Trotwood stuns Dunbar 83-54 in D-II regional final

Published: Saturday, March 18, 2017 @ 3:22 PM
Updated: Wednesday, March 22, 2017 @ 1:37 PM


            Trotwood’s Torrey Patton (with ball) gets by Dunbar’s Storm Cook. Trotwood-Madison defeated Dunbar 83-54 in a boys high school basketball D-II regional final at Fairmont’s Trent Arena on Saturday, March 18, 2017. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
            MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

The Trotwood-Madison and Dunbar boys basketball teams were like two prize fighters poised for a regional final rematch. The buildup was intense. The interest great. The payoff would be a trip to the state final four.

And like many of these kinds of celebrated contests, it was quickly over, Trotwood landing a crushing 83-54 knockout at a capacity-filled Fairmont Trent Arena that wasn’t that close.

“We came out with a great start and just kept it going,” Trotwood senior Torrey Patton said. “Coach told us to put our foot on the ignition and don’t let them come back and that’s what we did.”

The victory launches Trotwood (26-2) into the Division II state semifinals in another rematch against Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (23-5) at 2 p.m. Thursday at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center in Columbus. St. V, whose most famous alum is LeBron James, advanced by taking out Cleveland Central Catholic 72-48 in a regional final at Canton also on Saturday. Trotwood blitzed visiting St. V 100-61 in the regular season on Jan. 14.

It’ll be Trotwood’s third state trip. Trotwood last went to state in 2014, losing to Upper Arlington in the D-I state semifinals. Trotwood, powered by Chris Wright, also was the D-I state runner-up in 2006, losing to Canton McKinley in the championship.

It took just 90 seconds after the opening tip for Dunbar, seemingly poised to add to its final four resume, to instead unravel. That’s how long it took for Trotwood’s Amir Foster, Amari Davis and Myles Belyeu to deliver crowd-rousing transition dunks. Dunbar never recovered defensively and couldn’t find its offensive touch, either, a deadly combination in a contest of this magnitude.

In all, Trotwood would unleash eight slams in an unrelenting attack that Dunbar never did slow or solve. Dunbar’s Caleb McConnell also had a throw-down with 5:30 left in the second quarter, but drew a technical foul for taunting — his third personal — and didn’t return. Trotwood responded with a half-ending 12-2 run and the rout was on.

Trotwood led 24-6 in the first quarter and the grand rematch had turned mismatch by halftime with Trotwood flexing a 40-17 advantage. Trotwood fans begged for more while Dunbar patrons sat in gloomy disbelief.

“We talked about just attacking and we did that early,” Trotwood coach Rocky Rockhold said. “That got them on their heels defensively a little bit, which created some open stuff for us. At the end of the day, those kids did it. They executed and took care of business.”

Foster led Trotwood with a game-high 22 points. Belyeu added 16 points and Davis 11. Devon Baker led Dunbar with 13 points and Storm Cook added 12.

It was a stunning meltdown by Dunbar (24-4), which pushed Trotwood before falling 98-89 in a regular-season road showdown Feb. 4. That shootout stoked the rematch hype. Both coaches positioned their teams in the sectional brackets to not meet until a regional final. That was the only thing that worked out for Dunbar.

“We just didn’t show up,” a glum Dunbar coach Pete Pullen said. “We didn’t defend and we didn’t compete. We didn’t have any answers.”

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FC Cincy stuns Chicago Fire in U.S. Open Cup

Published: Wednesday, June 28, 2017 @ 11:02 PM
Updated: Wednesday, June 28, 2017 @ 11:02 PM


            Contributed photo/WCPO FC Cincinnati forward Kadeem Dacres controls the ball while Chicago Fire’s Jonathan Campbell pressures during their U.S. Open Cup match at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati Wednesday, June 28, 2017.
            hubbard

Mitch Hildebrandt played the game of his career just to keep FC Cincinnati alive through 120 minutes of play in a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 game against Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire SC.

Then, he did the almost unthinkable.

The FC Cincinnati goalkeeper made saves on three out of four penalty kicks to lift the second-year United Soccer League club to a 1-0 win against one of the hottest teams in MLS right now. The thrilling upset in front of a non-finals record crowd of 32,287 fans at Nippert Stadium sends FCC into the quarterfinals July 12 at Miami FC.

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The Fire, which rode a 10-game unbeaten streak into the game, had dominated possession most of the way, holding the ball for 70.5 percent of regulation, but FCC’s defense hung on for dear life to extend the match into extra time and eventually penalty kicks.

FC Cincinnati approached the game in the same way it did for the fourth-round win over Columbus Crew SC on June 14, sitting back on defense and attacking aggressively, moreso in the second half, with whatever opportunities came on offense.

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This time, the lucky second-half break just never came for the home side, which was missing star forward Djiby Fall because of an ankle injury suffered Saturday against St. Louis FC. Fall had scored the game-winning goals in each of FCC’s first three Cup games, all 1-0 decisions, and his injury wasn’t announced until an hour before kickoff.

Chicago started its top two players, forward Nemanja Nikolic and midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, among a slew of other regulars. But even with the quality lineup, the Fire couldn’t sneak even the best opportunities past Hildebrandt and FCC’s defense, bolstered by the backline of Harrison Delbridge, Justin Hoyte and Austin Berry, as well as wingbacks Matt Bahner and Josu Currais.

Hildebrandt finished regulation with seven saves, including several impressive ones that ignited the “Mitch Says No” chants throughout the stadium. The fans grew louder as the game pressed on and as FCC grew more aggressive on both ends of the field.

FC Cincinnati almost ended the game in extra time when Andrew Wiedeman scored on a neat pass from Corben Bone in the 109th minute, but the sideline official had her flag up to signal offsides before the shot.

The electric crowd finally got to celebrate for real after Hildebrandt stopped the penalty kick of Chicago’s fourth kicker. The celebration rivaled that of two weeks ago when a crowd of 30,160 fans witnessed a 1-0 win in the fourth-round game against the Crew.

Defense carries Reds to second straight win vs. Brewers

Published: Wednesday, June 28, 2017 @ 10:11 PM

The Cincinnati Reds made so many great plays Wednesday at Great American Ball Park, manager Bryan Price had a hard time keeping track of them all. He wrote them all down right after the game before meeting with the media and wasn’t sure he remembered them all.

However, two defensive plays stood out for the Reds, who beat the Brewers 4-3 and extended their modest winning streak to two games.

Right fielder Scott Schebler made the first big play, robbing the Brewers’ Stephen Vogt of a three-run home run in the first inning. Left fielder Adam Duvall said it was the best catch by a Red this season.

“That was nice,” Duvall said. “I got to watch it on the big screen in slo mo. Whenever an outfielder makes a good play, we all get excited. We take pride in doing the little things right.”

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The second play ended the game. With one out and runners on first and third, Raisel Iglesias struck out Jesus Aguilar. Orlando Arcia tried to steal second on the pitch. Tucker Barnhart threw to second baseman Scooter Gennett, who tagged Arcia out to end the game. Jonathan Villar was racing home with what would have been the tying run. Gennett tagged Arcia before Villar got to the plate.

“A lot of things went right for us,” Price said. “They had speed on the bases. Certainly, Villar, we anticipated if we threw to second, there would be a good chance he was going to go. Tucker did a great job managing that situation, as did Scooter.”

The Reds (33-44) won their second game in a row for the first time since they won four straight against the Cardinals (June 5-8). They trail the Brewers (41-39) by 6½ games in the National League Central Division.

Suarez slumping in June

The defensive plays overshadowed a strong start by rookie Luis Castillo. In his second start, he allowed two earned runs on five hits and struck out nine in five innings.

Castillo provided another burst of hope for a starting staff that ranks last in baseball with an ERA of 6.25. He allowed two earned runs in five innings Friday against the Nationals in his first start.

Castillo would have earned his first win in the big leagues, but the Brewers’ Travis Shaw tied the game 3-3 with a home run against Tony Cingrani with two outs in the eighth.

The Reds regained the lead in the bottom of the eighth. Billy Hamilton walked and stole second and third before scoring on an infield single by Adam Duvall.

Earlier, Adam Duvall hit his 18th home run, and Scooter Gennett hit a two-run home run, his 12th of the season.

THURSDAY’S GAME

Brewers at Reds, 7:10 p.m., FS Ohio, 700, 1410

Wayne lands on ESPN in football season opener

Published: Wednesday, June 28, 2017 @ 4:18 PM
Updated: Wednesday, June 28, 2017 @ 5:45 PM

Wayne’s Mazon Walker (99) and Alex Reigelsperger close on Moeller QB Evan Ernst. Wayne hosted Moeller in a Week 2 high school football game at Heidkamp Stadium on Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Wayne football is stepping into the national spotlight to begin the upcoming season.

On Wednesday the Warriors head coach Jay Minton was informed Wayne will be part of the seven-game GEICO ESPN High School Football Kickoff that will be televised on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU from Aug. 25-27.

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Wayne landed the only Sunday game on Aug. 27 at Pine-Richland High School in Gibsonia, Pennsylvania. The season-opening contest will be televised live at 1 p.m. on ESPN.

“The experience and exposure for the kids and the program and the community and Southwest Ohio, it’s a great opportunity that I don’t think you can deny your players,” said Minton.

Promoter Eric Horstman allowed Wayne to opt out of hosting a Backyard Blitz opener. In return, the Warriors will have a short recovery week. Wayne is at Olentangy Liberty just five days later in a Week 2 game. Liberty lost to Cleveland St. Ignatius in a Division I state semifinal last season.

“We’ve got a short stretch there,” Minton said, “but if that’s the level where our program is supposed to be, then we should be able to do it or at least be competitive.”

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All the games will feature players ranked among the ESPN 300, its top players for the Class of 2018. Wayne seniors making the list are defensive end Alex Reigelsperger (No. 149) and receiver L’Christian “Blue” Smith (No. 195). Riegelsperger is verbally committed to the University of Kentucky. Smith is uncommitted, but has an abundance of offers, including Ohio State.

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Pine-Richland features quarterback Phil Jurkovec (No. 116), who’s committed to Notre Dame. He’s considered the next great QB to emerge from Western Pennsylvania, a traditional hotbed for high school talent, especially quarterbacks.

Among the more notable quarterbacks that area has produced are Joe Montana (Ringgold), Joe Namath (Beaver Falls), Jim Kelly (East Brady), Dan Marino (Pittsburgh), Johnny Unitas (Pittsburgh), George Blanda (Youngwood), Babe Parilli (Rochester), Johnny Lujack (Connellsville) and Terrelle Pryor (Jeannette).

Wayne, 11-1-1 last season, was in prime position to contend for an elusive Division I state championship and appeared headed to another showdown with unbeaten Colerain. The Southwest District powers were 1-2 (Colerain winning) in the final Associated Press state poll, but both were upset in early rounds.

Colerain was knocked out 29-23 in overtime in Week 12 by eventual state champ Cincinnati St. Xavier. Wayne lost 17-14 at Pickerington Central in a regional final the next week. Wayne was the D-I state runner-up in 2014-15 and has lost all four of its state championship games.

Located 12 miles north of Pittsburgh and a public school, Pine-Richland was 7-5 last season, losing 28-27 at Lakewood St. Edward in its opener. The Rams were a PIAA Class AAAA state runner-up in 2014. Pine-Richland has since been reclassified as Class AAAAAA (largest).

It’ll be at least the sixth time Wayne will have played on an ESPN network, including three times when QB Braxton Miller was a senior in 2014. 

“It really adds to your summer conditioning program,” Minton said. “When they know you’re going to play a nationally caliber team on national TV, you better be ready to play that sucker and play their best.”

GEICO ESPN FOOTBALL KICKOFF

Who: Wayne at Pine-Richland H.S.

When: 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 27.

Where: Gibsonia, Pa., 12 miles north of Pittsburgh.

TV: ESPN (live).

Dayton’s Mikesell won’t play in 2017-18 season

Published: Wednesday, June 28, 2017 @ 8:07 PM

Dayton's Ryan Mikesell dribbles against Saint Louis on Feb. 14, 2017.

Dayton Flyers fans won’t have to debate all offseason whether junior forward Ryan Mikesell will play in the 2017-18 season.

UD took away the guessing game by announcing Wednesday, months earlier than expected, that Mikesell will not play next season. He will receive a medical redshirt after undergoing surgeries in May and June to correct impingements in both hips. He will have two years of eligibility remaining when he returns to the court for the 2018-19 season.

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Coach Anthony Grant had said UD would wait to see how Mikesell’s rehabilitation efforts went before deciding if he would play this season. The earliest he could have returned was mid-December.

That thinking changed after Mikesell’s latest visit to the doctor.

“This is in the best interests of Ryan’s health, both short-term and long-term,” Grant said in a press release. “By all accounts, Ryan’s two surgeries were a success. But after a follow-up visit with his physician, it is clear that the proper course of action is to redshirt this season to allow him to fully recover.” 

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The St. Henry grad Mikesell underwent the first surgery May 15 on his right hip. He had the second surgery on his left hip on June 16.

Last season, Mikesell appeared in all 32 games and started 24. He averaged 5.7 points and 3.9 rebounds per game.

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“I’d rather be on the court, so in that sense this is kind of a disappointment,” Mikesell said in a press release. “But it’s also a relief to know that the surgeries were successful and that we have a plan for me to be at my best when I do return. I just have to do what the doctors and (UD trainer Mike Mulcahey) tell me to do.”

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Mulcahey said the rehab would have lasted six months but it wasn’t just a matter of Mikesell being cleared to play.

“As he recovers, he will need to retrain his body in the best ways to move with his increased strength and range of motion,” Mulcahey said. “Big picture, it’s not something that can be rushed and certainly not something to take shortcuts on.”