Warren boys fall to Jackson in district semifinal, 42-32

RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times Warren’s Seth Dennis, left, drives to the basket as Jackson’s Braxton Hammond defends during Friday’s district semifinal boys basketball game at the Convo.

ATHENS — Warren High got swatted.

The third-seeded Warriors just had too many shots contested and blocked in a 42-32 setback to second-seeded Jackson High Friday night in an OHSAA Divison II district semifinal boys’ basketball game at the Ohio University Convocation Center.

“Yes, they (Ironmen) did (block a lot of shots),” said WHS head coach Blane Maddox. “We took a little hole, and we got blocked, I guess. That’s what it looks like on the scoreboard here.”

Offensively, Warren (16-8) shot 30 percent (12-40) from the field and converted just four of 12 free-throws. Senior Clay Miller and Seth Dennis each scored eight points to lead the Warriors — and all of their points came in the second half.

“We had a span of about four minutes where we played well (in the first half),” Maddox said. “Other than that, we didn’t do much.

“We had trouble scoring against them. We had trouble at the foul line. We had trouble everywhere. It was a whole different ballgame if we get up on them, but we couldn’t do that.”

Jackson (17-7) was led by 6-foot-3 senior Cooper Donaldson’s 21 points. Junior point Caleb Wallis added 13 markers, including three triples.

“They’ve got two really good scorers,” Maddox said.

The Ironmen advance and are scheduled to play Sheridan High in a district final at 5 p.m. March 10 at the Convo. Sheridan beat Waverly 65-45 in Friday’s other semi.

Warren’s Austin Barta, Brandon Simoniette, and Noah Nichols each drained a 3 in the opening period to stake the royal blue and white cagers to an 11-9 advantage. Bryce Knost’s buzzer-beating jumper gave the Warriors a two-point lead.

In the second quarter, WHS maintained the advantage until Wallis knocked down three consective treys late to give the Ironmen a 22-16 halftime advantage.

Warren outpointed JHS, 8-5, in the third quarter, thanks to Dennis, who scored six points. The Warriors only trailed by three, 27-24, going into the final eight minutes of action.

But Donaldson came out firing in the fourth, scoring 11 points, to keep the Warriors at bay.

Playing in their last WHS varsity game were Matt Goodman, Gabe Venham, Nichols, Barta, Miller, and Knost.

“We had a solid year,” Maddox said. “It’s disappointing to get here and not play your best game. But that’s the way it goes.”