During each of its three runs to the state tournament under coach David Dennis, the Harvest Preparatory School boys basketball team had to travel a little more than an hour southeast for its final task before getting there.
Ohio University's Convocation Center, which has housed regional tournaments in Divisions III and IV for several years, is a place where the Warriors have created numerous fond memories.
On Thursday, March 14, Harvest Prep will make another trip to OU to face Frankfort Adena in a Division III regional semifinal. The game is slated for 8 p.m., following the other semifinal between Wheelersburg and Magnolia Sandy Valley.
The regional final is at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 16, at the same site.
"We've been there and we haven't lost there since (I've been the coach), but there are some great teams there like Wheelersburg," Dennis said. "We've just got to keep playing, get better and come up with a game plan and execute."
Harvest Prep, which won Division IV regional titles in 2014 and '15 at OU and a Division III regional title last year at the same venue, takes a 24-2 record into the regional tournament.
Adena beat Chesapeake 53-40 in a district final March 9 at OU to improve to 20-6 and win its first district championship since 1980. Senior guard David Fout is averaging a team-high 15 points for Adena, whose nickname also is Warriors.
Harvest Prep, which was state runner-up in 2007 and '11 under former coach Mike Thornton as well as in 2015 under Dennis, was the top seed for the district tournament.
After beating 11th-seeded Amanda-Clearcreek 74-32 in a district semifinal March 5 at Pickerington North, Harvest Prep edged fourth-seeded Columbus Academy 71-67 in a district final March 8 at Greater Columbus Convention Center.
In the district final, Harvest Prep led 67-64 with 30 seconds left when Christopher Anthony made a pair of free throws. After the Vikings missed a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession, Andrew Tate followed with a dunk to seal the victory.
Soul Hines had 21 points, including five 3-pointers, and Anthony scored 14 to lead Harvest Prep.
"We just played hard the whole game and everybody stepped up," Anthony said. "Everybody had a part. There were times in the game where the game got close, and (our) practices push us so hard that it's regular for us.
"We shot it OK, although not like previous times. But Soul really helped out."
Against Amanda-Clearcreek, Harvest Prep made 14 3-pointers as Anthony had 25 points, Hines scored 12 and Brandon Beavers added 11.
The regional champion will face Cincinnati Purcell Marian, Versailles, Dayton Stivers or Anna in a state semifinal March 21 at Ohio State.
Last season, Harvest Prep lost to Africentric 54-52 in a state semifinal to finish 28-1 despite getting 20 points from Anthony and 13 from Hines.
Beavers and Elijah Glenn also are returnees from that team.
"We talked all week about not wavering in our faith," Dennis said. "We have nine seniors and they wanted it and they found a way to persevere. Soul got hot (against Academy) and we got some stops and that helped. (Academy) had an excellent game plan, but we found a way with some execution and some heart."