Girls basketball: Springboro rolls, Bellbrook rallies to reach district finals

TROY – The Springboro freshmen and sophomores sure made Mom proud Monday night.

Shot after shot fell for the youngsters – most especially for precocious freshman Ava Wade – in a red-hot first half. And senior guard Haley Crozier, the one they call Mom, was proud.

“Oh, it was amazing,” she said. “We’re a really young team so to get started off that quick was really good for our team because it just kind of carried us on for the rest of the game.”

The second-seeded Panthers (20-5) were never challenged by Greater Western Ohio Conference rival No. 6 Miamisburg and rolled to a 67-34 victory and into their third straight Division I district final this Saturday against Mason (23-2) at Cincinnati Princeton.

“Kudos to Springboro,” Miamisburg coach Allison Jaynes said. “They shot the living daylights out of it, and we just couldn’t recover.”

Sidney’s youth had the edge for a while in the second game, but No. 3 Bellbrook, also a fairly young team, scored 15 straight points in the second half to overcome a 10-point deficit for a 53-44 victory.

Bellbrook (23-2) trailed 35-25 halfway through the third quarter. So coach Jason Tincher turned to full-court pressure and sideline traps in the half court. Fifth-seeded Sidney (19-6), limited to an iron five because of injuries, made some turnovers, stopped making shots and fatigue set in. The Golden Eagles finished the game with a 28-9 run.

“Let’s just throw this press out there, just to try to get them out of rhythm, maybe they’ll shoot a little faster or something, just try to change it up,” Tincher said about his decision to change the defense. “And it worked.”

Taylor Scohy led Bellbrook with 15 points, Dre Pryce had 13 off the bench and made important defensive plays with her quickness, and Ashley Frantz scored 10.

Next for Bellbrook at Princeton on Saturday is Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame (24-0), which has won two of the past three state titles and owns a 96-game winning streak. It’s Bellbrook’s first trip to districts since moving up to Division I three seasons ago. They last went as a Division II team in 2018 and made it to state.

Coach Tom Benjamin has increased Wade’s playing time the past three weeks. She entered the game 4 of 10 from 3-point range with a 3.3 scoring average. In the first half, she made three 3-pointers and scored 13 of her game-high and career-high 17 points.

Wade was assisted by sophomore Morgan Meek’s eight points and two 3-pointers in the half, eight points by sophomore Chloe Downing and six by 6-foot-2 freshman Aniya Trent. And Crozier threw in a three.

“Obviously, when you make the shots that we made in the first half, that doesn’t happen all the time,” Springboro coach Tom Benjamin said. “But the people that made those shots are capable of making those shots.”

Crozier made two 3-pointers in the third quarter and scored 10 of her 15 points in the second half. Downing finished with 13. Crozier knew the young players were talented, but Moms never know for sure how the kids will react.

“They’ve honestly handled it really well,” Crozier said. “A lot better than anyone would have thought for how young they are.”

Monday’s win gave the Panthers 20 wins for the ninth time since 2011. Last year’s more experienced team won 17 games.

“I didn’t anticipate getting to 20 wins this year,” Benjamin said. “This team has exceeded my every expectation. They have been really impressive in the way they’ve handled themselves at the age that they are.”

Miamisburg (14-8) was led by senior point guard Anna Long with 17 points. It was the last game for Long, Addison Frymoyer, Dara Russo and Jordyn Barr.

“Our senior class I can’t say enough about them,” Jaynes said. “Those four really raised our program to a new standard. You didn’t see that tonight, but they put us back on the mark.”

Centerville 67, West Carrollton 37: The Elks advanced to their second straight district final behind Caroline McDowell’s 21 points. Megan Taylor and Molly Scott added 13 points each, and Kendal George scored 12.

The Elks (20-5) will face Cincinnati Winton Woods (24-1) on Saturday at Princeton. West Carrollton finishes 17-6.

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