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  • Writer's pictureBen Hicks

LHS Basketball OHSAA Playoff Preview

Both the girls’ and boys’ basketball teams at Loveland High School have wrapped up successful regular seasons, which means that the OHSAA State Tournament looms right around the corner. Due to a conference scheduling error, both squads have an extended absence between their regular-season finale and postseason opener, but the time off should allow for adequate time to recover and prepare for the intense atmosphere of playoff basketball.

Under first-year bench boss Chad Adolph, the Lady Tigers finished 2024 at 8-14, good for seventh place in a strong Eastern Cincinnati Conference. Although the Tigers finished sub-.500, many of the key players on the team are underclassmen, and their solid play over the back half of the campaign provides a strong foundation for the future.

The boys on the other hand are led by a consistent group of five seniors and overcame an 0-4 start to finish 6th in the conference at 12-10. Loveland boasted a strong offense this season, as they averaged nearly 60 points per contest, and scored over 70 points on six different occasions.

Although these feats are impressive, both teams understand that anything can happen in the playoffs, and have redirected their focus to the second season. 

The girls, seeded 26th in Cincinnati, will take on ECC foe Lebanon in the first round at Lakota East on Saturday, February 17th at noon. The 8th-seeded Warriors turned in an impressive 17-5 season where they defeated the Tigers twice. However, captain Grace Dressell (12) and company are confident with their matchup, as they challenged the Warriors on their homecourt just two weeks ago, falling 36-29. In an interview with The Loveland Roar, Dressell outlined her team’s preparation over the break, saying, “We’ve been working hard in practice over the past week and are preparing to bring everything we can to win! We need to minimize turnovers and play as a team.” The Tigers possess a strong defense, but the offense, led by Dressell and sophomore standout Katy Wilber (10) will have to score efficiently for the Tigers to progress to round two.

On the boys side, the 18th-seeded Tigers will get a third opportunity to take down archrival Milford, in a first-round duel scheduled for 7:30 on Friday, February 23rd, at Lakota West. The 19th-seeded Eagles have dominated the rivalry as of late, including a playoff victory over the Tigers in 2021. The Eagles’ 2-3 zone defense has also neutralized the aforementioned high-powered Loveland offense twice already this year, as Milford beat Loveland 47-44 on December 1st, and 68-46 on January 16th.

Jack Sauer (12), Loveland’s on-court leader, described the X and O keys to victory for the third edition of the Miami Township Victory Bell, saying, “We know they’re going to zone us and we need to get the ball inside to attack that. Defensively, we need to shut down their bigs and keep them off the boards.” The two-time all-conference selection who currently averages over 16 points a game is looking forward to a rare third chance, continuing, “It’s going to be a fun game and it’s exciting to get another shot at a league rival.”

Both games should be highly competitive, and the teams need as much student support as possible. Show out and support your Tigers!

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