VANDALIA — Botkins junior guard Jameson Meyer had a Baker Mayfield moment on Tuesday which led to a win about as rare as a Cleveland Browns postseason victory.
The Trojans won their first regional tournament game since 1994 by beating Newark Catholic 75-50 in a Division IV regional semifinal at Vandalia-Butler’s Student Activity Center.
Meyer scored a career-high 21 points by hitting seven 3-pointers, six of which came in the first half.
“I was just really feeling it. Woke up feeling dangerous, like Baker said,” Meyer said. “That’s my motto. Everyone asked me on the bus how I was feeling, if I was feeling dangerous. I just had to say yes and prove them right.”
Meyer is the squad’s first player off the bench and hasn’t been relied on for scoring. But he helped the team stay even early by matching the hot shooting of Newark Catholic’s Cole Canter.
Canter led the Green Wave with 31 points, 22 of which came in the first half. No one else on the team managed to score more than five, and Botkins was able to pull out quick by halftime.
Meyer hit a 3 just before the halftime buzzer to push the lead to 42-27.
“Scouting Newark, we knew they were probably going to come out into a 3-2 (zone),” Botkins coach Sean Powell said. “Jameson has been preparing for that moment all his life. He’s a heck of a shooter. (Canter) is probably the best shooter I’ve seen other than Jameson.
“Getting (Meyer) in the game early was key. Once he got his first one to go, we all knew on our sideline that if he got good looks, they were going to drop.”
It was the program’s first regional appearance since 2001.The Trojans (24-3) advance to face Cedarville in a regional final on Friday in Vandalia. A victory would earn them their first state berth since 1994.
“It’s great,” Meyer said. “None of us have been here before. None of us have been alive to see someone get here before. So it feels good to be a part of history, just get us back here and back in the winning tradition.”
Cedarville (24-1) rallied to beat Tri-Village 67-56 in Wednesday’s second semifinal in Vandalia. They outscored the Patriots 24-13 in the fourth quarter to earn the win, similarly to how they rallied late to beat Jackson Center 50-48 in a district final on Saturday.
Canter scored 12 points in the first, but Meyer made three 3’s and senior guard Zane Paul made two to keep the Trojans in it with a 17-15 deficit.
Botkins started the second with a 12-5 run to take a five-point lead, then quickly pulled away in the final minutes of the first half.
Jacob Pleiman made a breakaway dunk and made another basket after a steal in the final two minutes before Meyer capped the quarter and a 15-5 run with a 3.
“We changed our defense to a full-court press (after the first quarter), and they adjusted on their end by taking (Canter) off point guard, probably to save his legs,” Powell said. “That put the ball in another player’s hands, and we just pressured him and tried to make him make a bad decision. We got a run out of it.”
Botkins outscored the Green Wave 17-15 in the third quarter and finished with a 16-8 scoring edge in the fourth.
Senior guard Jayden Priddy-Powell, who is Powell’s son, led the Trojans with 26 points, 10 of which came on foul shots in the second half. Pleiman finished with 16 points.
Powell, who is in his third year, said a state berth would be a great payoff for the squad, which has been building to this point.
“Today I took a minute to reflect on day one when I got here and looked through some past videos of the kids in the weight room, giving it their all,” Powell said. “Our weight room was like 100 degrees in June, July that summer. We had total involvement. We didn’t win this game today, we won this game when they committed to the program three years ago.”
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.