four attempts.
East had three other players reach double figures Friday night, Blaine Scott, Drew Lowe, and Will Shope.
Scott put up a solid performance on Symmes Valley. He finished the night with 13 points, and shot well from the free throw line, hitting seven of his nine attempts. His strongest performance came in the fourth quarter, where he scored six of his 13 points for the Tartans.
Lowe played well all throughout the game. His 11 points were pretty much spread out among the four quarters of the game. He hit a pair of three pointers, one each in the second and third quarters, and went three for four from the foul line.
Shope would round out the four Tartans reaching double figures in the SOC I clinching game. Shope completed the night with a pair of two-point field goals, as well as another pair of three-point field goals.
“I thought we played a pretty good game,” Bailey said. “We shot the ball real well, and we had four people score in double figures, which I think is key to us. When we have multiple players scoring, and shooting the ball well, it provides us something offensively that works good for us.”
Bailey was impressed with Brown’s play throughout the game, especially his response to the first quarter.
“I thought he really stepped up and played well when we really needed him to,” Bailey said. “He only had two points after the first quarter, and then had 22 points the rest of the night.”
Winning the SOC I title was a big part of the night for the Tartans.
“I think it’s a great accomplishment for our kids,” Bailey said. “It’s something they’ve worked real hard for, especially some of the older kids. Akia and Drew have been pretty much three year starters for us, and it’s something they’ve worked extremely hard for, along with the other kids, and it’s just something to be extremely proud of.”
Getting a conference championship is always a big deal for Bailey and the East Tartans, and is treated as such.
“Some teams and programs might take a league title kind of lightly, but it is something that takes a lot of hard work, and is something for your kids, community, and school to be proud of,” Bailey said. “It’s great for the community, and great for the kids.”
The Tartans will remain inactive until their sectional tournament game February 23rd, against the winner of Fairfield and Manchester.
Symmes Valley – Belville 8-2-18, Sheppard 5-2-12, Webb 4-0-8, Hayes 3-0-8, Renfroe 2-0-4, Smith 1-0-2, Humphry 1-0-2
East – Brown 10-3-24, B. Scott 3-7-13, Lowe 3-3-11, Shope 2-2-10, Hatcher 1-3-5, Flannery 1-0-2, Douthat 1-0-2, Z. Scott 0-1-1
Three-point field goals – Symmes Valley 2 (Hayes 2) East 5 (Shope 2, Lowe 2, Brown)
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931, or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.