By Rob Kiser
It was the perfect start Mississinawa Valley coach Tim Barga was looking for — and the opposite of what Houston coach John Willougby wanted to see.
As a result, the Blackhawks led from the start and pulled away late for a 54-36 win in the opening round of the Piqua D-IV sectional tournament.
Mississinawa Valley, 16-7, advances to play Fort Loramie at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, while Houston closes the season at 8-15.
The Blackhawks came out and hit seven of their first 11 shots in the opening quarter to open a 15-8 lead.
“We felt like if we could get to the end of the quarter with a couple point lead and no one in foul trouble, we were in good shape,” Barga said. “Trent (Perkins) hit a couple shots and he doesn’t normally score that much. Anytime we can get points from Trent or Andrew Johns, that is big.”
Colyn Nelson had six points in the opening quarter and Perkins added five.
At the same, Houston missed six of its first seven shots and could never get out of that hole.
“I thought we could guard them a lot better than we did,” Willoughby said. “That was pretty disappointing.”
Baskets by Zach Freytag and Cameron Arnold had Houston within 18-12 in the second quarter — before Mississinawa Valley went on an 11-0 run capped by an Ethan Bowman three and a putback by Devan Rinderle.
It took a three at the buzzer to get Houston back within 29-15 at the break.
It was more of the same in the second half
“There were a number of loose balls where they ended up getting layups,” Willoughby said. “Those things just kill you when you are trying to get something done.”
The Blackhawks led 36-27 after three quarters before outpointing the Wildcats 18-9 in the final eight minutes.
“We had a little trouble with that (playing with the lead) early in the season,” Barga said. “The kids have learned when to push the ball in that situation and when to pull it out.”
Freytag led Houston with 14 points and five rebounds, while Domyneik Phipps added 10 points and five rebounds.
“It seemed like we had a few kids who were a little hyped up and just trying to do too much at times,” Willoughby said.
Rinderle had 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Blackhawks, while Nelson had 12 points. Dalton Geesy pulled down six rebounds and Bohman had eight points and five rebounds.
“Give them (Mississinawa Valley) credit,” Willoughby said. “They have six solid guys, who play really well together. That is good to see on their part.”
Houston was 15 of 47 from the floor and four of six from the line, while Mississinawa Valley was 23 of 39 from the floor and five if six from the line.
The Blackhawks owned the boards 30-15 and had 19 turnovers to Houston’s 13.
“I thought if we had got to nine wins, it would have been an exceptional season,” Willoughby said. “But, we never got there. I felt like we still had a lot more in us.”
Domyneik Phipps 5-0-10, Zack McKee 0-0-0, Cameron Arnold 2-0-5, Zach Jolly 1-0-2, Zach Freytag 5-4-14, Caleb Sluss 1-0-3, Isaiah Beaver 0-0-0, Mark Schaffer 0-0-0, Noah Shoemaker 1-0-2, Howie Ludwig 0-0-0. Totals: 15-4-36.
Mississinawa Valley (54)
Ethan Bowman 3-1-8, Trent Perkins 2-0-5, Colyn Nelson 6-0-12, Devan Rinderle 8-2-19, Dalton Geesy 3-0-6, Andrew Johns 1-2-4, DJ Howell 0-0-0, Brandon Beanblossom 0-0-0, JJ Howard 0-0-0, Tucker Didier 0-0-0, Mathew Slob 0-0-0, Kyler Guillozet 0-0-0, Trent Collins 0-0-0. Totals: 23-5-54.
3-point field goals — Houston: Arnold, Sluss. Mississinawa: Bowman, Perkins, Rinderle.
Score By Quarters
Houston 8 15 27 36
Missisisnawa 15 29 36 54
Records: Houston 8-15, Mississinawa Valley 16-7.