PIQUA — It’s been a four-year climb, but Fort Loramie’s boys basketball team has reached the top of the Piqua Division IV sectional.
The Redskins were rewarded on Sunday at the sectional’s tournament draw at Piqua High School for racking up a 19-2 regular season record. Fort Loramie was voted the No. 1 seed, and each of the next four seeds opted to go in the sectional’s other bracket instead.
With the way Fort Loramie has played, that’s understandable. Outside of Anna (who was voted No. 3 in the Dayton Div. III sectional), no other team has beaten the Redskins.
“We’re happy to have the No. 1 seed,” Fort Loramie coach Corey Britton said. “It makes all the hard work the kids have put in throughout the course of the season worth it. We’re happy with how things turned out, and hopefully we can right the ship here and play better and start playing our best basketball at the end of the year.”
The tournament draws for all Ohio teams were Sunday. Seeds are determined by votes from the head coaches in each sectional.
Fort Loramie has made the districts each of the last two years. In each season, the Redskins beat Russia in a sectional final after having lost to the Raiders twice in regular season action.
Another Fort Loramie vs. Russia sectional final isn’t going to happen this year. The Raiders (12-6) were voted the No. 2 seed and opted to go in the sectional’s top bracket after Fort Loramie went into the bottom bracket.
No. 3 seed Triad, No. 4 Jackson Center (11-9) and No. 5 Fairlawn (10-10) also went into the top bracket with Russia.
“That’s where I figured we would be, at two,” Russia coach Spencer Cordonnier said. “Fort Loramie was the No. 1 seed no doubt. I’m not sure I saw the rest falling the way it did, but hey, when it gets to be tournament time, you either play well or you go home.
“It really doesn’t matter who you play. You either play well or you go home.”
Fort Loramie hasn’t won more than 13 regular season games in each of the last three years. This season’s senior-laden team has plenty of postseason success, though. Loramie advanced to a district final in 2016 and won a district title last year.
The Redskins will start postseason play against No. 12 Mechanicsburg on Feb. 24. With a win, Fort Loramie will play No. 13 Bradford in a second-round game. A second-round win would put the Redskins in a sectional final against either No. 6 Ansonia, No. 8 Riverside (8-12) or No. 10 Botkins (7-14) on March 3.
“We’ve got some things we need to work on, so we’ll see if we can fix it and play our best basketball at the end of the year,” Britton said.
Riverside and Botkins will play in a first-round game on Feb. 24. The winner will face Ansonia on Feb. 28.
Russia will play the winner of No. 9 Lehman Catholic (7-12) vs. No 11 Covington in a second-round game on Feb. 27. Lehman and Covington will play on Feb. 23.
Jackson Center will face Mississinawa Valley and Fairlawn will play Triad on Feb. 23. The winners of those two games will face each other in a second-round game, and that winner will face Russia, Lehman or Covington in a sectional final.
The Raiders had a four-game losing streak snapped on Saturday against Delphos Jefferson, and Cordonnier said the loss highlights areas that need improvement.
“We’ve got some things we’ve got to shore up,” Cordonnier said. “We’ve been blowing some leads of late and really have got to concentrate on handling pressure situations better than we have been.”
“… I like our draw. We’re going to have to beat two good opponents, and we’ll see how it goes.”
All games in the sectional will be played at Piqua’s Garbry Gymnasium.
Sidney coach John Willoughby was happy with his team’s draw as well.
The Yellow Jackets were voted the No. 8 seed in the Dayton Div. I sectional and opted to go in a bracket with No. 2 seed Springfield (16-3). The No. 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 seeds all went in different brackets and avoided the Wildcats, which have been ranked in the top 10 in Div. I in every Associated Press state poll this year.
“That kind of opened for us, where all those teams went in the (same) bracket and we were thinking about where everyone below us would go,” Willoughby said.
Sidney, which is the highest-ranked seed in the bottom half of the bracket, would need to win two games before a potential sectional final matchup with Springfield.
“You’ve still got to play,” Willoughby said. “I think we couldn’t have asked for much more, with all the good teams there are. I think we’re in a good spot (to succeed).”
Sidney (14-6) will open tournament play against No. 17 Troy (8-12) on Feb. 23 at Trotwood-Madison High School. The Yellow Jackets beat Troy twice in Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division play.
“You always want to be familiar with the teams you’re playing and are a little bit more comfortable that way,” Willoughby said. “That playing a team three times is really not that big a deal.”
A third win over the Trojans would put Sidney in a second-round game against the winner of No. 11 Franklin and No. 12 Beavercreek. That second round matchup will be on Feb. 27 at Centerville.
Versailles was voted the No. 1 seed in the Dayton D-III sectional, Anna was voted No. 3 and Houston was voted No. 22.
The Rockets (17-4) will open tournament play against No. 19 Dixie on Feb. 24 at Vandalia-Butler’s Student Activities Center. With a win, Anna will face No. 20 Northeastern on Feb. 28. If the Rockets beat Northeastern, they’ll face either No. 8 Brookville, No. 10 National Trail or No. 12 Carlisle in a sectional final on March 3.
Versailles (16-3) will face Houston (3-16) in a first-round game on Feb. 23 at Northmont’s Thunderdome. The winner will face No. 23 Milton-Union on Feb. 27, and that winner will play either No. 9 West Liberty-Salem, No. 11 Greeneview or No. 16 Arcanum in a sectional final on March 3.
Wapakoneta Div. IV district
Minster was voted the No. 4 seed in the Wapakoneta Div. IV district, while New Bremen is No. 6 and New Knoxville is No. 8.
New Knoxville (6-11) will face No. 11 Allen East in a first-round game on Feb. 27 at Coldwater, and the winner will face Minster (10-6) on March 2. That winner will likely face No. 2 St. Henry (15-3) in a district semifinal on March 6.
New Bremen (7-11) will open tournament play against No. 5 Lima Perry on Feb. 27 at Lima Bath.