SCORES plans big weekend of key D-IV basketball contests

By Jack Kramer - For the Sidney Daily News

As fast approaches its 1.500th webcast since inception in 2007, the online service is also looking forward to the start of its hoops tourney coverage which kicks off at Sidney High School on Thursday, Feb. 20. The girls tourney draw took place last Sunday.

In two weeks, SCORES plans to webcast Houston or Lehman Catholic versus Botkins in a D-IV girls sectional semifinal tilt. Sectional finals are streamed online the following Monday, Feb. 24 from Sidney. Fort Loramie, by far and away Ohio’s number one D-IV girls club, and a strong Mechanicsburg Indians team are the top two programs at the SHS sectional.

“Our regular season coverage of three to five games per week suddenly expands to seven to 10 tourney games per week,” said Jack Kramer of “We’re pleased to be a small part of high school tournament fever by providing exciting coverage of our region’s schools.”

The upper Miami Valley is dominated by Division IV boys and girls programs whose audiences help boost the SCORES listenership counts this time of year. The ScoresBroadcast team will be courtside at SHS and Piqua High School for key games at the girls and boys sectionals.

In the meantime, SCORES — the Shelby County Online Radio Entertainment System — offers a second straight big weekend of regular season coverage that once again includes a number one, state-ranked boys team on Saturday night.

Unbeaten Columbus Grove, a D-IV powerhouse and rated by Associated Press as Ohio’s best in this division, plays at Jackson Center. The webcast is set for Saturday at 7:10 p.m. SCORES featured Anna and the then-No. 1, D-III Versailles Tigers last Saturday. The Rockets pulled away to win 51-37.

On Friday, the Rockets attempt to hold on to their slim one game lead in the Shelby County Athletic League at home against Fort Loramie. Webcast time is also 7:10.

The Redskins inflicted the only league loss on Anna back on Dec. 27, 54-41. The Rockets, D-VI state champs in football, have since shed their shoulder pads and polished up their play on the hardwood, winning 12 of the last 13.

“I’m thinking more points this time than the 95 scored between the two teams in the first meeting,” said Chuck McBee of SCORES, reflecting on the green-and-white’s 93-point outburst on Tuesday at Fairlawn High School (FHS). “Against the Jets, Anna had a couple 90-second stretches when they dropped in 10 or 11 straight to turn the basketball game into a track meet.”

Anna has been able to play the game a few different ways lately, McBee added. “With emphasis on physical and real tenacious defense, Anna won comfortably with only 50-plus points against both Versailles and Jackson Center.”

“On Tuesday, the Jets were fast, but the Rockets soared and played even faster,” he stated.

Against Anna, junior Ashton Piper recorded his 1,000th point for FHS.

Jackson Center has its hands full with Grove at the Habitat of the Cat on Saturday. The Bulldogs feature four, good, long-range shooters, including 6-3 Tayt Birnisser whose accuracy behind the arc measures 41 percent. Birnisser and 6-4 Blake Reynolds both hit for 16 points per game.

Columbus Grove averages nearly 70 points, commits only ten turnovers per game, and records a dozen steals each contest. Jackson Center’s patient attack and tight ball-hawking could slow down the visitors.

Aidan Reichert averages just under 20 points per game to pace the Tigers, who play Botkins on the road tonight in another important SCAL contest.

Marion Local, the first place girls team in the Midwest Athletic Conference, battles Fort Loramie on Tuesday. SCORES streams this game online at 7:10. Next Thursday’s coverage also features the Redskins who will shoot for a perfect SCAL mark of 12-0.

By Jack Kramer

For the Sidney Daily News