Springfield rallied in the final quarter to overcome a record-setting performance by Sidney’s Andre Gordon to win its fifth straight boys high school basketball Division I sectional championship with a 65-60 defeat of the Yellow Jackets before a capacity crowd at the Student Activity Center in Vandalia on Saturday night.
Springfield (16-9) will play Cincinnati Elder (14-10) in one of four D-I district finals on Saturday at the University of Dayton Arena (9 p.m.). Elder won its fourth straight game by defeating Sycamore 56-42 in overtime on Saturday.
Springfield vs. Elder will be a rematch of last season, when Springfield eliminated Elder 51-45 in a district final also at UD. Springfield has won three D-I district championships in the last four seasons.
Trailing throughout, Springfield overtook Sidney with four free throws to end the third quarter, including three by Ra’Heim Moss. Ani Elliot followed with a bucket and Moss’ 3-pointer put Springfield up 51-45 early in the fourth.
Sidney (20-5) cut its deficit to two points with a couple minutes left, but didn’t come closer. Springfield converted seven of 10 fourth quarter free throws.
“We were getting to the rim all night long, but we just weren’t finishing at a high level,” Springfield coach Isaiah Carson told the Sidney Daily News. “But the second half we got some finishes and starting making some free throws, so that helped out a lot.”
Moss had 18 points to pace the Wildcats. David Sanford added 15 points and Larry Stephens 12. It was the second straight season Springfield defeated Sidney to win a sectional title and was the first time the teams had played since that 63-62 Wildcats’ win.
Gordon, a senior guard, was scoreless in the first quarter but went for a game-high 25 points. His free throw with 1:22 left in the third quarter put him at 2,000 career points. Signed with Virginia Tech, Gordon is Sidney’s all-time career points leader (2,013) to go with 550 career assists.
Joining Springfield in a district final is Greater Western Ohio Conference National East rival Centerville (20-5), which is paired against Mason (18-4) at 3 p.m. Saturday at UD. Springfield and Centerville tied for the National East title with 10-2 records. Springfield and Centerville split their regular-season series.
A third GWOC National East rep also will emerge between the winner of Monday’s sectional final between Fairmont (16-8) and Wayne (14-9) at Centerville. That game was postponed from Saturday.
Trotwood-Madison (23-2), also of the GWOC, has advanced to a D-II district final. Springfield lost its regular-season finale to Trotwood, 94-87. The Wildcats have since beaten Tecumseh, Troy and now Sidney in the postseason.
All the D-I district final winners advance to the D-I regional semifinals at Xavier University’s Cintas Center on Wednesday, March 13. The regional semi winners will play in a regional final on Friday, March 15, with a trip to the state final four at stake.
Springfield lost to eventual D-I state champ Moeller in the regional semis last season. Moeller (24-0) will play Cincinnati Winton Woods (15-8) in a D-I district final also on Saturday at UD.