Elite 8 showdown: Warren faces New Philly in regional final Saturday

VINCENT – Warren is hoping to add another boys’ basketball crown to an already banner 2012-13 season.

The Southeastern Ohio Athletic League, sectional, and district champion Warriors are scheduled to play New Philadelphia in an Ohio Division II regional title game at the Ohio University Convocation Center at 3 p.m. Saturday.

At stake is a state tournament berth at the Value City Arena in Columbus next week.

“They are big,” said Warren head coach and Southeast District Coach of the Year Blane Maddox of New Phildelphia. “They are well-coached. They are patient. And, they like to spread the floor and get the ball to their big guys.”

New Philadelphia (19-7) advanced to the showdown tilt against Warren with a convincing 65-50 upset triumph over No. 5 ranked St. Clairsville (22-2) in a regional semi at the Convo on Thursday. The red and black never trailed in the contest.

The Chad Spurgeon-coached Quakers were paced by 5-foot-8 Dylan Hagan, 6-6 Ethan Boose, and 6-3 Marco Colombo, who combined to score 53 points, grab 21 rebounds, and dish out eight assists.

NP’s other probably starters will be 6-3 Caleb Beans and 5-6 Jamal Johnson, a defensive specialist.

JoVoh Morrow chipped in with seven bench points for the Quakers, who shot a sizzling 63.4 percent from the floor against St. Clairsville.

The red and black cagers of Tuscarawas County compete in the East Central Ohio League.

Warren got to the regional final by virtue of its 74-69 overtime win against Athens at the Convo on Thursday night. The Warriors, who had to erase a double-digit deficit with a fourth-quarter rally to send the contest into OT, were led by 6-3 Southeast District Player of the Year Evan French, who tallied 29 points, including 27 after the third quarter.

Six-two Dylan Leffingwell added 14 points and was one carom shy of a double-double. Six-three Reece Patton netted 13 markers and collected seven boards.

Warren, ninth ranked in the state and the owner of a 20 game winning streak, is also expected to start 5-9 Evan Yabs and 6-5 Michael Hall. Look for Danny Pannell and Adam Lang to be the first royal blue and white cagers off the pine.

Warren’s only setback this winter was 69-47 to Upper Arlington in the Ohio River Classic at Marietta College’s Ban Johnson Arena on Dec. 29, 2012. The Tim Casey-coached Golden Bears finished with an 11-11 overall mark, and were 8-6 in the Ohio Capitol Conference.

NOTES: Warren and New Philadelphia each routed common opponent Marietta High twice during the regular season…The Warriors’ 61-46 district final win against Vinton County at the Convo on March 7 was a program first.