HARRISON, Ohio -- This has been a special winter for the varsity basketball programs at Mason High School.
The girls’ team has a 22-2 record and is sectional champions after a 64-29 win over Kings Friday night at Harrison.
The boys’ team won the Greater Miami Conference title outright for the first time in program history and is just the third boys’ team to go undefeated in the conference in the past 34 years. The top-seeded Comets play next Tuesday in the sectional tournament.
Mason freshman 6-foot-1 forward Samantha Puisis has a unique perspective: She is able able to enjoy the success of both teams directly.
Puisis is not only one of the area’s top underclassmen this season for the Mason girls’ basketball team, but she’s been able to enjoy the success of the boys’ team through her brother, junior guard Eddie Puisis.
“That’s all we are talking about at dinners and stuff – basketball,” Samantha Puisis told WCPO.com after Friday’s win. “Me and Eddie always train together, trying to get each other better since we play basketball.”
The siblings support each other at their respective games; their family knows there are always two games a week.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Samantha said.
The Comets had a lot of fun on Friday night in the sectional final. Puisis had 12 points – 4 of 7 from 3-pointers, along with four rebounds and two steals. Senior 6-3 forward Lauren Van Kleunen (Marquette signee) had 12 points and four rebounds.
Puisis, who is receiving some early college interest, had three 3-pointers in the first half.
“She knows how to score and use her body around the bucket,” Kings coach Matt Knott said. “Her quick release – she wasn’t just on the 3-point line. She stepped off. And she is tall. Even if you get a good close-out, she is still shooting over the top with nothing in her vision.”
Mason senior forward Mariah Campbell added 11 points, four rebounds and three steals. Senior point guard Jailyn Mason (Arkansas signee) had nine points, 10 assists, five rebounds and two blocks.
“They are so unselfish, and they really play for each other,” Mason coach Rob Matula said. “They share the ball almost to a fault. …But they recognize that they are all capable of playing, and that’s the beauty of what they do. They are focused.”
Mason, ranked No. 5 in the season’s final Associated Press Division I state poll, has won 11 consecutive games.
Mason plays either Milford or McAuley in a Division I district final at 5 p.m. Feb. 27 at Harrison High School. Milford (18-6) plays McAuley (17-6) in a Division I sectional final at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Sycamore.
Mason had little trouble Friday, jumping out to a 17-0 lead within the first 5:20 and leading 24-5 at the end of the first quarter. The Comets led 41-11 at halftime.
Kings made some 3-pointers early in the third quarter. Knott said he was proud of his Kings squad despite the outcome.
“They didn’t quit,” Knott said. “They’ve been like this all year. …With 15 wins, they should be very proud to get to the sectional finals and get the opportunity to play a team like this.”
Kings (15-10) – Brown 2 0 5, Bruns 1 0 2, Hayes 2 0 4, Williams 2 0 6, Kircher 2 0 6, Rhodes 1 1 3, Biesbrock 1 1 3. Totals: 11 6 29
Mason (22-2) – Mason 3 1 9, Mowbray 2 04, Puisis 4 4 12, Van Kleunen 5 2 12, Campbell 4 3 11, Norton 0 2 2, A. Reichert 1 0 2, J. Reichert 0 2 2, Brinkman 3 1 7, Reddington 0 1 1, Fulton 1 0 2. Totals: 24 11 64.
3-pointers: K 6 (Williams, Kircher, Brown, Biesbrock). M 5 (Puisis 4, Mason).