VANDALIA — The Miami East Vikings boys basketball team continued a “banner” season Friday night.
The Vikings, 23-2, earned the program’s first trip to the D-III district finals since 2016 with a 60-51 win over Indian Lake in a district semifinal at the Vandalia SAC.
They will play Mariemont, a 38-34 winner over Summit Country Day at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the University of Dayton Arena.
“The guys have seen the banners in the gym,” Miami East coach Justin Roeth said. “I think they are excited to have a banner up in the gym and how good they can make it.”
And while Indian Lake, who closes the season at 13-12, presented a challenge for the Vikings, there were two key stretches the paved the way for Miami East.
In the early going, Miami East was trailing 13-7, before scoring 11 straight points to go in front 18-13.
Wes Enis, who had 19 points in the first half and finished with 31, scored the first seven points.
Connor Apple scored off an Enis dish and East closed the quarter with a Devon Abshire basket on a Jacob Roeth assist.
“Wes (Enis) can dominate like that,” Roeth said. “And he was able to do that tonight.”
But, sparked by the hot shooting of Camdon Tuttle, the Lakers would battle back.
Tuttle, who had 16 points in the first half and finished with 27 points and seven 3-pointers — hit a three to put Indian Lake up 28-27 in the final minute of the half.
“I have to hand it to Indian Lake,” Roeth said. “They can shoot the ball. Especially, Camden Tuttle. I think they shot 37 percent on 3-pointers tonight.”
Jacob Roeth would answered with two 3-point plays before the break to put the Vikings up 33-28.
Then, Roeth would score East’s first five points of the second half to keep them in front 38-32 early in the third quarter.
“That was a big stretch for us,” Justin Roeth said. “That put us up by six and then we ended up winning by nine.”
After an Enis basket made it 40-32 and forced and Indian Lake timeout, Devon Abshire had a putback to put East up double digits midway through the third quarter and the Lakers never got closer than seven the rest of the way.
After having just one turnover in the opening half, the Lakers had 10 in the second half.
“Our goal is always to force the other team to take first timeout in the second half,” Roeth said. “I feel like that gives us momentum.”
Enis had eight rebounds to go with his 31 points and Roeth added 17 points and eight assists to the Vikings cause.
Connor Apple scored eight and Abshire added four points — with both pulling down five rebounds.
“I thought in the second half, they made some big plays for us,” Roeth said. “Connor (Apple) hit some big shots for us and Devon (Abshire) did a great job on defense.”
Tuttle hit seven of 11 from long range in scoring his 27 points.
Caiden Nickol added 12 points, five rebounds and 11 assists for Indian Lake and Logan Murphy scored six points.
Miami East was 24 of 46 from the floor for 52 percent, including four of 17 on 3-pointers for 23 percent. The Vikings converted eight of nine free throws for 88 percent.
Indian Lake was 19 of 43 from the floor for 44 percent, including nine of 24 from long range for 37 percent. The Lakers made four of six free throws for 67 percent.
East won the battle of the boards 27-15 and had nine turnovers to the Lakers 11.
“We are excited about the opportunity in front of us,” Roeth said. “We haven’t been to districts since 2016.”
As they look to keep a “banner” season going.
You can reach Sports Editor Rob Kiser at [email protected]