PDT Sports Writer
LUCASVILLE — The stat of the 2013 boys basketball tournament may be that of the number of points New Boston scored off South Webster turnovers in the first half of Wednesday’s Division IV Southeast Sectional Final at Valley.
That number is zero for a reason as the No. 2 Jeeps did not commit a turnover in the first two quarters of the game. It’s also the same number of points the No. 10 Tigers scored in the second quarter as South Webster advanced with a 72-17 victory.
The win clinches a fourth-straight district appearance for the Jeeps.
“We talked about it during the 12-day layoff and we wanted to narrow our focus down to a couple of key things,” South Webster coach Steven Ater said. “One of them was taking care of the basketball better because it seems like when we’ve had some bumps in the road, that’s been an issue that’s hurt us.”
In all, the Jeeps were guilty of five miscues the entire game. Their first turnover didn’t come until 57 seconds into the third quarter.
Already shorthanded throughout the year because of injuries to key players, New Boston coach Donnie Stapleton felt the uphill climb was too much for his team to overcome in the second game between the two squads.
“I think the athleticism and their team defense got in our head,” Stapleton said. “When we had open looks, we rushed them. And we didn’t have many open looks.”
Going into the second quarter down 18-8, the Tigers were not able to convert on all 12 shot attempts in the frame leading up to halftime. South Webster’s lead grew to 35-8 as the teams went into intermission.
In a bit of irony, Nate Payton eventually broke the Jeeps’ 19-0 run with a field goal that came off South Webster’s first turnover of the game. It was his only two points of the game.
The biggest lead in the game turned out to the the final score of the game. Six Jeeps scored on the night with four cracking double figures. Nick Norman and Seth Goddard led the charge with 18 points each while Levi Cook added 15 and Andrew Salisbury chipped in with 11.
Shane Buckley led New Boston with 12, half his season average. He along with Brendan Herrforth, Austin Raines and Matt Mohr will be lost to graduation. Mohr was lost for the season with an ACL injury sustained in the SOC Preview.
“They’re all good kids and we’ll miss them tremendously,” Stapleton said.
South Webster will take on Miller March 5 at Ohio University’s Convocation Center. That game will follow the Leesburg Fairfield-Eastern contest.
Ater still felt his team didn’t play the perfect game Wednesday despite the outcome.
“I just thought we didn’t finish well, we were kind of weak with the ball but I think everyone was just trying to put their head down and go instead of working the ball around like we did more in the third and fourth quarters, getting easier shots,” Ater said. “Defensively, a pretty good effort there, holding a team to 17 points, especially with a scorer like Buckley.”
Cody Leist can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 294, or email@example.com.
New Boston — Herrforth 1-1-3, Buckley 4-3-12, Payton 1-0-2, Totals 6-4-17.
South Webster — Cook 7-1-15, Norman 6-4-18, Dyer 3-2-8, Salisbury 5-1-11, Queen 1-0-2, Goddard 7-0-18, Totals 27-8-72.
3-Point Goals — New Boston 1 (Buckley); South Webster 6 (Goddard 4, Norman 2).
Records — New Boston 5-19; South Webster 15-7.