By Josh Brown
BROOKVILLE — The Newton girls basketball team left little doubt Tuesday night, jumping out to a massive lead after the first eight minutes and cruising to a 57-26 victory over Twin Valley South at Brookville High School to advance to Saturday’s sectional title game — against a very familiar opponent.
Sixth-seeded Newton, which improved to 17-7 with the win, will face No. 1 Tri-Village Saturday. The Patriots — who routed Yellow Springs 60-39 in the early game to advance — defeated the Indians 51-43 back on Dec. 3 en route to a Cross County Conference championship. Eighth-seeded Twin Valley South finished the season 3-20.
Against the Panthers Tuesday, the Indians built a 21-5 lead after one quarter and led 43-15 at halftime, easily putting away the win. Madison Mollette led the way with 21 points, Tatum McBride added 12 and Macy Flanary and Brittney Oburn each added six.
Newton will face Tri-Village at 3 p.m. Saturday at Brookville.
Jackson Center 58,
SIDNEY —Second-seeded Jackson Center pulled away in the second half Tuesday night to beat a scrappy eighth-seeded Lehman team 58-50 in the second round of the Division IV sectional tournament at Sidney High School.
Lehman led 11-10 at one point before the Tigers scored the next five to take a lead they would not relinquish.
By the half, it was still a close game at 26-23, but the Tigers began dominating in the third quarter. They opened up a 47-31 lead after three periods, outscoring the Cavs 218 in the quarter.
Lehman still had one more rally left in the final period, cutting the leads to 48-40 on a layup by Kassie Lee with still six minutes remaining. But after a timeout, the Tigers regrouped and went on a 6-0 run to push the lead back up to 14 at 54-40.
For Lehman, Alanny O’Leary led the way with 12 and Allie Hall finished with 1o. The Tigers were led by Peyton Esser, who tossed in 18 points.
The win puts the Tigers at 17-7 on the season going into the upper-bracket sectional finals Saturday at Sidney against county rival Houston, who they beat twice during the regular season. The Cavaliers complete their season with a final 12-11 record.
* Boys Basketball
NEW LEBANON — The Milton-Union boys basketball team began Tuesday’s game on a 13-0 run and held on from there, battling from start to finish to hold on for a 57-53 Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division at Dixie, snapping an eight-game losing streak.
The win was the second of the season for the Bulldogs (2-19, 2-8 SWBL Buckeye), while Dixie fell to 10-12, 4-8 in the Buckeye.
“We were really proud of the kids tonight,” Milton-Union coach Rusty Berner said. “As we’ve said before, there’s not a lot of teams that, while having the kind of season we’re having, would still be battling this hard this late in the season.”
Eric Swartz led the Bulldogs with 16 points and seven rebounds, Zach Vagedes added 11 points, eight rebounds and four assists, Joey Swafford pitched in 10 points and Braden Smith hit three 3s in the second quarter for nine points as Milton-Union led 17-7 after the first quarter and extended that lead to 11 at the half and 12 after three. Dixie fought back in the fourth, outscoring the Bulldogs 25-17 in the quarter, but Milton-Union did what it needed to do to hang on.
“Eric had a monster game, Braden Smith had a career high, Tommy Smith hit a big free throw, Zach Vagedes was involved in every last hustle play — this was a total team win,” Berner said. “Player one through player 11 contributed tonight, whether it was something big or something small.”
Milton-Union closes out the regular season at home Thursday on Senior Night against Waynesville.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.