Saturday, March 18, 2000

St. X plays for regional title

Bombers seek first state trip since 1965

Enquirer contributor

        It's not yet a dream season for St.Xavier basketball, but the Bombers have a chance to take a major step toward making it one today.

        St. Xavier (22-2) takes on Beavercreek (24-1) in the Division I regional finals today at 7:30 p.m. at University of Dayton Arena. The winner advances to the Ohio Division I final four, somewhere St. X hasn't been since its only trip to state in 1965.

        Beavercreek is a team of five senior starters, all of whom were around last year when the Beavers missed an undefeated season with a loss in the regional finals to Moeller on a tip-in at the buzzer.

        “The kids set their goals early in the year, and one of them was to win a regional championship,” St. X coach Scott Martin said. “They've got that chance now, and that's all you can ask for.”

        St.X comes in having played back-to-back excellent games on the UD Arena floor. The Bombers routed Springfield South in the district finals, then posted a 10-point victory over archrival Elder in the regional semifinals Thursday.

        Because of their depth and versatility, the Bombers are not an easy team to prepare for in tournament play. Any one of nine or 10 players can step forward as an offensive threat. Defensively, St.X has used relentless pressure and its outstanding depth to wear down opponents. “This should be a good matchup,” Beavercreek coach Buzz Seilhamer said. “Looking at it five-on-five, they are probably a little more physical than we are.”

        Beavercreek's front line is comparable in size to St.X but not as deep. Jeremy Renner (12.5 ppg), a 6-foot-7 center, is the Beavers' top interior offensive threat. Guards Teddy Williams (18 ppg) and Jamie Holden (11 ppg, 7.5 apg) are the heart of Beavercreek's attack.

        Another Beavercreek strength is a matchup zone that can be difficult for teams that aren't used to attacking it. That could put the onus on St.X point guard Steve Callahan, who has been shooting well and had 17 points in the win over Elder, and Steve Sollmann, who should be able to use his strength to take the wiry Beavercreek guards to the basket.

        Tickets for tonight's game remain on sale at St. Xavier from 8 a.m. to noon today.


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