Buckeyes Avoid Tournament Déjá Vu

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Nelsonville-York came out of the gate strong and finished off the game strong as well, as the Buckeyes defeated the Crooksville Ceramics 57-49 at Jackson High School.

The Buckeyes dominated a majority of the game, as they shot 47 percent from the field. Despite their domination, the Buckeyes still had to fight tooth and nail to hold off Crooksville.

N-Y started off the game on a 14-2 run and built their lead up to 19 midway through the second. However, N-Y finished the half giving up a 12-2 run, trimming their lead to seven. It seemed as if the Bucks were going to let Crooksville slip back into the game.

As soon as the second half started, the Ceramics, who had defeated Nelsonville-York in their two previous tournament runs, caused more doubt to start creeping in. The Ceramics, led by senior Jaylen Murphy, went on an 8-2 run and cut the deficit down to just one.

N-Y head coach Jay Kline rallied his troops, however, and used timeouts to kill any momentum the Ceramics would build in the second half.

“We had open shots we just couldn’t make them, and as soon as we started making shots we regained our composure. We didn’t need to freak out; we just needed to start executing again,” Kline said.

After those runs by Crooksville, N-Y took the momentum back and built their lead back up to eight and didn’t let the Ceramics come any closer than five points.

Nelsonville-York went 5 of 7 from the field in the fourth quarter and went 9 of 18 from the line, hitting clutch free throws to end the game and exorcise the demons the Ceramics have caused for them in recent seasons.

When asked about his mindset coming into tonight’s game, Buckeye senior Josh Fayette simply stated, “Revenge.”

Wade Lent led the Buckeye offensive with 15 points. Fayette finished off the night with nine points, six rebounds and five assists. Junior Colt Adams added 11 points, seven rebounds and three assists.

Meanwhile, for the Ceramics, Murphy ended the night with nine points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore Tanner German added 13 points of his own.

Despite Crooksville’s runs, N-Y never relinquished the lead in the whole game. On the Buckeyes’ 14-2 run in the first quarter, all 14 points came in the paint.

Nelsonville-York will now advance to the sectional finals of the Division III OHSAA tournament, where they will face the No. 4 seed Dawson-Bryant on Feb. 21.

However, before that tournament game Friday, N-Y will have a make-up game against conference rival Wellston on Wednesday, Feb. 19.