By Josh Brown
Miami Valley Today
MIAMI COUNTY — The girls basketball tournament draw is less than 20 days away now, with the boys draw one week after that.
Yet most of the league races in the area are still up for grabs.
As the basketball seasons reach or pass their respective midway points, here’s a look at how those league and conference races are shaping up — and where Miami County’s teams stand in those races:
The new Miami Valley League has been a battle from the start — and the weekend’s games only made it more of one.
Entering Tuesday’s play, Tippecanoe led the MVL’s Miami Division with a 6-2 record, one game ahead of 5-3 Troy, with the Red Devils 7-5 and Trojans 7-4 overall.
The Devil’s lead had grown to two games after Troy’s loss to MVL Valley Division and overall league leader Stebbins (10-1, 8-1 MVL Valley) on Jan. 7, but on Friday the Devils lost by two on a last-second 3-pointer to Butler — last year’s Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division champion entering play in the new league. With that win, the Aviators closed to within two games of the division lead at 5-4 and 5-5 overall.
Piqua, meanwhile, sits in fourth place at 5-7 overall and 3-6 in the MVL Miami. The Indians won four straight, including road MVL wins at Greenville at Fairborn, but the rival Trojans snapped that streak with a 60-47 victory on Friday.
The Metro Buckeye Conference race got a lot more complicated after Friday.
Troy Christian (11-3, 6-1 MBC) lost to Emmanuel Christian 49-39, falling into a three-way tie with Dayton Christian (8-3, 6-1 MBC) and Emmanuel Christian (9-2, 6-1 MBC) entering Tuesday night’s play. The Eagles will host Dayton Christian on Jan. 21 before traveling to Emmanuel Christian for the season finale on Feb. 14 — with it being a good possibility that that game will be for a share of the conference title.
A clear Cross County Conference leader emerged only last week.
Miami East and National Trail entered their Jan. 7 matchup tied atop the CCC standings, the only two teams remaining without a loss in league play. In the end, the Blazer put away a 54-44 win to take sole possession of the league lead and are still 11-2 overall and 6-0 in the CCC entering Tuesday’s play. The Vikings, meanwhile, are 8-4 overall and 4-1 in the CCC.
Bethel (5-8, 4-2 CCC), which entered Tuesday tied for third, will get its shot at National Trail Friday at home. Covington is 5-7 overall and 4-3 in the CCC, Newton is 3-8 and 2-3 in league play and Bradford is 2-10 and 0-6 in the CCC.
The Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division race is still very much up in the air, with six of the seven teams — including Milton-Union within three games or less of the division lead.
Milton-Union currently sits at 8-2 overall and 3-2 in SWBL Buckeye play, one game behind division leader Waynesville (10-2, 4-1 SWBL Buckeye). Madison and Preble Shawnee are both a half-game behind the Spartans at 4-2, and Carlisle and Northridge sit at 3-4 behind the Bulldogs entering Tuesday’s play.
Milton-Union still has both of its games against Waynesville coming up, on the road on Jan. 21 and at home on Feb. 7.
Tippecanoe won the GWOC American North Division title all three seasons it was a member of the league. And the Red Devils don’t seem to be slowing down in the new MVL.
The Devils are currently 10-4 overall and 10-0 in the MVL Miami Division, leading Butler (10-3, 9-1 MVL Miami) by one game after a hard-fought 34-29 head-to-head victory on Jan. 8.
Piqua, meanwhile, sits in third place at 9-4 overall and 6-4 in the MVL Miami. The Indians had their second shot at the Aviators on Saturday, falling by two, 55-53 in double overtime — Butler’s fourth win this season by two points or less. And Troy (6-7, 5-5 MVL Miami) is right behind in fourth place.
After tying with Legacy Christian two years ago for the Metro Buckeye Conference title and finishing second to the Knights last year, undefeated Troy Christian (13-0, 7-0 MBC) currently holds the conference lead.
The Eagles have a one-game lead over rival Legacy Christian (8-3, 7-1 MBC) after a narrow 34-33 victory over the Knights at home back on Dec. 19, 2019. The Eagles will travel to Legacy Christian on Jan. 30 for the big rematch, but they currently control their own destiny.
Tri-Village, Arcanum and Franklin Monroe are dominating the CCC on the girls side, with Miami County’s teams lagging behind.
Tri-Village (13-0, 8-0 CCC) and Arcanum (11-2, 7-0 CCC) hold the lead entering Tuesday’s play, with Franklin Monroe (12-1, 7-1 CCC) one game back. Arcanum will travel to Tri-Village in the season finale on Feb. 6.
Until then, though, the clear favorite is the state-ranked and defending champion, Tri-Village — and most of Miami County’s teams, three of which are sitting in a third-place tie, have already had their chance against Tri-Village. Miami East (7-7, 5-3 CCC), Bradford (10-3, 6-3 CCC) and Covington (7-7, 5-3 CCC) all recently had their shot at the Patriots, with the Vikings falling 57-44 on Saturday and the Buccaneers falling 67-32 on Thursday. Bradford lost to Tri-Village 76-34 early in the season on Nov. 26, 2019, and Bethel (8-7, 4-4 CCC) lost to the Patriots 76-31 on Jan. 2. Newton (4-10, 2-7 CCC) is the only Miami County team left to take on Tri-Village, hosting the Patriots on Jan. 14.
Milton-Union’s girls have struggled in SWBL Buckeye play this year, sitting at 5-7 overall and 2-5 in the division — four games behind division co-leaders Carlisle (12-1, 6-1 SWBL Buckeye) and Waynesville (9-5, 6-1 SWBL Buckeye).
The Bulldogs, who have already lost on the road to both of the division leaders, will host Carlisle Thursday and Waynesville on Jan. 25 with a chance to make up some ground — but they’ll need to fix a few other problems and get some help to get back into the race.
Contact Josh Brown at [email protected], or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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