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Boys' Basketball: Zeps Send Noles Home

February 26, 2012
By RICH GIBSON , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

BYESVILLE - It was that kind of season for Greg Taylor and his Monroe Central squad.

On the verge of being blown out of Saturday's Division III Sectional against Shenandoah, the Seminoles, instead, gamely rallied back.

And when senior Jimmy Baker connected from 3-point land with 33 seconds to play, Monroe Central had trimmed a one-time 14-point deficit to a single point at 51-50.

As fate would have it, however, the dramatic comeback ended there. Three Zeps free throws in the final ticks secured a 54-50 victory for first-year coach Craig Sebring's Noble Countians.

''You're always concerned about playing an under the radar opponent like Monroe Central for the third time (this season),'' Sebring said. ''That's the third time we beat them but none were easy.''

Shenandoah raced to an early 20-6 command only to see the Seminoles methodically work their way back.

Monroe Central had rallied within 29-23 by halftime and eventually came on to earn a 30-30 deadlock early in the third quarter.

The Zeps, though, ran off the next seven points and took a 42-35 advantage to the fourth quarter.

Sparked by 3-pointers from sophomore Curtis Nixon and senior Jacob Ring, the Noles roared back.

It was a 51-47 game following a Shenandoah free throw by Danny Neuhart before Baker's baseline bomb resulted in a one-point difference.

Monroe Central sent Neuhart back to the line twice more only to watch the Zeps junior seal the verdict in the final 10 seconds.

''Our kids kept fighting and that's how they played it all season even if our record (5-16) may not have indicated it,'' Taylor said. ''It's always tough saying goodbye to your seniors and we're losing four (Baker, Ring, Lance Schumacher, Dalton Ramage) from this year's team.''

Baker's 16 points paced Monroe with junior Josh Guiler netting 11. Ring and Nixon scored seven apiece.

Neuhart scored 16 to lead three double-digit scorers for Shenandoah. Junior guard Eli Hurst tallied 12 and senior Shane Crum added 10.

The Seminoles shot 19 of 44 from the floor and forced 16 turnovers. Monroe Central nabbed 23 rebounds and was guilty of 12 giveaways.

The Zeps (14-7) return to Meadowbrook High for a 7 p.m. Thursday night co-final scrap against Buckeye Trail.

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