Boys basketball: Miamisburg beats Springfield to earn first Division I district berth

Credit: Michael Cooper

Credit: Michael Cooper

CENTERVILLE — The Miamisburg High School boys basketball team finally got over the district semifinal hump.

The Vikings beat Springfield 83-49 on Friday night at Centerville High School to advance to a Division I district final game for the first time in school history.

“We’ve been knocking on the door in the past,” said Vikings coach Tim Fries. “I’ve been here 14 years and we’ve knocked on the door a few times, but we’ve never been able to get over the hump. This was the team that was destined to do it. I’m just so proud of them because of all the things that are going on, not knowing if you’re going to be practicing tomorrow or is this guy is going to be gone. They’ve just stayed the course and played unselfish basketball.”

Senior Evan Logan scored a career-high 31 points, sophomore Jackson McGohan had 14 and junior Anthony Coppock added 12 as the Vikings improved to 17-7 overall.

Junior Eddie Muhammad scored 12 points, while senior Vincent Fisher added 11 for Springfield, which finished its season 10-11.

“They made a lot of shots,” said Wildcats coach Shawn McCullough. “I give them credit with the way they shot it. Coach Fries did an excellent job in having them prepared. We were prepared, but it was one of those things where the clock struck twelve on us. It was a bad night. We picked a bad night to have a bad night.”

The Vikings led 21-12 after the first quarter. Logan opened the game wide open in the second quarter, hitting five 3-pointers to give the Vikings a 47-22 lead at the half.

“It was crazy,” Logan said. “I’ve never felt like that before, but it was great to hit some shots. It was a great team win. We did everything we needed to do, took care of the ball. It was a great win.”

Logan is a gym rat who is constantly on in the gym working on his shooting, Fries said.

“He dedicated himself a couple years ago and he’s just improved,” Fries said. “He just wears the net out shooting the basketball and he was bound to have a game like this. It’s nice it happened at this time of the year. His teammates knew it and kept finding him. It was a lot of fun.”

The key to the victory was handling Springfield’s pressure, Fries said. The Wildcats beat Miamisburg in their first meeting on Jan. 5.

“We saw them go for 101 (points against West Carrollton) two nights ago,” he said. “We knew they were really dangerous with their pressure, but we feel really fortunate. Our ball movement was really good tonight. If you can move the ball against pressure, it’s going to give you opportunity and we were able to come out on top with that.”

Springfield will graduate three seniors in Fisher, Josh Tolliver and Kamari Williams. The Wildcats advanced to the district semifinals for the seventh straight season, despite several bumps in the road including a late start and multiple quarantines.

“It hurts,” said McCullough, who is in his first season at Springfield. “Everybody in the locker room was upset. It’s one of those nights. It’s not one of those things where you live to fight another day. You have to say goodbye to your seniors and move on and get prepared for next year.”

The Wildcats will return several players with varsity experience, including Muhammad, Micha Johnson, Delian Bradley, Tyron Barnes and Aaron Scott.

“We’ll be really good,” McCullough said. “Teams will have to watch out for us. We’ll be really good and we’ll get a whole summer with them.”

The Vikings advanced to face the winner of Saturday night’s game between Moeller and Middletown on Saturday, March 6, at a time and place to be determined.

“When you haven’t been in a district championship before and you haven’t had the opportunity to do that, you’re taking it game by game,” Fries said. “We’ll get ready for them, but I think we’re going to enjoy this one tonight.”

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