Crucial period in high school hoops season

Fort Frye’s Tyler Bradford (10) holds the ball as Shenandoah’s Chase Chicwak defends during a high school boys basketball game last week in Beverly. Several local prep hoops teams are reaching an important part of their regular season schedule over the next two weeks. JORDAN HOLLAND The Marietta Times

The holiday season is here.

That means there are pivotal games and tournaments upcoming for local high school basktball teams. For some, it’s a break from the conference and league schedules, and a chance to go up against teams from around the state.

The Marietta High boys and girls have East Central Ohio League matchups this weekend against Coshocton before playing in some non-league games.

The boys improved to 2-4 with a 67-65 win over Athens Tuesday and now are set to visit the Redskins Friday. In a quick turnaround, Marietta is back in action on Saturday when it takes on Bellaire at Ohio University Eastern.

“We’re going to have our hands full going into (Coshocton)” said MHS head coach Glenn Dawson. “Then we play Saturday against Bellaire up at the Buckeye U Tournament. So we’re got a lot of games coming up before the first of the year.”

The Lady Tigers play host to Coshocton Saturday and return home next Wednesday to take on Alexander. The Allen Ruth-coached Marietta girls are looking for their second win of the season.

Both Marietta teams then will turn their attention to the River City Classic on Dec. 29-30 at Marietta College.

The 2017-18 campaign has been kind to the Warriors. With just one loss each, the Warren boys and girls have been tough to beat.

The boys (4-1) roughed up Belpre, 80-42, Tuesday night behind 29 points from Josh Huffman. The Warriors are back in action Saturday at Morgan, where they’ll look to avenge their only loss of the year. The Raiders handed Warren a 50-43 setback in the season opener on Dec. 2. Warren has since won four straight.

“I like this team we have,” Warren head coach Blane Maddox said following Tuesday’s victory. “They play hard, they root for each other all the way down to the end and want everybody to do well.”

The Lady Warriors (7-1) escaped Sarahsville Monday with a 40-37 win over Shenandoah. The Amy Colgrove-coached squad took its only loss to Parkersburg South last week, but has been pretty impressive this season in the absence of senior standout Molly McCutcheon. Classmates like Kate Liston, Emily Jackson and Peyton Bowe have stepped up, and will lead the team into the Spartan Holiday Showcase Saturday in Alexander.

Like Marietta, both Warren teams are set to compete in the River City Classic next weekend as well.

The Waterford boys and girls are in the thick of their respective Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division races. The boys (3-2) held on for a 60-50 overtime victory versus Federal Hocking Tuesday, getting 19 points and nine rebounds from Travis Pottmeyer.

“We overcame adversity and we didn’t break,” Simms said. “Federal Hocking has improved by leaps and bounds. We still need to establish our identity and become more of a refined unit.”

Up next is a road matchup against Southern Friday.

But first, the defending Division IV state runner-up Lady Wildcats will be in action Thursday at Belpre. Behind a senior class that has been to three state championship games, Waterford has won five straight games since opening the season with a loss at Parkersburg. A week from today, the two teams will meet again at the Harry Cooper Annex.

The Dan Liedtke-coached Fort Frye girls are home tonight at against River, while the Eric Henniger-guided boys team travels to Monroe Central Friday.

Also at home Friday is Belpre against Federal Hocking, Frontier versus Shenandoah and Caldwell against Edison. Saturday, the Belpre girls are Alexander-bound for the Spartan Holidat Showcase.