As a defending regional champion, Warren remembers well its last appearance at the Ohio University Convocation Center.
It was Saturday afternoon, March 16, 2013, and that was when Evan Yabs' last-second putback beat New Philadelphia, 49-47, in a regional final and advanced the Warriors to the state tournament in Columbus.
"It was very memorable, and I'll always remember that," said Warren boys' basketball coach Blane Maddox.
JORDAN HOLLAND The Marietta Times
Warren basketball standout Evan French (25) gets ready to launch a three as Athens’ Joe Burrow, left, defends during sectional final action at Jim’s Gym at Logan last Friday night. French scored 37 points en route to an 83-61 triumph over the Bulldogs. Warren now faces Circleville in a district semi at the Convo Friday night.
Warren (20-3) is hoping to make more memories at the Convo - without the theatrics this time - when it plays Circleville (17-7) in a Division II district semifinal at 6:15 p.m. this Friday night. The Warriors currently own a 15-game winning streak while the Joe Goodyear-coached Tigers are coming off a 44-40 loss to Bloom-Carroll in a makeup game Monday night.
Prior to Monday's game, Circleville defeated tournament top-seeded Washington Court House, 48-36, in a sectional final at Southeastern High last Saturday night to clinch a district berth and a game against Warren. The Tigers haven't competed at the Convo in two years.
"Circleville is a good, solid team with a lot of guys who can shoot the ball," said Maddox who scouted the Tigers Monday night. "They're a much-improved team."
David Burroughs, Michael Camp, Reed Hugus, Justin Hill, Kyle Smith, Tanner Styers, and Will Giffin are just a few of the Tigers, who Warren will need to keep an eye on.
"They are very patient and deliberate on offense, and will probably try to keep the score low," Maddox said. "You don't want to get behind on them. So, we're going to be looking to attack."
No. 2-seeded Warren booked its ticket to the Convo by trouncing three-seeded Athens, 83-61, in a sectional championship tilt at Jim's Gym at Logan High last Friday night. West Liberty recruit Evan French led the scoring parade with 37 points, including 22 in a wild, Warrior 34-point second quarter. Michael Hall added 21 points, and non-starter Blake Kidder netted nine.
"Everything was just clicking for us in that game," Maddox said.
Against Circleville, Reece Patton, Andrew Drayer, Aaron Mazurkiewicz, Hall, and French are expected to start. Look for Andrew Henthorn and Kidder to be the first Warriors off the pine.
Warren is undefeated in 2014, and hasn't lost a game since bowing 67-65 to Wheeling Park on Dec. 30, 2013. "Since January, we've been playing very well," Maddox said. "We've raised our game, and everyone is stepping up. It's been a good run."