WEST CHESTER TWP. — The Fairfield High School boys basketball team is a top seed for the first time in program history.
The state’s seventh-ranked Indians received the No. 1 seed during Sunday’s Ohio High School Athletic Association Southwest District tournament draw at Lakota West.
“That’s cool for us,” Fairfield coach DJ Wyrick said. “This is one of those years that I think it’s just cool where kids like Deshawne Crim can say, ‘My senior year, we’re the No. 1 seed in the tournament.’
“But I think this year, there’s so much parody that it really didn’t matter if you were a one seed through six or seven,” Wyrick added. “Honestly, there’s a little bit of an advantage being a little later because you can kind of see where everybody goes.
“We didn’t want to come up here and pass a bunch of times. We came to the agreement that we will just pick a spot we like and just go on the board and see what happens.”
Fresh off winning the Greater Miami Conference title for a third year in a row, the top-seeded Indians (16-4) begin tournament play against No. 33 West Clermont (1-18) on Thursday, Feb. 16, at Lakota West at 7:15 p.m.
“It was pretty close to what we were expecting,” Wyrick said. “We’ve got some tough games and some tough teams. We figured we’d see a (Greater Catholic League team) in our sectional for sure. And we got one of them.”
The winner of Fairfield-West Clermont will take on No. 30 Winton Woods (9-12). No. 10 Turpin (15-5) takes on the winner of No. 11 St. Xavier (11-10) and No. 28 Goshen (14-7) in the same sectional.
“It factored in with our decision,” Wyrick said of choosing the Cincinnati 3 district, which will match up against the Dayton 2 district.
That would keep the Indians from playing Dayton’s No. 1 seed Centerville in the district finals.
“It was based on who we think is the best team around here,” Wyrick said. “Let’s stay away from them as long as we can. There’s a lot of good teams. There’s some matchups on this board, where you’re like, ‘Woo. That’s interesting.’ So I’m excited to see how this plays out.”
The most intriguing matchup of the Division I tournament involves No. 22 Talawanda (13-6) battling No. 17 Hamilton (8-11). That game takes place on Thursday, Feb. 16, at 5:30 p.m. at Lakota West.
Talawanda coach Connor Roberts made the decision to play Hamilton for multiple reasons.
“Obviously there is a ton of storylines with it,” Roberts said referring to brothers Cameron Jones (Talawanda) and Christian Jones (Hamilton) being assistant coaches on opposite sides of the court. “The schools border each other. Those are the story lines.
“But that is not the reason we picked the game,” Roberts added. “We looked at options, and we thought this was the best one for us.”
Roberts said while his Brave know their postseason matchup, this coming week’s focus will be aimed toward prepping for a Southwest Ohio Conference title.
Talawanda visits Ross on Friday night for a chance to claim at least a share of the crown.
“Our guys want it,” Roberts said. “That’s what we’re going to be concentrating on.”
Middletown coach Kelven Moss said he was pleased with his Middies’ tournament seeding. He chose to take a first-round bye so his program can get back to full strength.
“I liked our 13 (seed) just because it kind of gave us a chance to see where we wanted to go,” Moss said. “We’ve got a couple guys injured, so we need a couple weeks to get back healthy.”
The No. 13 Middies (11-9) take on the winner of No. 2 Elder (15-4) and No. 31 Aiken (7-12) on Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 6 p.m. at West Clermont.
“I trust my staff for preparing us for whoever we play,” Moss said. “We’re excited. It’s going to be a fun tournament.”
Here are other area Division I tournament games:
No. 15 Lakota East (8-12) vs. No. 9 Withrow (14-4) or No. 30 Colerain (4-16), Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 5:30 p.m. at Lakota West.
No. 18 Lakota West (6-14) vs. No. 21 Walnut Hills (9-12), Friday, Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. at West Clermont.
No. 24 Ross (10-11) vs. No. 12 LaSalle (10-9), Friday, Feb. 17 at 5:30 p.m. at Lakota West.
No. 32 Edgewood (6-14) vs. No. 5 Princeton, Saturday, Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. at Fairfield.
No. 15 Monroe (9-11) vs. No. 13 Xenia (8-12), Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 5:30 p.m. at Centerville.
No. 4 Fenwick (13-7) vs. No. 15 Bethel Tate (11-9), Saturday, Feb. 18 at 4 p.m. at Mason Middle School.
No. 12 Badin (4-15) vs. No. 9 New Richmond (12-8), Friday, Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. at Princeton.
No. 16 Madison (10-10) vs. No. 6 Dayton Carroll (15-5), Saturday, Feb. 18 at 1 p.m. at Miamisburg.
No. 2 Cincinnati Christian (17-2) vs. No. 11 New Miami (3-17), Monday, Feb. 13 at 6:30 p.m. at Princeton.
No. 6 Middletown Christian (12-7) vs. No. 5 Lockland (9-10), Monday, Feb. 13 at 8 p.m. at Princeton.
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