Warriors fall in hard fought district final
ATHENS — Warren High’s bid for a Sweet 16 berth was denied.
The eighth-seeded Warriors never trailed in the first half but were outpointed after the break and dropped a 51-45 decision to seventh-seeded Logan Elm Thursday night in an OHSAA Division II boys basketball district final at the OU Convocation Center.
“We battled,” said WHS head coach Blane Maddox. “We weren’t supposed to be here. We had a great showing. This district final has been tough for us.”
Back in 2014, Warren suffered a 61-45 setback to Logan Elm in a district title game, and then lost to the Braves 70-63 in overtime of a 2017 sectional final at Jim’s Gym in Logan.
Sophomore Brayden Sallee paced the Warriors (16-10) with 14 points. Senior Brandon Simoniette and junior Kurt Taylor added seven apiece while juniors’ Joel Chevalier and Jake Baumgard netted six and five, respectively. Junior Gavin Ott came off the pine to contribute five markers.
“I’m proud of the team,” Maddox said. “We played well and played hard.”
Logan Elm ( 19-7) advances and is scheduled to play either Meadowbrook or Tri-Valley in a regional semi at the Convo at 8 p.m. Thursday.
The Braves were led by Gabe Chalfin and Isaac Ward, who tallied 18 and 14 points, respectively. Jason Sailor chipped in with eight while Jeremiah Wietelmann had seven.
“We played a good solid team,” Maddox said.
Simoniette and Sallee each had four points and Taylor three as Warren staked itself to 13-6 first-quarter advantage. Logan Elm was just 2 of 13 from floor during opening eight minutes.
Early in the second period, Sallee scored a deuce and Simoniette a triple to give the Warriors a nine-point lead (18-9). But the Braves fought back, sparked by Chalfin’s six points, and trailed 24-19 at the intermission.
Logan Elm started the second half with a 7-0 run on points by Chalfin (2), Ward (3), and Sailor (2). With the Braves in the lead (26-24) for the first time in the contest, Warren called time.
When play was resumed, Sallee converted one of two at the line to halt the LE surge, and then the Warriors regained the advantage on Chevalier’s two freebies.
Before the third quarter ended with Logan Elm on top 32-31, there were five lead changes and one tie.
Warren never led in the fourth quarter, but stayed close the entire eight minutes. With one minute left, Taylor knocked down a long 3 to cut it to one, 44-43.
But Logan Elm got a wide-open layup from senior Jared Harrington and made 4 of 6 from the charity stripe in the fourth to keep the Warriors at bay.
“Two good teams played, and somebody’s got to lose it,” Maddox said.
Ron Johnston can be reached at email@example.com