Springfield earns share of GWOC National East boys basketball title

Springfield boys basketball could get used to this. For the second time in three seasons, Springfield High School owns a Greater Western Ohio Conference National East title.

“I had it in Danny’s (Davis) senior year (2017) and it feels good to get it in my senior year,” said RaHeim Moss following a 71-40 mostly second-half blitz of host Fairmont at Trent Arena on Tuesday night. “It just shows how much hard work we’ve done and how much we fought for this goal. We had these plans since the beginning and we got it.”

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The win clinched a tie for the GWOC divisional title for Springfield (13-8, 10-2), which had lost three of its previous four games, including a 75-72 double-overtime thriller at Wayne last Friday. Centerville (15-5, 9-2) and Wayne (12-8, 9-2) are a half game behind Springfield. The winner of Friday’s Wayne at Centerville showdown will share the divisional title with Springfield. Centerville defeated Beavercreek 70-47 on Tuesday.

Fairmont led by 11 points at the end of the first quarter and 28-21 at halftime and appeared ready to land a significant late-season win. Then Springfield took over. The game morphed into mostly unchecked physicality and 50-12 Wildcats’ advantage.

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Frustrated Fairmont coach Blair Albright drew a deliberate technical foul in anger of the abundance of no-calls and declined to comment. His counterpart, Springfield coach Isaiah Carson, was encouraged by the recently under-performing Wildcats finding a sense of urgency.

“They flew around and picked up their energy and just had fun playing the game,” Carson said. “It’s kind of been like that the last four or five games. We haven’t been enjoying it and just playing hard and for each other. We made a great step in the right direction in going back to that, which made us successful earlier in the year. We got it together (against Fairmont) and it was so much fun seeing our kids smiling and having fun together.”

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That completed a series sweep by the Wildcats, who also won 67-44 at home in early January. Springfield was an outright GWOC National East title in 2017, its first since North and South high schools combined. Prior to that, South was the last to win a conference title in 2005.

Senior David Sanford led Springfield with a game-high 22 points, including 15 in the second half. Moss added 16 points. Ryan Hall led Fairmont (14-7, 5-6) with 11 points and Kellan Bochenek added 10.

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Both teams end the regular season on Friday. Springfield will host Trotwood-Madison (19-2), the state’s top-ranked Division II team, in what promises to be a high-end thriller. Tickets are presale only; none will be sold at the door. Fairmont is at Beavercreek on Friday.

Beyond that, Springfield is a No. 2 seed in the upcoming Division I sectional at Butler and is paired against Tecumseh (4-17) in the first round on Saturday, Feb. 23. Fairmont is a No. 6 seed and gets Franklin (14-6) the same day at Trotwood.

Springfield’s sudden surge of GWOC titles coincides with its postseason success, having been to three D-I regionals in the last four seasons.

“We knew we weren’t playing Springfield basketball,” said Moss, who went unsigned last week and likely will decide this spring whether to pursue football or basketball at the next level. “We had a little talk with each other. We’re just doing the best we can to get ready for the tournament. We can’t take anyone lightly and we’ve got to keep our heads on straight.”

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Butler 47, Sidney 41: The visiting Aviators collected their ninth straight win and secured a share of the GWOC American North title the hard way, without leading scorer and injured Michael Kreill for the second straight game. Senior Braedon Norman scored 18 points and Butler raced to a 15-2 first-quarter lead. Andre Gordon's 16 points led the Yellow Jackets and Ratez Roberts added 10 first-half points.

Butler (19-2, 12-2) can clinch an outright divisional title by defeating visiting Tippecanoe on Friday. Sidney (17-4, 11-3) is one game behind Butler.

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Madison 75, National Trail 72 triple OT: Levi McGonigle scored 23 points and Grant Whisman added 19 as the host Mohawks won a marathon that might have served as a preview to the upcoming D-III sectional at Butler. Cameron Harrison led the Trail Blazers with 31 points, Zach Woodall added 21 and Travis Hunt 14.

Both teams are 18-3. Madison is a No. 3 sectional seed and should get past Dayton Christian, then Milton-Union. Trail is a No. 6 seed and is paired against Cross Country Conference rival and No. 12 seed Arcanum (12-7) in its first tourney game. Arcanum defeated National Trail 47-41 in mid-December. Barring upsets, Madison and National Trail would meet again in a sectional final.

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Xenia 86, West Carrollton 72: Bucs senior Samari Curtis scored 41 points and became the area's third player to surpass 2,000 career points this season, joining Amari Davis of Trotwood and Tecumseh's Corinne Thomas. It was the seventh time in his last 12 games Curtis has tallied 41 or more points. The University of Cincinnati signee also has secured his third straight GWOC scoring title (34.4).

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• Bob Juliano and Steven Long are among 14 area high school officials throughout the state who will be inducted into the Ohio High School Athletic Association Officials Hall of Fame in June. Juliano has officiated football, basketball, baseball, softball and volleyball at all levels for 40-plus years and is an administrator with the Greene County Officials Association. Long is a veteran wrestling official.

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