Jackson Outlasts McClain in FAC Battle, 31-28

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Jackson gets the leg up in the Frontier Athletic Conference standings improving to 2-0 after handing McClain its first loss on the season, 31-28.

“We won’t play a more tough team than McClain. Hats off to them because they’re well coached and those kids are physical” Max Morrow told Litter Media after the game. “We were down and we fought back… no one in this game was gonna get a big lead” said Morrow.

It was the fourth consecutive road game for McClain who entered the contest 3-0. The Tigers worked the inside game to reach the charity stripe early, sinking 5-of-6 free throws with a pair of field goals for an early 9-5 lead through the first period.

The second quarter was different. In fact, the fourth followed suit as McClain managed just four points in each. Jackson would take advantage.

In the second quarter, Jacob Winters was strong in the paint hitting three field goals to pull the Ironmen within three points. Meanwhile, the Tigers managed just two buckets, one each by Kendall Toney and Wesley Potts.

Before the half, Boston Campbell dropped in a couple of free throws and to give Jackson a 14-13 entering the intermission. The Tigers had gone empty five of their last six possessions to close out the period.

The two fought through a see-saw third with McClain regaining the lead 24-23. But as in the second, the Tigers had difficulty finding the basket in the 4th quarter.

The two clubs exchanged leads five times in the fourth with McClain going ahead 24-21 on a spin and shot by Bryson Badgley. Jackson closed the gap from the stripe, with Campbell knotting the score at 26. The sophomore guard drained the net from the corner on an assist by Holden Blankenship to send the Ironmen ahead 29-26. Tristan Prater and Winters combined for for two free throws to secure the lead and wouldn’t yield to the Tigers.

McClain was scoreless the final 5:29 following a bucket by Potts.

“Both teams shot the ball terribly, but both teams knew what the other was doing offensively” said Morrow.

The stat Joe Stewart had an issue with was his team’s 18 turnovers. “The fact is, we just didn’t get it off the defensive boards that we needed to.” The Tigers were patient offensively, but simply had trouble finding the bottom of the basket to get what they needed.

“We’re quite a bit better than we were a week ago in regard to patience in the offense, working for something good” said Stewart. “They contested everything, we just didn’t have enough answers on that end of the floor. The errors with the ball… We have nine offensive rebounds in the second half, if we just get some more shots, then we’ll have extra opportunities.”

Campbell led all scorers with 10 points for Jackson and was selected the McDonald’s Player of the Game. Badgley paced McClain with 9 points and had to sit for most of the fourth quarter after picking up a fourth foul inside 60 seconds of the period

Jackson plays Athens Saturday night and McClain will host Miami Trace in their home opener on Tuesday.


JACKSON (31): Boston Campbell 10, Jacob Winters 7, Tristan Prater 7, Nate Woodard 6, Evan Jarvis 1.

MCCLAIN (28): Bryson Badgley 9, Braden Wright 6, Kendall Toney 5, Wesley Potts 4, Seth Wise 2, Preston Saunders 2.

Other FAC Games:

Chillicothe 54, Miami Trace 48 (OT)

Washington 58, Hillsboro 51

Unioto Opens SVC Boys Basketball With OT Win Over Zane Trace

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Two old SVC basketball rivals opened 2021-22 conference play against each other Friday and the game turned out like many of their other contests over the years- going down to the wire.

Unioto won a 53-51 OT thriller over Zane Trace, in a match-up that many believe will be the top two teams in SVC Boys Basketball this season.

(DeSean Branson connect at foul line. Photo: Litter Media/Mike Smith)

Unioto’s DeSean Branson, for the second time this season, hit a shot in the closing seconds to win the game. He hit a mid-court shot last week for a non-conference win at Logan. Branson led all scorers with 20 points.

The score remain close most of the game, with neither team gaining more than a 4-5 point lead.

The Shermans led 10-9 after one quarter and a Blake Hoops runner off the glass sent both teams to the locker room at halftime even at 18-18. Unioto held a 37-33 advantage after three periods to set up the fourth quarter battle.

Zane Trace grabbed a brief 38-37 lead with 4:37 to play in regulation, only to see the Shermans take the lead back on their next trip down the floor.

Unioto point guard Blake Hoops left the game with an ankle injury in the closing minutes, having scored 10 points at that point.

ZT’s Xzander Ream connected on a driving bucket and was fouled, making the free throw for 41-39 ZT lead. Unioto answered with a Ben Spetnagel bucket and a free throw for a Unioto 42-41 lead with 2:30 left.

Both teams traded buckets to get to 45-45 and Unioto with the ball in the closing seconds. The Pioneers’ 6’8 senior Donivan Baker stepped in front of a Shermans’ pass in the high post to keep Unioto from winning at the end of regulation.

With the score tied 47-47 in the overtime, Ben Nichols of Zane Trace fouled out, which was followed by a technical foul being called against ZT. Unioto’s Ben Spetnagel proceeded to connect on all four free throws for a 51-47 lead. But, the Pioneers came right back to go on a 4-0 run to even the game 51-51.

Unioto took the ball on their final possession with 11 seconds remaining. The inbound pass went to DeSean Branson who dribbled through three Pioneers’ defenders, shooting a soft shot off the glass for the 53-51 lead. Zane Trace’ desperation shot from 3/4 quarter fell short, giving the Shermans the overtime 53-51 win.

Unioto’s scoring was:
DeSean Branson 20
Blake Hoops 10
Ben Spetnagel 10
Jordan Perkins 7
Evan Park 5
Gabe Corcoran 1 

Zane Trace scoring was:
Ben Nichols 15
Xzander Ream 11
Donivan Baker 8
Kyle Stonerock 6
Nalin Robinson 5
Carter Hill 4

Unioto’s DeSean Branson was named our McDonald’s Player of the Game.

Unioto improves to (1-0/3-1) as Zane Trace falls to (0-1/1-3)

The Shermans travel to Piketon on Saturday while Zane Trace is at Huntington.

In other SVC action Friday:
Westfall 59, Southeastern 54
Piketon 41, Adena 39
Paint Valley 56, Huntington 38