Unioto Shermans
Dewey Dailey

Dewey Dailey

Unioto uses suffocating defense to blanket Gallia, win program’s fourth district title

The Shermans will now meet with Columbus DeSales in a Division II regional semifinal.

Dewey Dailey, Contributor

PIKETON — What started back in 2015 as a program-making moment has now become a program expectation for Unioto.

Unioto’s Tayvion Galloway cuts down pieces of the district championship net after the Shermans’ win over Gallia.
CREDIT: Madison Greenwalt/SOSA

Playing in their fourth district title game since 2015, it hung its hat defensively by holding Gallia Academy to 12 second-half points and earning a 47-32 victory on Saturday at Piketon High School.

The victory additionally marked the fourth district title for Unioto with the other three coming in 1991, 2015 and 2018. 

“It’s such a great feeling being able to put out names down in the Unioto history books,” Unioto’s Isaac Little said. “We’ve worked hard all season, and sharing this district plaque with these guys in the locker room makes it all worth it.” 

While it wasn’t the Shermans’ cleanest game offensively, the trio of Little, Tayvion Galloway and DeSean Branson showed to be more than Gallia could handle. 

Each player shined at different times of the game, combining to score 42 of the Shermans’ 47 points, led by Branson’s 16 points, five rebounds and four steals.

Early on, it was Little and Galloway that got the ball rolling for Unioto. Little knocked down a pair of 3’s and a technical free throw while Galloway scored a pair of buckets inside to give it a 11-5 lead. 

“We just knew that we had to come out and bring the energy offensively and defensively to set the tone for the rest of the game,” Little said. “Loose balls, rebounds, blocked shots and hitting the open man. It was the little things like that which helped set the tone for the rest of the game.”

Gallia didn’t back down, however, as it finished the quarter outscoring Unioto 8-5 behind six points from Isaac Clary to cut their deficit to 16-13 after the first. 

Galloway took over for the Shermans in the second. The freshman big man took care of business in the post, but also showed some range by knocking down jumpers, including a triple from the top of the key. 

He scored seven of the teams nine points in the frame as Unioto extended the lead over the Blue Devils to 25-20 heading into halftime.

“We knew we had to step up the tempo, so we came in here and cleared things up,” Cater Markko added. “We went back out for the third, and we all stepped up defensively.” 

After holding Gallia to just four points in the third quarter and leading 34-24, the Shermans aimed to finish strong and Branson closed the deal by outscoring the Blue Devils 9-8 in the final frame to ultimately secure the win. 

“It all came down to bringing a lot of energy, moving the ball and playing hard defense,” Gunnar Greenwalt said. “We knew we couldn’t be beat as long as we did those things.” 

Following Branson’s night, Little finished the night with 15 points while Galloway added 11 points, five rebounds, and a pair of blocks.

Unioto advances to a Division II regional semifinal against Columbus DeSales at 5:30 p.m., Thursday at Southeastern High School.

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