OLD WASHINGTON - Monroe Central all but ran Buckeye Trail off the court Saturday night in a game in Woodsfield, posting a 78-56 victory.
The two PVC rivals clashed again on Tuesday night with a lot more on the line as the sixth annual Wheeling Hospital OVAC Boys Basketball Championship got under way.
The difference was only 21 this time, but the roles were reversed as the Warriors used a strong second half and pulled away from the Seminoles to march on to Saturday afternoon's Class 3A title game at Ohio University Eastern.
So, what was the difference in just 72 hours?
Quite simply, it was foul trouble or lack thereof.
During the meeting a few days ago, Warriors' big man Josh Toland was saddled with three quick fouls, which never allowed him to get into the flow of the game.
He was whistled for just one personal in this meeting and just happened to finish with 23 points and 16 rebounds. Plus, he altered several shots on the defensive end.
"He hurt us up here the first time we played Trail," said Monroe head coach Scooter Tolzda. "He hurt us again, especially on the defensive end because we were able to attack when he wasn't in there."
While Toland was certainly the difference maker, he was by no means alone. The gritty Warriors' backcourt of C.J. Beaver and Zach Roe played well, too. They controlled the tempo and were able to penetrate, which created room for Toland to work on the block.
Plus, they scored well. Roe chipped in with 22 and Beaver went for 12.
"Tonight's game was kind of similar to the first time we played Monroe here," said Trail head coach Rod Gray. "We shot it well tonight, which we're capable of when we're patient. I thought we executed well from the outset. It feels good to be moving onto Saturday."
The Warriors, who are now 13-6, will meet Magnolia, which easily dispatched River to the consolation round in the other Class 3A semifinal.
"Trail looked like the team that has a win against Cambridge this season," Tolzda said. "If they shoot and play like they did tonight, with their quickness, I think they'll have a chance against Magnolia."
Trail owned a 17-13 lead after one, but the Seminoles got hot in the second. They actually started the third on a 17-7 spurt to build a 30-24 lead.
Then it became the Toland and Roe show. The duo scored 17 in the second and a late 13-4 run allowed the Warriors to maintain their four-point cushion at the break.
"We've got pretty decent quickness, but we couldn't contain them on the bounce tonight," Tolzda said. "They were just flying by us. We tried to change defenses a little bit, but they just kept going by us."
The lead was still four a few minutes in the fourth quarter before Beaver dialed in a triple, Toland converted a conventional 3-point play and eventually the lead had swelled to 14, 54-40.
Monroe only got as close as 11 the rest of the way.
"I know the score looks ugly, but this was a battle for the most part," Tolzda said. "Our kids played hard as they have all season and we've got a tough road to hoe coming up."
Cameron Jorris led the Seminoles with 15 points. Korey Lafferre added 14 points and eight rebounds.
The Seminoles will trek to River on Friday for the consolation game in Class 3A.
Monroe Central managed a split, however, since its reserve squad posted a 61-50 victory in the prelim.
MONROE CENTRAL (59) - C. Jorris 5, 3-3 15; Antill 5, 0-0 10; Lafferre 5, 4-5 14; Brown 2, 0-0 4; Guiler 0, 0-0 0; Kuhn 3, 0-1 6; Z. Jorris 2, 0-0 6; Burkhart 0, 0-0 0; Duffy 1, 0-0 2; Hill 0, 0-0 0; Logston 0, 0-0 0; Schuerman 0, 0-0 0; Yontz 0, 0-0 0; Alleman 1, 0-0 2; Totals: 24, 7-9 59. BUCKEYE TRAIL (80) - Roe 7, 7-8 22; Toland 10, 3-3 23; Beaver 5, 0-2 12; T. Starr 3, 3-4 11; Gray 3, 1-2 7; Evans 1, 0-0 2; Doudna 0, 0-0 0; Lashley 0, 0-0 0; Douglas 0, 1-2 1; Warden 0, 0-0 0; Cutlip 0, 0-0 0; Totals: 29, 12-18 80.
Three-Point Goals: MC - C. Jorris (2), Z. Jorris (2). BT - Roe, Beaver (3), Starr (2).
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