Spartans’ victory clinches SWBL Buckeye crown

25-4 first-half run puts game out of reach for Waynesville.

MADISON TWP.— The hairs on Todd Cook’s head are numbered.

The Waynesville High School boys basketball coach told his team before the season started that if they won the Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division title, they could shave his head.

As far as Cook’s concerned, bald is beautiful.

The Spartans clinched the SWBL Buckeye title outright Friday night with an 86-60 throttling of Madison. It’s Waynesville’s first league title since 2008-09.

“Some kids respond to preseason promises like shaving your head. Some don’t,” Cook said. “This group is looking forward to taking the clippers to my hair. I’m a little thin up there anyway, so it’s not that big a deal.”

Waynesville (16-2, 11-1 SWBL Buckeye) put the game out of reach with a 25-4 run in the first half that gave the Spartans a 33-16 lead. They stretched that to 49-26 heading into the half.

“We saw them do that on Tuesday night when they put a 31-1 run on Milton-Union,” Madison coach Jeff Smith said. “They’re an explosive team.

“We went toe-to-toe with them the first time and have been playing well so we felt good about things — especially after the first quarter. But they shot the ball well in the second quarter and we didn’t handle the press. Turnovers and poor transition defense was a deadly combination.”

Waynesville forced 23 turnovers and made 37-of-73 shots on the night. The Spartans had 25 more field goal attempts than Madison and made 14 more shots.

A lot of those field goals were layups — senior Victor Boggs scored 25 points, most of them in transition and guard Stephen Jeffries had 15 points, scoring often off of midcourt steals.

“I spent the first quarter reading their guards and seeing which way they wanted to go,” Jeffries said. “Then in the second quarter I played to their strengths and when they went to cross over I just swiped the ball.

“This feels great. It’s the first league championship that we’ve won since I’ve been up with the varsity and we got it done because we’ve shared the basketball and played together as a team, better than in any other season that I’ve been here.”

Ten Spartans scored in the game. Luke Creditt added 17 while Boggs led the way with 25 points and 12 rebounds — a stat line that surprised the 6-6 center.

“I was feeling dead tonight actually,” Boggs said. “I surprised myself. I didn’t expect to run the floor like I did but I made a couple of early baskets and just kept going.”

Jeff Clemons scored 21 points to pace the Mohawks (8-10, 3-7 SWBL Buckeye), who didn’t get any closer than 19 points in the second half.