Boys basketball: Two long runs end for Jackson Center


KETTERING — Two long runs came to an end for Jackson Center on Friday at Trent Arena.

The Tigers’ 26-game winning streak was snapped with a 27-25 loss to Shelby County Athletic League rival Russia in a regional final. It was the first loss for Jackson Center (26-2) since the squad lost 42-41 to Russia in a season opener.

It was the final game for longtime coach Scott Elchert, who announced earlier this year he would retire at the end of the season.

Elchert coached at Jackson Center from 1989 to 1999 before leaving to coach his alma mater Upper Sandusky. He returned to Jackson Center in 2004 and served as an assistant coach for one season before taking over again as head coach.

“I consider myself an extremely blessed and grateful man for having the opportunity to coach such great players, work with such unbelievable assistant coaches, administration and parents,” Elchert told the Dayton Daily News. “This loss really stings for a lot of reasons, mainly because I feel for my group of seniors that had a dream, and they missed it just by one step.”

Jackson Center will lose six seniors to graduation: Jace Mullenhour, Nolan Fark, Camdyn Reese, Bryson Roberts, Kellen Reichert and Elchert’s son Grant.

Mullenhour, who was named first team all-Southwest district in Div. IV, led the squad with eight points on Friday. Fark scored six points and had four rebounds. Reese scored four points and had five rebounds and two assists.

Jackson Center scored the first four points, but Russia scored 15 straight points to take control. The Tigers trailed 20-10 at halftime and 26-18 at the end of the third quarter.

Mullenhour hit a 3-pointer 10 seconds into the fourth to cut the gap to five points. The squad later pulled within one before a free throw pushed the gap back to two points.

A last-second 3 by Fark was missed, and Russia grabbed the rebound to secure the win.

Rebounds were key for the Raiders. Jackson Center managed three offensive rebounds in the second half; the Raiders had a 32-26 overall rebounding edge, including a 17-12 edge in the second half.

Russia shot 10 for 32 (31.3 percent) from the floor and 6 for 14 (42.9 percent) from the free-throw line. The Tigers shot 8 for 37 (21.6 percent) from the floor and 8 for 10 from the free-throw line.

Friday’s game was the fifth regional final appearance since 2012 for Jackson Center. The Tigers earned state berths in 2012 and 2016; they finished as D-IV runner-ups in 2012.

Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.

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