Boys basketball: Botkins pulls away from Russia in 2nd half of district semifinal


Botkins will face Ripley-Union Lewis-Hunington in district final on Tuesday

By Bryant Billing - [email protected]



Russia’s Hayden Quinter and Botkins’ Carter Pleiman reach for a rebound during a Division IV district semifinal on Saturday at Piqua’s Garbry Gymnasium. Pleiman scored seven points in the Trojans’ 60-36 win.

Russia’s Hayden Quinter and Botkins’ Carter Pleiman reach for a rebound during a Division IV district semifinal on Saturday at Piqua’s Garbry Gymnasium. Pleiman scored seven points in the Trojans’ 60-36 win.


Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Botkins' Jaydon Wendel looks to drive past Russia's Brayden Monnin at Piqua on Saturday.


Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Botkins Jordan Herzog works to get past Russia's Hayden Quinter at Piqua on Saturday.


Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Botkins Jordan Herzog, left, and Russia's Hayden Quinter reach for a rebound at Piqua on Saturday.


Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Botkins' Jacob Pleiman dunks while playing Russia at Piqua on Saturday.


Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Russia's Braylon Cordonnier shoots as Botkins' Jordan Herzog defends at Piqua on Saturday.


Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Russia's Brayden Monnin shoots over Botkins' Jaydon Wendel at Piqua on Saturday.


Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Botkins' Jameson Meyer stops a ball from going out of bounds while playing Russia at Piqua on Saturday.


Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Russia’s Zane Shappie looks to get past Botkins’ Jacob Pleiman during a Division IV district semifinal on Saturday at Piqua’s Garbry Gymnasium. Pleiman led the Trojans with 18 points.


Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

PIQUA — Botkins senior forward Jacob Pleiman said he’s gotten a different a different feeling all season compared to the squad’s Division IV state championship run last year.

“Everyone wants to see the team on top go back down,” Pleiman said. “No one wants to see a repeat.”

If recent games are an indication, the squad looks plenty capable of disappointing those who do not want a repeat.

The Trojans completed an easy postseason run through Piqua’s Garbry Gymnasium by defeating Shelby County Athletic League rival Russia 60-36 in a Div. IV district semifinal on Saturday.

Botkins (23-2), which was tied for No. 1 in D-IV in the final Associated Press state poll, has won five consecutive games since losing 56-54 at Lima Shawnee on Feb. 5. The win streak started six days later with a 62-46 win over Russia.

The Raiders kept close early in the squads’ third matchup of the year on Saturday, including when they hit a 3 to open the third quarter to pull within six points.

But Botkins scored the next 10 points and ran away from there.

“It’s a tough to beat any team three times,” Pleiman said. “… It’s tough to get out of here. You’ve got to really fight, really scrap for everything. Russia’s a good team, and they came to play tonight.”

The Raiders couldn’t do much in the post.

Pleiman, who is 6-foot-6, was aided by his younger brother Carter (6-5), Elijah Stewart (6-4) and Jordan Herzog (6-3) in dominating the boards.

The Raiders couldn’t find any offense on drives and mostly shot 3s. They hit seven 3s, but were limited to four 2-pointers.

“Their size definitely hurt us,” Russia coach Dave Borchers said. “And they’re not just size. They’re all athletic. That definitely caused some trouble for us.

“We’ve definitely shot better than we did tonight. Some of that credit goes to them. They play outstanding defense, they close out well, and they’re tough to shot over top of.

“But it’s one of those days where we didn’t have the best time offensively, and it got out of hand when we tried to pressure them, and they handled our pressure and got some easy shots.”

Jacob Pleiman scored a game-high 18 points, including two thunderous dunks in the second quarter after he reentered following a long span on the bench due to foul trouble.

Jameson Meyer made four 3s and finished with 16 points, and Stewart finished with 11 points, nine of which came in the fourth quarter.

Two of Meyer’s 3s came during a 12-0 run in the first quarter and helped the squad rally from a 6-4 deficit and take a 16-6 lead. Pleiman picked up two quick fouls and was on the bench for most of the first quarter.

“We have a balanced attack, and our guys all came to play tonight,” Botkins coach Phil Groves said. “… I can’t talk enough about how great it is to have this balanced attack. Everybody contributes. Jameson, once again, when we needed him to step up for us, he had a nice first half.”

Groves also gave credit to Carter Pleiman, who is the squad’s main ball-handler and rebounder. Groves estimated Pleiman had between 10-15 rebounds on Saturday, in addition to a couple of blocked shots and several assists.

“Some of the things he does for us, you can’t put in the stat book,” Groves said. “He was ‘Mr. Consistent’ as usual. …He’s 6-5, and he can handle the basketball, and that vision being that tall really helps our floor plan.”

The Trojans will face Ripley-Union Lewis-Huntington (17-7) in a district final on Tuesday night at University of Dayton Arena.

The Blue Jays finished second in the Southern Hills Athletic Conference small-school division. They’re averaging 60 points per game and are allowing an average of 53 points per game. Five players average between seven and 13 points per game; senior forward Gabe Fyffe averages 13 points and 11.6 rebounds per game.

“We’ve scouted them in person three times and have a lot of film on them,” Groves said. “They have a balanced attack.

“We’re excited. The kids have put in a lot of time over their high school careers, and this summer especially. This is what they deserve. They’ve worked for it, and I’m really proud of the opportunity they’ve presented themselves.”

Braylon Cordonnier led Russia with 12 points while Brayden Monnin added nine.

“I loved the effort on our kids’ part,” Borchers said. “I thought we had a good game plan. A lot of times, it comes down to, if you have a bad shooting night, 95 percent of people might …think you didn’t play well.

“It can look like that. But our kids still ran our plays well. They executed a lot of things well. We just didn’t knock down shots. But it wasn’t lack of effort. I’m still proud of the kids. I thought they played well, even though it was lopsided.”

The Raiders finish 15-10 overall. They’ll return their five starters and almost every key bench player next season.

Forwards Jordan Meyer and Sam York and guard Patrick Bohman are the lone three players Russia will lose to graduation.

“Those three seniors probably don’t get the recognition they deserve,” Borchers said. “They bust their butts in practice. They’re leaders for our team. I can’t say enough about our seniors. They might not have got as much playing time as all the young guys that are coming back, but they were a part of what we did this year.

“What they did might not show up in the stat line, and a lot of people in the crowd might not realize it, but kudos to them. They were a big reason why we had a pretty nice season.”

Russia’s Hayden Quinter and Botkins’ Carter Pleiman reach for a rebound during a Division IV district semifinal on Saturday at Piqua’s Garbry Gymnasium. Pleiman scored seven points in the Trojans’ 60-36 win.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/02/web1_DSC_1946.jpgRussia’s Hayden Quinter and Botkins’ Carter Pleiman reach for a rebound during a Division IV district semifinal on Saturday at Piqua’s Garbry Gymnasium. Pleiman scored seven points in the Trojans’ 60-36 win. Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Botkins’ Jaydon Wendel looks to drive past Russia’s Brayden Monnin at Piqua on Saturday.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/02/web1_DSC_1693.jpgBotkins’ Jaydon Wendel looks to drive past Russia’s Brayden Monnin at Piqua on Saturday.Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Botkins Jordan Herzog works to get past Russia’s Hayden Quinter at Piqua on Saturday.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/02/web1_DSC_1704.jpgBotkins Jordan Herzog works to get past Russia’s Hayden Quinter at Piqua on Saturday.Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Botkins Jordan Herzog, left, and Russia’s Hayden Quinter reach for a rebound at Piqua on Saturday.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/02/web1_DSC_1762.jpgBotkins Jordan Herzog, left, and Russia’s Hayden Quinter reach for a rebound at Piqua on Saturday.Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Botkins’ Jacob Pleiman dunks while playing Russia at Piqua on Saturday.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/02/web1_DSC_1811.jpgBotkins’ Jacob Pleiman dunks while playing Russia at Piqua on Saturday.Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Russia’s Braylon Cordonnier shoots as Botkins’ Jordan Herzog defends at Piqua on Saturday.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/02/web1_DSC_1875.jpgRussia’s Braylon Cordonnier shoots as Botkins’ Jordan Herzog defends at Piqua on Saturday.Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Russia’s Brayden Monnin shoots over Botkins’ Jaydon Wendel at Piqua on Saturday.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/02/web1_DSC_1913.jpgRussia’s Brayden Monnin shoots over Botkins’ Jaydon Wendel at Piqua on Saturday.Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Botkins’ Jameson Meyer stops a ball from going out of bounds while playing Russia at Piqua on Saturday.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/02/web1_DSC_1956.jpgBotkins’ Jameson Meyer stops a ball from going out of bounds while playing Russia at Piqua on Saturday.Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Russia’s Zane Shappie looks to get past Botkins’ Jacob Pleiman during a Division IV district semifinal on Saturday at Piqua’s Garbry Gymnasium. Pleiman led the Trojans with 18 points.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/02/web1_DSC_1888.jpgRussia’s Zane Shappie looks to get past Botkins’ Jacob Pleiman during a Division IV district semifinal on Saturday at Piqua’s Garbry Gymnasium. Pleiman led the Trojans with 18 points. Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News
Botkins will face Ripley-Union Lewis-Hunington in district final on Tuesday

By Bryant Billing

[email protected]

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

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