Defense heats up Buccaneers win

By John Bombatch Sports Editor jbombatch@civitasmedia.com

January 4, 2014

XENIA — Like pretty much everything else on Friday night, it took the Xenia High School boys basketball team a little bit longer than normal to get warmed up.

But once they did, the Buccaneers dominated visiting West Carrollton for a 71-46 Greater Western Ohio Conference, South Division win.

The two teams played pretty evenly throughout most of the first half but, sparked by the hot shooting of Jaylin Cumberland, Xenia went on a 16-0 tear in the final 2:42 of the second quarter to pull away for the win.

“It just felt good to be able to help my team like that. I just shook some rust off and got the hot hand,” Cumberland said with almost an embarrassed shrug. “When I was able to score, it opened up scoring opportunities for the rest of my teammates, and that’s always nice.”

Xenia coach Kent Anderson credited the Buccaneers’ defense for providing the spark the offense needed.

“I thought our defense was much improved tonight,” Anderson said. “We caused 19 West Carrollton turnovers in the first half, and ultimately that was what led to Jaylin Cumberland being able to get to the basket. He had a big, big first half for us with his being able to penetrate and score inside for us.”

Xenia stats had West Carrollton marked down for 29 turnovers for the game.

Cumberland, a 6-foot sophomore wing, led all scorers with 19 points. He scored 16 of that total in the second quarter, and 10 of that total came during the 16-0 run. Xenia teammates Clayton Kadel and Brent Bauer also finished with double-figure scoring, with 13 and 10 points respectively.

Anderson sat most of the starters for almost the entire fourth quarter of play.

Pirates coach Dan Gearhart said he felt the tide turning in Xenia’s favor before the second-quarter run even happened.

“We were up 10-8 in the first quarter, and then we let them kind of takeover the game’s tempo,” he said. “They started pressing and, suddenly, we were playing to their tempo the rest of the way.

“We had a pretty good team last year, but most of the players on that team have graduated. So, we’re paying for it now.”

Mehdi Hossein led West Carrollton (0-8, 0-3 GWOC South) with 11 points, but the Buccaneers held him scoreless in the second half. Princeton Poteate scored eight points for the Pirates, but saw limited action in the second half with four fouls.

Xenia returns to its home court on Tuesday for another South Division battle, this time with Springboro. Friday’s win gives the Bucs a 5-4 overall record, 2-1 in the GWOC South.

“We have to keep pace with (South Division leading) Miamisburg, get the win over Springboro and keep the Vikings in our sights. If we can do that, then maybe the Jan. 16 game against Miamisburg might mean something,” Anderson said.

FAIRBORN 86, LEBANON 61: Host Fairborn led 39-28 at halftime, then pulled away by outscoring the visiting Warriors 47-33 in the second half for Friday night’s win. No individual statistics were reported. Fairborn (3-5) is tied with Xenia at 2-1 in the Greater Western Ohio Conference’s South Division. The Skyhawks play today at Cincinnati Western Hills in a nonleague contest.