Dayton, Ohio — The father-son duo of Sean Powell and Jayden Priddy-Powell will go down in the history book in Botkins. Powell was a star at Lima Perry before becoming an assistant coach there. After accepting the Botkins head coaching position, Powell went 11-12 in his first season before turning things around and going 18-7 in his second season. Then Powell did the unexpected and won a school record 27 games and led his team all the way to the Division IV State Championship.
His son and Botkins star Jayden Priddy-Powell has been on fire during this tournament run. He had 26 against Newark Catholic, 16 against Cedarville and 19 against Richmond Heights. But he knew he would have to step up again to take down a talented Columbus Grove team who has been a powerhouse in Northwest Ohio for some time now. The Bulldogs’ season was ended early a year ago due to COVID and a trip to state this year only felt right.
Botkins’ team doesn’t just revolve around Priddy-Powell though. The Trojans feature another strong duo in brothers Carter and Jacob Pleiman. Jacob is considered one of the top juniors in Southwest Ohio and Carter is a sophomore with a very bright future. Sharpshooters Zane Paul and Jameson Meyer each give quality minutes as well as forward Denton Homan who plays his role on this team as perfectly as he could. Homan is a key defender and brings the energy to this team.
To say Botkins got off to a good start would be an understatement…they got off to a perfect start. Priddy-Powell got a quick steal and finished it on the other end to put Botkins up 2-0. Priddy-Powell then hit three straight three’s to give Botkins a 13-0 lead to start the game. Zane Paul extedned the lead to 16-0. Some baskets from Blake Reynolds and Gabe Clement would put Columbus Grove on the board but they still trailed 20-7 at the end of the first.
Despite the perfect start, Botkins would see their lead start to dwindle. Blake Reynolds converted an and-one and then made a full court pass to Gabe Clement who also converted on an and-one to cut Botkins’ lead down to single digits. The Trojans led 28-22 at the half. Reynolds and Clement battled with Priddy-Powell and Carter Pleiman as the second quarter was very back and forth.
The momentum in the gym was very balanced the entire third quarter. Every time Columbus Grove would make a run, Botkins would quickly counter it. Columbus Grove ended up drawing within two but Botkins still led 37-32 at the end of the quarter behind solid play from Jayden Priddy-Powell and the Pleiman brothers.
Columbus Grove drew back within three but a deep three from Priddy-Powell extended the Trojans lead back to six. Carter Pleiman then stepped up big for Botkins. He made two straight baskets and then caught a lob from Priddy-Powell to put the Trojans up 45-37 with five minutes to play.
With four minutes to play, Zane Paul hit what felt like the dagger to Columbus Grove as his super deep three but Botkins back up by double digits. Then Jacob Pleiman dunked it home over a defender. Following that, every Botkins player slapped the floor on defense and whatever momentum Columbus Grove had built up, was gone.
Following a couple of defensive stops, the Bulldogs were forced to foul and Botkins pulled away. Head coach Sean Powell emptied his bench as the Botkins Trojans won 60-44 and were crowned the 2021 Division IV OHSAA State Champions.
Instead of celebrating right after the final buzzer sounded, Botkins junior Jacob Pleiman led his team and shook hands with the rest of the Columbus Grove team. That small gesture was a perfect example of the type of person Pleiman is and the culture coach Powell has built at Botkins.
Jayden Priddy-Powell led the Trojans with a game high 27 points as his first half performance gave Botkins a fantastic start. Carter Pleiman finished with 17 while his older brother Jacob Pleiman finished with 10 points. The only other scorer for the Trojans was Zane Paul who hit a pair of threes and had 6 points. Gabe Clement led Columbus Grove with 18 points while Blake Reynolds had 17 points and 9 rebounds.
Jayden Priddy-Powell will end his career as a state champion as the underrated 5’10” guard made a statement all year long. He led his school to a league title, the most wins in school history and the first state championship in school history. Sean Powell will return a great group next year as well as Jacob Pleiman, Carter Pleiman, and Jameson Meyer will all return for Botkins. This team will go down in the history books and will talked about in the small town of Botkins for decades to come.