CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio — It just simply doesn’t get any better than that.
In their final high school basketball performances, Ohio Valley Christian seniors Marshall Hood, Dillon Ragan, Andrew Sims and Justin Sizemore were able to cut down the nets and raise the state championship trophy.
The Defenders — who end the year with a 21-6 record — defeated Bellfontaine’s Calvary Christian by a 61-39 count in Friday night’s semifinal and then went on to top Dayton’s Temple Christian by a 49-28 count in Saturday’s final, at the Maxwell Center on the campus of Ohio Christian University.
OVCS — which has advanced to the OCSAA final four after winning the Southeast Regional four years in a row — have came away with a fourth and two third place finishes in the last three years. The only Defender to play in all four final fours is 6-5 senior Marshall Hood.
“It’s been a great run with my teammates,” Hood said. “We’ve had a great season, we had to overcome a few injuries, but it was great to finally put it together and bring home a title. This is awesome, it’s been a great tournament and I love my teammates.”
Hood led the Defenders with a 27-point performance in the state semifinal and followed it up by posting a double-double effort of 14 points and 11 rebounds in the championship game.
“Our coach always talks about how our team needs good leaders,” Hood said. “I really tried to step up this year as a good leader and just put everything on the court. Our coaches told the seniors ‘leave it all on the court and don’t have any regrets’ and I think we did that today.”
For the past three years, Hood has been joined 5-9 guard Dillon Ragan, who began playing for OVCS as a sophomore. Ragan posted seven points, four assists and a pair of steals in Saturday’s championship game.
“I’ve been here the past two years and both years we were third place,” Ragan said. “To come out last night and get the first game out of the way so that third place wasn’t even in our vocabulary this year was great. I’m so proud of the team, the coaches and all the fans. It’s really great.”
The Defenders also have a pair of first-year seniors, Justin Sizemore and Andrew Sims. Sizemore, a 5-6 guard who scored three points in the state final, transferred to Ohio Valley Christian last year, but was unable to play basketball for the Blue and Gold.
“This is something you can’t really put into words,” Sizemore said. “We’ve had a pretty successful season and you really can’t describe this moment.”
Sims, a 6-3 forward, pulled in the final rebound of the state championship.
“It’s awesome,” Sims said. “This is my first year at OVCS, to join in and go win the state is awesome.”
Ohio Valley Christian is saying farewell its four seniors, but could have six returnees on next year’s squad when the Defenders try to make it five straight trips to the final four.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.