DeSean Branson, Matt Hoops
Dewey Dailey

Dewey Dailey

Tanks get defensive, beat Logan Elm to advance

Unioto advanced to a district final with a win at Logan Elm.

Dewey Dailey, Contributor

CIRCLEVILLE — The higher the stakes, the better Unioto’s DeSean Branson seems to play. 

Bringing the energy off the bench, the athletic junior sliced and diced through Logan Elm’s defense, finishing with a game-high 16 points to lead the Shermans to a 51-36 victory over the Braves in a Division II district semifinal on Thursday.

Unioto’s Tayvion Galloway helped the Shermans top Logan Elm on Thursday in a Division II district semifinal.
CREDIT: Madison Greenwalt/SOSA

“We were struggling to score points, but DeSean came off the bench and created offense for us,” Unioto’s Isaac Little said. “Whether it was getting steals defensively or just getting to the rim, he brought the energy and it was great having the extra spark off the bench.”

Scoring started out slow for both sides. Unioto’s Isaac Little and Logan Elm’s Gabe Chalfin each scored four points, but a triple from Cam DeBord made the difference as the Shermans led 7-5 after the first quarter. 

Logan Elm’s Jason Sailor committed two early fouls in the frame that caused him to miss the entire second quarter, and Unioto took full advantage.

The trio of Branson, Little and Tayvion Galloway all took turns getting to the rim and converting as the Shermans began creating some distance. 

Each player scored four points in the frame as the Shermans led Logan Elm 21-13 going into halftime.

“DeSean had energy and Tayvion did a great job in the post,” Little said. “He used his size to block shots, altar shots and convert a couple shots as well. When those two have the energy, it flows through the rest of us.”

However, the Braves came out swinging to open the third. Behind Sailor, Chalfin and Isaac Ward, they put together an 8-2 run to start the third, cutting the lead down to 23-21. 

Yet, even with the hot start, the Braves were unable to capture the quarter. Towards the end of the third, Branson swiped the ball away and finished with a two-hand slam on the other end that turned momentum for good in the Shermans’ favor. 

The dunk put an end to the Braves’ rally and Unioto finished the quarter on a 10-2 run, pushing the lead up to double digits at 33-23 — a lead that remained for the rest of the night. 

“We knew we were better and that we’d pull out the win,” Unioto’s Cater Marrko said. “I’m excited for all of us. We haven’t been to a district final as a team so we’re looking forward to it.”

Following Branson, Little finished with 14 points, including a perfect 10-of-10 at the free-throw line, along with four rebounds, and three assists. Galloway added eight points and eight rebounds.

Unioto advances to a Division II district final at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Piketon High School against Gallia Academy, who knocked off Jackson to advance. 

“It feels great (advancing to a district final),” Little said. “I don’t know how many times we’ve been in a district final as a school, but we’ve only won three, so it’d be a great milestone for all of us to win. But we have to reset our minds and go into the next game being ready to win.” 

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