Alter three-peat D-II state title completes historic run

Published: Saturday, March 18, 2017 @ 11:01 AM
Updated: Saturday, March 18, 2017 @ 12:39 PM

            Alter three-peat D-II state title completes historic run

Braxtin Miller, a prized centerpiece of Alter’s girls basketball success the last four seasons, was clueless as to what the Knights accomplished Saturday afternoon. That’s for record keepers.

“I really don’t know much about the history of all of this, so this might be big,” Miller shrugged while accepting congratulations following a 58-41 defeat of Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown that secured Alter’s third straight Division II girls high school basketball state championship. “I don’t know. It’s cool that we might have an opportunity to really have an impact on history.”

It was fitting that Alter’s talented six-player senior class made its finest – and last – effort on the grandest stage at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center. That enabled Alter (28-2) to wrap up an unprecedented four-year program run of 115 wins and just five losses. Besides the three-peat D-II state championships, Alter also was a D-II state runner-up in 2014 when these seniors were freshmen.

According to Ohio High School Athletic Association records, no other boys or girls teams have won that many games in four seasons. Alter joins Fairmont (2010-13) as the only area girls program to play in four straight final fours. No other area girls team has played in four straight state title games.

Hathaway Brown (18-11) had no answer for Alter’s talented backcourt duo of Miller and Libby Bazelak. Miller, an Oklahoma State signee, bottomed three 3-pointers for a game-high 23 points, and added eight rebounds and three assists. Bazelak (Duquesne) was just as good, going for 21 points (two 3-pointers), eight rebounds, six assists and five steals.

Brown’s Kaydan Lawson had 11 points and her 6-foot-2 sister Dani Lawson (Purdue) 10 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks. Alter led by nine after the first quarter and Hathaway Brown closed to within five at the break, but Alter reasserted itself in the second half.

“We wanted it our senior year,” Bazelak said. “We have such a great senior class and we’ve had great leadership every year, which is really important. Going along with talent you also need to really love the game of basketball and we had that all four years.”

Emily Long, a senior move-in from Michigan, added six points and Lauren Lush and Nicole Hoeflinger four apiece to complete Alter’s scoring. All are seniors, as is Olivia Gillis, who added five rebounds.

Co-coach Kendel Peck sensed the Knights had something going following a 7 a.m. Saturday shoot-around at the high school.

“We were laughing and joking when we got off the bus,” he said. “We play better when we’re having fun and not so serious. It’s hard for a coach to let go of that but I had a good feeling (Saturday).”

Chris Hart, Alter’s other head coach, blinked back tears when addressing what this team and four-season run means to her.

“I don’t know how you adequately put into words what those six kids mean to us, to our program and to Alter High School,” she said. “What they’ve done is simply amazing. We’re very blessed to have had them go through our school for the last four years.”


View photos and video at

UMass looking for a new coach again after Kelsey changes mind

Published: Thursday, March 23, 2017 @ 5:16 PM

UMass looking for a new coach again after Kelsey changes mind

One Atlantic 10 Conference program finds itself looking for a new coach for the second time this week.

Massachusetts announced Tuesday it was hiring Cincinnati native and Xavier grad Pat Kelsey, the head coach at Winthrop. He arrived in Amherst on Wednesday, posed for photos and was all set to be introduced at a press conference Thursday.

At the last minute, Kelsey changed his mind, telling reporters, “It wasn’t the place for him.” According to reports, he will return to Winthrop.

Kelsey expressed his excitement about the UMass job Tuesday on Twitter, writing, “So excited to be a part of the rich tradition of @UMassBasketball. I may fall over when I meet Dr. J. Can't wait to get to Amherst!”

UMass fired coach Derek Kellogg after the season. The hiring of Kelsey, who guided Winthrop to the NCAA tournament this season, was seen as a smart move. Now UMass is back to square one.

Boys basketball state final four pairings, results

Published: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 @ 12:12 PM

Boys basketball state final four pairings, results

Thu., March 23

State semifinals

At OSU Schottenstein Center, Columbus

Division II

Wauseon 42, Col. Eastmoor Academy 35

Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary 62, Trotwood-Madison 60

Division IV

Delphos St. John’s (21-4) vs. Cle. Heights Lutheran East (18-9), 5:15 p.m.

Col. Wellington (21-7) vs. Lima Perry (24-3), 8:30 p.m.

D-IV ALL-OHIO: Fairlawn’s Nathan Lessing first team

Fri., March 24

State semifinals

At OSU Schottenstein Center, Columbus

Division III

Cle. Villa Angela-St. Joseph (21-6) vs. Proctorville Fairland (25-1), 10:45 a.m.

Cin. Roger Bacon (24-4) vs. Archbold (22-5), 2 p.m.

Division I

Pickerington Central (26-2) vs. Cin. Moeller (27-0), 5:15 p.m.

Lakewood St. Edward (23-5) vs. Massillon Jackson (26-2), 8:30 p.m.

Sat., March 25

State finals

At OSU Schottenstein Center, Columbus

D-II: Wauseon (27-1) vs. Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (24-5), 10:45 a.m.

D-IV: 2 p.m.

D-III: 5:15 p.m.

D-I: 8:30 p.m.

FACEBOOK: For more high school sports you should like Marc Pendleton

Cincinnati Bengals re-sign special teams ace to one-year contract

Published: Thursday, March 23, 2017 @ 4:14 PM

            Cincinnati Bengals re-sign special teams ace to one-year contract

The Bengals today re-signed running back and special teams ace Cedric Peerman to a one-year contract.

Peerman had become an unrestricted free agent with the start of the new NFL business year.

Mock Draft 2.0: Who will the Bengals select in the first round?

A seven-year NFL veteran, Peerman was limited to six games in 2016 due to a fractured forearm suffered during the preseason.

In 2015 he notched 17 special teams tackle to earn a Pro Bowl selection. The 5-foot-10, 212-pounder has led the Bengals to a top 10 ranking in special teams effectiveness in three of last five seasons.

“It’s big for us to get Cedric back,” special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons said. “He’s demonstrated over time what an effective player he is. He’s a leader of our unit, a core part of what we do.”

Peerman, 30, has played 90 of his 92 career NFL games with the Bengals. He has 72 career special teams tackles and has averaged 5.0 yards on 70 career carries.

Boys Basketball: Trotwood-Madison stunned in state semifinals

Published: Thursday, March 23, 2017 @ 2:33 PM
Updated: Thursday, March 23, 2017 @ 3:39 PM

            Boys Basketball: Trotwood-Madison stunned in state semifinals

Jayvon Graves hit the winning shot with .7 seconds left as Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary defeated Trotwood-Madison 62-60 in a boys high school basketball Division II state semifinal at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center on Thursday afternoon.

It was a stunning loss for Trotwood, which defeated Akron SVSM 100-61 in mid-January.

The Irish advance to Saturday’s 10:45 a.m. state championship against Wauseon (27-1), which defeated Columbus Eastmoor Academy 42-35 in Thursday’s D-II semi opener.