High-scoring Samari Curtis wants to be a program-changer for Xenia

Published: Friday, January 12, 2018 @ 4:05 PM

Xenia junior Samari Curtis talks about how it felt to score 50 points for the Buccaneers in a loss at Tippecanoe on Jan. 5.

Scoring 50 points in a game is cool, but Samari Curtis has something bigger in mind. 

The junior guard on the Xenia boys basketball team hopes to change the image of Buccaneers athletics. 

“We want to get our name out there, like try to change the culture around here,” Curtis said. “We don’t want it to be just little ol’ Xenia no more.”

Several XHS alumni have logged notable individual careers — Doug Adams and Vaughn Broadnax starred at Ohio State, Trent Cole played 12 years in the NFL and Barry Clemens logged 11 NBA seasons, to name a few — but few Buccaneer teams have won big. 

The notable exception coach Tom Blackburn’s Xenia Central squad that won the 1942 boys basketball state championship. 

Nowadays, Xenia is generally overshadowed by GWOC powerhouses Wayne, Centerville and Springfield in football and basketball, but a talent such as Curtis could help write a new narrative. 

That nearly began last season. 

The Buccs had GWOC champ Springfield on the ropes in a sectional final at Centerville but couldn’t close the deal. 

The Wildcats rallied from 13 down in the fourth quarter to win in overtime 73-72. 

“I think about that game all the time, that heartbreaker against Springfield,” said Curtis, who had 14 points that night. “We wish we had another chance, but we just know we’ve gotta work harder so that doesn’t happen again.”

This season, the Buccaneers split their first 12 games, a tough slate that included losses to Cincinnati powerhouse Princeton, Lebanon and Trotwood-Madison. 

They trail the Rams by two games in the GWOC American South, but however the league standings shake out, long-time XHS coach Kent Anderson hopes the early trials will pay off in the long run. 

“If we get in that moment again, then possibly we can get past the sectional finals and who knows?” Anderson said, referring to the Springfield loss. 

Having an individual talent like Curtis surely raises those odds. 

The 6-foot-4 junior led the GWOC in scoring last season, and his 31.7-point average topped the league again entering the second weekend in January. 

He hit the 50-point mark Jan. 5 in a loss at Tippecanoe, becoming the third player in teh area to toss in that many in a game this season. 

RELATED: Area 50-point scorers from the past and present

And yet his takeaway was, “We didn’t win, so it really doesn’t matter too much to me. I just like winning.”

That reaction didn’t surprise Anderson. 

“He’s a sharer — he really is,” the coach said. “He’s a very unselfish kid. He’s very confident, you see this exterior that’s very confident, on the inside he’s very humble. 

“The last two years we’ve gotten knocked out of the tournament, the very next day he’s in the weight room trying to get stronger. He’s that kind of driven athlete. That part of it really makes it easy to coach him.”

RELATED: The 7 best Xenia football players of all time

Curtis shot better than 50 percent from the floor and made 35 percent from 3-point range while grabbing 5.9 rebounds per game and adding 5.3 assists through 12 games. 

He has already been offered scholarships by Akron, Toledo, Kent State, Cincinnati and Xavier but didn’t sound in a hurry to commit to a school. 

First he’s got some business to take care of at home. 

“I would just love to break through for (our seniors),” he said of elevating the Xenia program. “We talk about it all the time, almost every day.” 

 

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Dunbar runs away with Edwin Moses Relays boys title

Published: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 1:55 PM


            The 68th Dayton Edwin C. Moses Relays was held at Welcome Stadium on Friday, April 20, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
            MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
The 68th Dayton Edwin C. Moses Relays was held at Welcome Stadium on Friday, April 20, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF(MARC PENDLETON / STAFF)

All Dunbar needs to do is follow Jalani Allen’s lead in its quest to ring up yet another boys state track and field team championship.

That’s the Wolverines’ goal every spring season. The names change over the years, but the goal always remains the same.

“We hope to go for back-to-back (state championships),” said Allen during the 68th annual Dayton Edwin C. Moses Relays at Welcome Stadium on Friday. “That’s certainly the goal. It’s very exciting when it gets around to this time of the year. This will be one (team) to watch.”

Allen did his part as a member of four winning relays.

Dunbar (77 points) won six events and captured the boys team title. Thomas Worthington (53) was second and Miamisburg (51) third.

Thomas Worthington edged Lima Senior 65-61 to win the girls team title. Chaminade Julienne (54) was third.

Only the field events – minus the discus – were individually scored. Reconstruction of the adjoining University of Dayton Arena parking lot has eliminated the discus area.

Allen ran on the winning 440 shuttle hurdles relay (1:02.91) and also helped Dunbar sweep the 4x100-meter (42.70), 4x200 (1:29.19) and 4x400 (3:28.46) relays.

Dunbar’s boys also were first in the 800 sprint medley relay (1:34.48) and 1,600 sprint medley relay (3:44.17).

Allen was among the Wolverines’ leaders in winning the 2017 outdoor state track title and adding another combined Divisions II-III indoor state title in February. That’s the kind of all-around talent that enabled Allen to sign with Malone University, where he’ll play football and run track.

“It felt like the wait was over,” he said when signing with the Canton-area NCAA Division II program. “All the searching and stressing was over. I’m just ready to graduate and get going.”

Also headed to Malone to play football and run track is Springfield hurdler Dyier Smith, although he’s sitting out this season.

Springfield senior Quincy Scott won the long jump (22 feet, 7.50 inches) in a great showdown against Zamir Youngblood of Dunbar (22-1).

Other area boys firsts were posted by Miamisburg teammates Jason Hubbard and Tyler Johnson in the high jump (6-0), Covington’s Jett Murphy in the pole vault (14-0) and Springfield Isaiah Gibson in the shot put (46-7.50).

Area girls winners were Covington in the 3,200 relay (10:21.74), Dunbar’s 1,600 sprint medley relay (4:31.00), Miamisburg’s RaMya Woodward in the high jump (5-4), Beavercreek’s Eileen Yang in the pole vault (12-0) and Lauren Christian of Covington in the shot put (40-3.25).

• Beavercreek swept the boys (191 points) and girls (175) team titles in Thursday’s Greene County track and field championships at Xenia. Bellbrook was runner-up in both.

• The Bulldog Classic was Saturday at the Milton-Union Track complex at West Milton.

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Wildcats junior among state’s best hurdlers

Published: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 1:10 PM
Updated: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 1:44 PM


            Springfield High School junior Austin Tyree. The 68th Dayton Edwin C. Moses Relays was held at Welcome Stadium on Friday, April 20, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
            MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
Springfield High School junior Austin Tyree. The 68th Dayton Edwin C. Moses Relays was held at Welcome Stadium on Friday, April 20, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF(MARC PENDLETON / STAFF)

It didn’t take long for Springfield High School junior Austin Tyree to establish himself among the state’s best hurdlers this spring. His personal best times of 39.04 in the 300-meter hurdles and 15.05 in the 110 highs shot him high on the Division I state leader board.

That kind of breakout season is just what Tyree had envisioned.

“Being a part of such a great team, I wanted to be a part of that special group of great athletes who come from Springfield,” Tyree said during Friday’s 68th annual Dayton Edwin C. Moses Relays at Welcome Stadium. “It’s been a pretty exciting season so far.”

Only the field events – minus the discus – were individually scored.

Springfield senior teammate Quincy Scott won the long jump (22 feet, 7.50 inches) in a great showdown against Zamir Youngblood of Dunbar (22-1).

Springfield junior Isaiah Gibson added another first in the shot put (46-7.50) and senior Austin Garza was fourth (40-7).

Tyree and Scott also were on the runner-up boys 4x100-meter relay (43.22), as were Mike Brown and Jacob Yost. The Wildcats’ 4x200 relay was third (1:37.67).

Junior Tiffany Moss paced Springfield’s girls with a third in the long jump (15-11.75). She also ran on the fourth-place shuttle hurdle relay (1:09.91).

Dunbar (77 points) captured the boys team title. Thomas Worthington (53) was second and Miamisburg (51) third. Springfield (41) was sixth.

Thomas Worthington edged Lima Senior 65-61 to win the girls team title. Chaminade Julienne (54) was third. Springfield (19) was 11th.

Tyree has taken over for Springfield hurdler Dyier Smith, who is not running as a senior but intends on playing football and running track at Malone University in Canton.

Tyree excelled for the Dayton Wolverines AAU summer track and field team last year and even ran cross country – with the Springfield Courage – to be better prepared for this track season.

Even the extended winter-like weather couldn’t prevent Tyree from advancing in his specialties. At least four of Springfield’s meets have been canceled.

“Last year I didn’t even get out of district,” he said. “I worked harder this summer and fall with a goal of potentially reaching (37 seconds) in the (300 hurdles). I’m working on that now. Having a successful start is exciting because my goals are up there.”

Another Wildcats junior, Mike Brown, owns a best high jump of 6-4 and cleared 6-6 last season.

“We’ve got some young guys who are really good,” said Springfield coach Michael Davis.

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LeBron James sends Cavaliers to Game 3 in matching suits

Published: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 5:54 AM

LeBron James gave his teammates new suits before Game 3 of the Cavaliers' playoff series against Indiana, but didn't help as the Pacers won 92-90.
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
LeBron James gave his teammates new suits before Game 3 of the Cavaliers' playoff series against Indiana, but didn't help as the Pacers won 92-90.(Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Basketball superstar LeBron James has made a habit of buying his teammates gifts during the NBA playoffs.

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Previous gifts have included Beats by Dre headphones, Apple watches, Samsung Edge phones and even personalized shields. This year, James wanted his teammates to look sharp when they arrived for Game 3 of the Cavaliers’ first-round series, which shifted to Indianapolis on Friday. So, he bought matching suits for all 15 players, ESPN reported.

The Cavaliers arrived at Bankers Life Fieldhouse wearing gray suits, a white oxford shirt, a gray tie and a gray cashmere cardigan sweater, ESPN reported. Players also received black leather boots, overcoats and bags.

The Cavs looked good before the tip-off, but Indiana’s players were not impressed. The Pacers won 92-90, sending Cleveland to a 2-1 deficit in the series.

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1952 Topps Mickey Mantle baseball card fetches record  $2.88 million at auction

Published: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 12:01 AM
Updated: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 12:01 AM

A 1952 Topps baseball card of Mickey Mantle sold for $2.88 million in an online auction that ended Thursday night.
Professional Sports Authenticator
A 1952 Topps baseball card of Mickey Mantle sold for $2.88 million in an online auction that ended Thursday night.(Professional Sports Authenticator)

Mickey Mantle baseball cards are coveted by collectors, and the 1952 Topps card of the New York Yankees’ Hall of Fame outfielder remains the gold standard for post-World War II collectibles.

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The bar was raised even higher Thursday night, as a ’52 Mantle in mint condition -- graded PSA 9 by Professional Sports Authenticator -- sold for $2,880,000 in an online event hosted by Heritage Auctions. That price, which includes the buyer’s premium, is the most ever paid for a post-World War II trading card and the second-highest for any trading card, Sports Collectors Daily reported. 

The highest amount was $3.12 million for a T206 Honus Wagner card sold in October 2016 by Goldin Auctions.

“The 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle is more than just a baseball card,” PSA President Joe Orlando said in a news release. “It is pop culture art and the symbol of the card collecting hobby itself.”

There were 21 bids cast for the Mantle card, which was part of Heritage Auctions’ Spring Sports Card Catalog Auction. The previous record for a 1952 Mantle graded PSA 9 was set in 2006, when Memory Lane Auction sold one for $282,588, PSA said in its release. The previous record for a Mantle card, regardless of grade, was a PSA 8.5 that sold in 2016 for $1.13 million.

The card that was sold Thursday night was owned by former NFL offensive lineman Evan Mathis, who played for six teams during his professional career. Wednesday night, Mathis spoke with with ESPN’s Bob Ley about the card and his love for collecting. Mathis said he sold the card to finance a new home in Tennessee, Sports Collectors Daily reported.

Mantle’s 1952 card is not the slugger’s true rookie card, but it is the first card that Topps issued. The 1951 Bowman card of the Mick is considered his rookie card, and one graded PSA 9 sold during this week’s Heritage Auctions sale for $750,000.

“The 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card captures the attention of baseball fans, serious collectors, and investors alike and this auction made it one of the most valuable sports collectibles in existence,” Chris Ivy, Director of Sports Auctions at Heritage Auctions, told Sports Collectors Daily. “It’s a phenomenal price, a world record, but it’s also the natural progression of a trend we’ve seen building for years.”

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