SIDNEY — For the second time in the last three years, the Minatare boys basketball team will play in the championship game of the Minuteman Activities Conference Tournament.

The Indians, who finished runner-up in 2013, returned to the final after pulling away for a 56-42 win over Potter-Dix in the semifinal round on Thursday at Sidney Middle School. Minatare led just 22-21 at halftime, but outscored the Coyotes 34-21 in the second half to register the win.

“We played pretty well for the most part,” Minatare coach Kyle Cotton said. “I thought Potter-Dix played really well in the first half. They took us out of some stuff and took away the lane making it tough to drive. They were playing very aggressively and we didn’t adjust very well at the beginning. As the game wore on, we did a lot of good things. Our offense picked up in the second half and defensively we picked it up in the second half, too. We’re just thankful to be playing in the championship.”

The win improved Minatare to 11-0 on the season, the team’s best start in a number of years. The Indians, who are the top seed in the tournament, will take on second seeded Bayard in Saturday’s final at 8 p.m. Bayard, which is playing in the tournament for the first time as a conference member, earned a thrilling 58-56 win over Leyton in the semifinals. Leyton was going for a fourth straight MAC Tournament championship.

The Indians are prepared for another tough challenge in Saturday’s title game.

“Our focus each and every game is we don’t ever take anyone lightly,” Cotton said. “We knew Potter-Dix was going to play well today and they did. We’re going to have to be on top of our game Saturday.”

Three players scored in double figures for Minatare in Thursday’s game. Yovan Perez led the way with 19 points, Javier Guerrero followed with 14 and Dominic Longoria had 10. Guerrero knocked down three 3-pointers. The Indians shot 14 of 21 at the free-throw line.

Potter-Dix was led in scoring by Cameron Purcell with nine points. Cole Christenson and Trace Sharman both finished with eight points. The Coyotes shot 2 of 8 at the foul line.

With Bayard leading 58-56 in the closing stages of the second semifinal, Leyton turned the ball over with just 4 seconds remaining. The Tigers missed the front end of a one-and-one, but the Warriors’ desperation shot at the buzzer was off the mark.

Leyton controlled much of the first half as the Warriors moved out to a 33-27 lead at halftime. However, Bayard stormed back in the second half after outscoring Leyton 15-8 in the third quarter to lead by one going into the final eight minutes.

Justin Baird led the Tigers in scoring with 17 points. Bryce Hargens followed with 10, while Phil Schuller and Jacob Hoff both finished with eight each. Schuller and Hoff knocked down a pair of 3-pointers each.

Leyton’s Drew Brenner scored a game-high 21 points. He sank three 3-pointers and was a perfect 4-for-4 at the free-throw line. Cody McKay added 15 points for the Warriors and Zach Hellie finished with 12.

The Warriors shot 7 of 15 at the foul line overall. Bayard finished 9 of 19.

Potter-Dix (5-8) .......................................... 13 8 11 10 — 42

Minatare (11-0) .......................................... 12 10 16 18 — 56

POTTER-DIX: Kelsey Rozelle 5, Jake Johnson 6, Cameron Purcell 9, Cooper Hicks 2, Trevor Harms 4, Cole Christenson 8, Trace Sharman 8.

MINATARE: Javier Guerrero 14, Juan Garfio 6, Yovan Perez 19, Tyler Koke 4, Chance McAllister 3, Dominic Longoria 10.

Bayard (9-4) ........................................... 13 14 15 16 — 58

Leyton (7-6) ........................................... 15 18 8 15 — 56

BAYARD: Chandler Cox 3, Tyler Fiscus 5, Justin Baird 17, Phil Schuller 8, Jacob Hoff 8, Bryce Hargens 10, Ethan Marker 7.

LEYTON: Drew Brenner 21, Zach Hellie 12, James Rushman 8, Cody McKay 15.

Potter-Dix, Leyton girls advance to final

SIDNEY — The Potter-Dix and Leyton girls basketball teams both posted wins in the semifinal round of the Minuteman Activities Conference Tournament on Thursday in Sidney.

Top seeded Potter-Dix held on for a 39-36 win over Bayard, while second seeded and defending champion Leyton earned a 52-48 win over Creek Valley. The Coyotes and Warriors will battle in the championship game on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at Sidney Middle School.

A big first quarter powered Potter-Dix in Thursday’s win over Bayard. The Coyotes, who improved to 11-2 on the season, outscored the Tigers 11-1 in the first eight minutes to grab early control. Bayard managed to chip away over the next three quarters, but Potter-Dix managed to hold on in the end.

Dawson Sharman led Potter-Dix in scoring with 11 points. Savannah Shaw followed with seven points and Alexus Rozelle had six.

Bayard’s Chellani Parriott scored a game-high 14 points. Mandi Cottrell sank a pair of 3-pointers to finish with eight points for the Tigers.

Potter-Dix shot 15 of 31 at the free-throw line in the game, while Bayard finished 12 of 31.

In Thursday’s second semifinal, Leyton used a big fourth quarter to advance back to the title game. The Warriors outscored the Storm 26-17 in the final eight minutes to rally for the victory. Creek Valley held a 31-26 lead after three quarters.

Diedra Waite scored 16 points to lead Leyton in scoring. She was a perfect 4-for-4 at the free-throw line. Natalie Cruise added 10 points with a pair of 3-pointers for the Warriors. Shaela Jenkins followed with nine points, while Jessica Houk and Dani McKay each had six.

Creek Valley’s Jill Behrends scored a game-high 18 points. Behrends sank five 3-pointers. Jessie Straber followed with 13 points and Payje Misegadis added nine.

Leyton converted 16 of 23 free throws in the game, while Creek Valley finished 11 of 30.

Bayard (5-9) ........................................ 1 14 8 13 — 36

Potter-Dix (11-2) ................................. 11 9 11 8 — 39

BAYARD: Miah Vera 5, Chellani Parriott 14, Mandi Cottrell 8, Jessi Smith 3, Kaylie Fiscus 2, Lauren Peterson 4.

POTTER-DIX: Dawson Sharman 11, Anna McLaughlin 5, Trinity Langley 5, Savannah Shaw 7, Alexus Rozelle 6, Audrey Juelfs 5.

Leyton (6-7) .......................................... 9 11 6 26 — 52

Creek Valley (5-7) .................................. 14 5 12 17 — 48

LEYTON: Jessica Houk 6, Taylor Berner 1, Shaela Jenkins 9, Natalie Cruise 10, Diedra Waite 16, Kaitlyn Berner 4, Dani McKay 6.

CREEK VALLEY: Payje Misegadis 9, Allie Blackwelder 2, Hannah Schievelbein 3, Stef Mitchell 3, Jessie Straber 13, Jill Behrends 18.

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