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Blake Guffey (left), 40, and Brayden Weber, 3, of Trimble wrestle the ball away from Glenwood in the final minutes of the Boys Division IV District Finals at Ohio University’s Convocation Center on Thursday, March 7, 2019. Glenwood defeated Trimble 64-53. (HANNAH SCHROEDER/ WOUB)

Tomcats’ Magic Runs Out in District Final

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At the halfway point of the third, Trimble had played even with the top-seeded New Boston-Glenwood Tigers. Like much of the season, it wasn’t always pretty, but it was effective.

Then, the magic ran out.

The Tigers outscored the Tomcats 28-17 over the final 11:54, emerging as District champions, defeating Trimble 64-53 on Thursday night in the Convocation Center.

“It takes a lot of work to get here. We’ll get back to work in June,” Tomcats head coach Howie Caldwell said. “We don’t want a silver medal anymore, we want a gold medal.”

In the early going, despite the height disadvantage, he was faced with, Trimble freshman Blake Guffey was dominating the game. The forward scored 11 consecutive points for the Tomcats in the first quarter, propelling his team to a 16-13 lead after one.

“There’s nothing that Blake does that surprises me,” Caldwell said. “He may be 15 years old, but he’s far beyond that out there. There’s not too many freshmen that I’ve ever coached that have played as well as he did. The future is very bright for him.”

Brayden Weber, 3, of Trimble dribbles through Glenwood’s defense towards their basket in the second half of the Boys Division IV District Finals at Ohio University’s Convocation Center on Thursday, March 7, 2019. Trimble High School lost to Glenwood High School 64-53. (HANNAH SCHROEDER/ WOUB)
Sawyer Koons (right), 24, of Trimble helps his teammate Cameron Kittle, 15, steal the ball from Glenwood before they can score, changing the direction of play during the Boys Division IV District Finals at Ohio University’s Convocation Center on Thursday, March 7, 2019. Glenwood defeated Trimble 64-53. (HANNAH SCHROEDER/ WOUB)
Sawyer Koons, 24, of Trimble looks around for his teammates to make a pass into Glenwood’s basket in the second half of the Boys Division IV District Finals at Ohio University’s Convocation Center on Thursday, March 7, 2019. Trimble High School lost to Glenwood High School 64-53. (HANNAH SCHROEDER/ WOUB)
Blake Guffey, 40, of Trimble guards Glenwood’s player as they bring the ball into play in the final minutes of Boys Division IV District Finals at Ohio University’s Convocation Center on Thursday, March 7, 2019. Glenwood defeated Trimble 64-53. (HANNAH SCHROEDER/ WOUB)

Guffey finished the game leading all scorers with 26 points. He also made his presence known on the boards despite being at least four inches shorter than the Glenwood starting frontcourt. 26 points also represent a new career-high for Guffey.

But not even Guffey’s best night could overcome the Tigers. The Glenwood defense made a point all night to double team Trimble’s leading scorer, Brayden Weber, whenever he had the ball. Weber was held to just 10 points.

On the other side, as the game went on, the Tigers began to use their big men more and more.

The 6-foot-6 Tyler Caldwell finished the game with 12 points while the 6-foot-4 Kyle Sexton led Glenwood with 20 points. Their size took its toll on the Tomcats, particularly late in the game.

“When you’re 6 feet tall, and you’re having to jump to your max ability all the time, you start to get tired,” Caldwell said. “I think we just wore out in the fourth quarter, plus we lost our composure.”

The 2018-2019 Tomcat season may have come to a close on Thursday night, but there’s more than enough reason for optimism that they will be right back in the Convo next year.

Every single one of the Tomcats biggest contributors is returning next season, including the All-Hero selection Weber and the All-Future selection Guffey. The TVC-Hocking title will most likely go through Glouster in 2020, but Caldwell knows these things don’t come easy.

“Nothing is a given. People don’t get to the top of the mountain by falling there, you get there with hard work,” Caldwell said. “I know these kids will do that.”