John Bruce, Contributor
If you are trying to determine the greatest team to ever play in the Scioto Valley Conference, how would you do it? Would you use recency bias? Would you know that a certain number of years were better than others?
Whatever way that you decide to make your picks on these brackets, one thing that I ask of you is this: use the facts and information provided to you in the coming article and whatever experience you have with these teams to make the best choice.
We have now reached the Championship round … featuring the only SVC team to ever reach the state championship game, taking on a dominant team who not only reached the Final Four, but also defeated an eventual state champion during the regular season.
PAST TOURNEY RESULTS
- Larry Jordan Regional / Larry Jordan Round of 32
- Dale Haynes Regional / Dale Haynes Round of 32
- Ron Shoemaker Regional / Ron Shoemaker Round of 32
- Jeff Reisinger Regional / Jeff Reisinger Round of 32
- Sweet 16 / Elite 8 / Final 4
No. 1 Southeastern ‘89-90 (24-2) vs. No. 1 Unioto ‘90-91 (23-4)
In a historical matchup such as this, there are a variety of factors that one must consider:
- How strong was the SVC in each season?
- In ‘89-90, the SVC had a non-conference winning percentage of 46.9%
- In ‘90-91, the SVC had a non-conference winning percentage of 43.9%
- With that being a virtual wash, we will next take a look at the sidelines
- Southeastern coach Larry Jordan won 605 games, with 539 of those wins coming at Southeastern. Jordan was assisted by Dan Easterday, who won two district titles in only three seasons as a head coach.
- Unioto coach Ron Lovely rebuilt the Unioto program from the ashes and won a program record 206 games. Lovely was assisted by longtime assistant Joe Greisheimer to make up an iconic coaching duo in the Scioto Valley.
- Which team had the strongest regular season victory?
- Unioto defeated a Miami Trace squad that finished 18-5, finished as the state’s No. 19 ranked team and was a district runner-up in Division II.
- Southeastern defeated two-time defending state champion Columbus Wehrle in overtime, in January. Wehrle finished as the state’s No. 2 ranked team and won its third consecutive Division IV state championship.
- Top players for each team?
- Southeastern was led by 1st Team All-Ohioan Aaron Skeens (18.4 ppg), and featured the previous season’s SVC Player of the Year in Mike Adams (15.6 ppg).
- Unioto was led by third-team All-Ohioan Matt Combs (24.2 ppg, 13 rpg), while also having sharp-shooting Jeff Miller (14.6 ppg) as their No. 2 scoring option.
- Supporting casts?
- Southeastern’s Chad Mitten reached double figures in 11 games, while also having a game with 11 assists. Mike and Chad Jordan were also impact players for the Panthers. Mike Jordan hit the regional title-winning 3 in overtime vs. West Muskingum.
- Unioto’s Jason Thress battled through injuries to be a big-time player in the tournament for the Shermans, giving the Tanks a dynamic third scorer. D.B. Mullen and Dan Cox played their roles to perfection. Thress came off the bench to hit four 3’s in the Shermans district semifinal win over South Webster.
- Bench production?
- Southeastern had a short bench, with Carl Lawhorn being a standout, while Mike Collins, Matt Rann, and Chris Eldridge made impacts at different points for the Panthers.
- Unioto’s Jim Hutchison spent some time in the starting lineup and scored 8.5 ppg in the state tournament, while Chris Seeley and Brian Sturgill gave the Shermans excellent minutes throughout the season.
- Tournament moments?
- Southeastern won pretty comfortably on their way through the district tournament, including having all five starters in double figures in their win over North Adams. The regional final was a different story. It took a long rebound from Carl Lawhorn who dished it back out to Aaron Skeens, who splashed a 3 to send that game into overtime. Mike Jordan would be the hero from there, hitting a 3 with 55 seconds left to send the Panthers to their fifth state tournament.
- Unioto’s road was a little bumpier and much more unique. Winning their first four tournament games by a combined 11 points, the Shermans would defeat Chesapeake by eight in their fifth game and dominate Bedford Chanel by 22 in the Final Four.
When I take a step back and look, the two teams are extremely evenly matched. The second matchup between the two in ‘89-90 even came down to the final seconds with the Panthers pulling out the win, but seemed to show the league that Unioto would be a force to be reckoned with in ‘90-91.
Two historic seasons, led by two historic coaching staffs and standout rosters, have come down to the championship of our bracket to truly determine the greatest SVC boys basketball team of all-time.
|Head coach: Larry Jordan (20th season)||Head coach: Ron Lovely (fourth season)|
Aaron Skeens (6’4 Sr) 18.4 ppg, SVC and Southeast District Player of the Year, 1st Team All-Ohio
Mike Adams (6’6 Sr) 15.8 ppg, 1st Team All SVC, Honorable Mention All-Ohio
Mike Jordan (6’2 Sr) 8.0 ppg
Chad Mitten (5’11 Sr) 9.0 ppg, 3rd Team All SVC
Chad Jordan (6’6 So) 6.0 ppg
Matt Combs (6’5 Jr) 24.2 ppg, SVC and Southeast District Player of the Year, 3rd Team All-Ohio
Jeff Miller (6’0 Sr) 14.6 ppg, 2nd Team All SVC
Jason Thress (5’10 Jr) 9.5 ppg
D.B. Mullen (6’1 Sr) 4.6 ppg
Dan Cox (6’2 Jr) 7.0 ppg
Carl Lawhorn (6’4 Jr), Matt Rann (5’11 Jr), Jeff Snyder (6’4 Sr), Stacey Ragland (5’9 So), Bobby Brown (5’7 Sr), Mike Collins (6’0 So), Chris Eldridge (6’2 Jr)
Jim Hutchison (6’2 Sr), Chris Seeley (6’5 Sr), Oakie Martin (6’1 Jr), Jason Thornsberry (6’0 Jr), Brian Sturgill (6’0 Sr), Sam Bookwalter (6’2 Sr), Brian Gunnoe (5’11 Jr), Charlie Ward (6’5 So)
|Schedule (24-2)||Schedule (23-4)|
|Eastern Pike – W 73-70|
Huntington – W 88-65
Zane Trace – W 63-31
Adena – W 78-55
Westfall – W 53-49
Unioto – W 77-56
Southern – W 66-48
Alexander – W 76-58
Chillicothe – W 53-48 (Waverly Holiday Classic Championship)
Piketon – W 57-56 (OT)
Paint Valley – W 61-48
Huntington – W 86-37
Zane Trace – W 64-52
Adena – W 89-50
#2 Wehrle – W 59-56 (OT)
Westfall – W 81-56
McClain – L 54-47
Unioto – W 54-52
Piketon – W 68-48
Paint Valley – W 61-41
|North Gallia – W 104-80|
Amanda – L 88-85
Adena – W 67-53
Westfall – W 95-53
Paint Valley – W 76-72
Piketon – L 66-57
Washington – W 69-65
#19 Miami Trace – W 70-66
Southeastern – W 75-58
Huntington – W 78-68
Zane Trace – W 65-54
Whiteoak – W 86-61
Adena – W 91-45
Westfall – W 59-44
Paint Valley – W 75-62
Hillsboro – L 65-64
Piketon – W 67-46
Southeastern – W 67-64
Huntington – W 88-74
Zane Trace – W 60-58
|Tournament Trail||Tournament Trail|
|Federal Hocking – W 78-51|
North Adams – W 74-68
Chesapeake – W 74-67
Barnesville – W 68-64
#8 West Muskingum – W 56-55 (OT)
#4 St. Henry – L 93-45 (Final Four)
|Zane Trace – W 47-44|
South Webster – W 62-61
Crooksville – W 60-56
#5 Shenandoah – W 65-62
#7 Chesapeake – W 67-59
Bedford Chanel – W 80-58 (Final Four)
Wayne Trace – L 77-55 (State Championship)