“These kids have a fierce will to win,” Xenia coach Kent Anderson said. “I don’t know where it comes from all the time. I know there was a point in the fourth quarter when Ricky (Williams) fouled out, Samari came over and told him, ‘Dude, I’ve got your back.’ They’ve all covered for each other all year.”
Fairborn led 27-24 after a back-and-forth first half. The Skyhawks led for most of the third quarter, but Curtis hit a basket late to give the Buccaneers a 37-36 lead. Fairborn had 12 turnovers in the second half.
“We didn’t play our best basketball,” Fairborn coach Nathan Chivington said. “We tried to shuffle some guys because we got in foul trouble, but Samari drew a lot of fouls and got to the line and knocked them down.”
Curtis led the Buccaneers with 25 points, eight of which came from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter. Kobe Hughlett added 13.
The Buccaneers (17-7) are the No. 8 seed in the sectional and will try to knock off the top-seeded Wildcats on Friday.
“They’re fast and athletic but beatable, very beatable,” Curtis said. “We’ve just got to play our game.”
Fairborn finishes 13-11 and will lose five seniors, including guard Branden Lilley, who scored 20 points on Tuesday.
“A lot of these guys have played since they were underclassmen,” Chivington said. “There’s a lot of things that these guys can take as life lessons, and there’s a lot of fine young men in this group that have bright futures.”
Springfield 94, West Carrollton 39: The Wildcats crushed West Carrollton to advance to Friday's sectional final. It's the third consecutive trip to the sectional finals for Springfield.
Though the baskets came early and often against West Carrollton, Springfield coach Isaiah Carson was most pleased with Springfield’s defensive effort. The Pirates (0-23) scored no more than 11 points in any quarter, including in the second half when Springfield played mostly junior varsity players.
The ‘Cats (20-3) were led by Michael Wallace, who scored 16 points.