Peebles returns to OU after three-year absence, with 68-50 sectional win over Whiteoak –
By Mark Carpenter –
It’s time to go back.
For the first time since 2015, the Peebles Indians will be making the trek to the Convocation Center at Ohio University for the Division IV District Basketball Tournament. By virtue of a 68-50 win over conference foe Whiteoak on Wednesday night at Northwest High School, the Indians will be back in the familiar confines of the “Convo”, looking to pick up another win and advance to the district finals.
In their win over Whiteoak in the sectional finals, the Indians showed exactly why they are a team to be reckoned with, using a total team effort on both sides of the ball and a huge 15-0 second quarter run to pull away and handle the Wildcats by the final 18-point margin.
“Winning the sectional was a goal of our players and coaches from the beginning of the season,” said Peebles head coach Josh Arey in his postgame radio interview. “The kids just did a tremendous job and our coaching staff is just amazing. I’m not going to lie, it feels good.”
“The one thing that goes with the long layoff that we’ve had is your shooting, so it takes some time to get that back and we wanted to attack the rim, and maybe took a few too many jump shots early. We had a lot energy, the kids were very focused and knew exactly what we needed to do on offense and defense.”
“What a season Whiteoak had and what a great job Coach Kibler did,” added Arey. Just look at the difference in their team from this year to last.”
The game was a tight one throughout the first quarter as the Cats from Highland County came out ready for battle. Peebles did take an early 6-1 lead on baskets by Blake Smalley, Blake Hawes, and Tanner Arey, but the Cats clawed back to within 8-7 on a Traeton Hamilton three-pointer. The Indians got a pair of buckets from Bostin Robinson and after a coast to coast trip by Weston Browning for a score, led 14-11 after the first period.
With the Wildcats tracking every move of Arey, it was time for some other Indians to step up and they did that big time in the second stanza. Led by Robinson and Browing, plus some very solid energy off the bench from Colten Ball, the Indians made their move. A basket by Whiteoak’s Stephen Ross made it 18-17 Peebles with 5:05 left in the first half, but the rest of the half was all Indians as they scored the game’s next 15 points over a four-minute span to break open what was a close contest. When the halftime break came around, Peebles had taken up a solid position in the driver’s seat with a 33-20 lead.
“Colten Ball was amazing tonight,” said Coach Arey. “Conner (Browning) and Wade (Shiveley) gave us great minutes and the two Blakes, Hawes and Smalley really battled on the boards for us. We have our two big scorers but we would be nowhere without these role players who really make us a team.”
As the third quarter began, buckets by Browning and Hawes extend the lead to 17 and the Peebles crowd began to sense that their\season was going to continue. The Wildcats cut the lead down to 43-30 on a basket by Trever Yeager, but the combo of Arey and Robinson had answers and at the end of three, the Indians had extended their advantage out to 50-34.
It was all over but the shouting in the final eight minutes as the Cats tried valiantly to mount a comeback, but the Indians would have none of that. A nice offensive rebound off a missed free throw and put back by Hawes made it 59-43 with 4:30 to play. An Arey three-point play followed by a Ball score made it 64-44 and as the clock wound down, Browning hit four out of six from the stripe to put the final touches on a win that sent an emotional Coach Arey and his troops back on the road to Athens after disappointing sectional defeats the past two seasons.
In the win, the Indians put three players in double figures, led by 21 points from Robinson, including a 7 of 8 performance from the foul line. Sophomore Weston Browning had a big night, handling the ball from the point guard position and tossing in 16 points, 10 of those coming from the line. Arey also hit double figures with 15, while Blake Hawes and Colten Ball made big contributions with 8 and 6 points respectively. Something that rarely occurs,the Indians won without making a single three-point goal in the game.
“Tanner and Bostin are just outstanding players and I think that Weston is the best point guard around.” Coach Arey said. “He runs everything and I can hardly ever take him out of a game.”
The Wildcats ended their season with a 13-11 record and were led in scoring by 14 points from Hamilton and 12 from Zach Rand.
Peebles improved to 17-5 with the victory and will now be in action on Sunday night, March 4 at 7:15 p.m. at the Convocation Center, where they will face Waterford, who earned their trip with an overtime win over Symmes Valley. The Indians will be back in the district tourney for the first time since 2015, when they won a district championship with wins over Waterford and Eastern Pike, before falling in the regional semis to Columbus Harvest Prep and finishing the season at 23-2.
“We are super excited to be going back to Athens to play basketball,” added Coach Arey. “I can’t even tell you how good it feels. I’m thrilled for our school and our community. We’ve put in a lot of work to get there and I’m really proud of our kids. Let’s go see how long we can play.”
11 9 14 16 –50
14 19 17 18 –68
Whiteoak (50): Yeager 3 1-2 7, Butler 0 2-2 2, Skinner 1 2-5 4, Hamilton 5 3-5 14, Crowe 0 1-2 1, Ross 2 1-4 5, Carr 1 0-0 2, Rand 4 4-8 12, Hughes 1 1-1 3, Team 17 15-29 50.
Peebles (68): Arey 7 1-1 15, Ball 3 0-0 6, Robinson 7 7-8 21, Hawes 4 0-0 8, Smalley 1 0-0 2, W. Browning 3 10-16 16, Team 25 18-25 68.
Whiteoak (1): Hamilton 1