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.
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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.
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“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.
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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.
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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.
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