Trotwood-Madison responds to regional semifinal challenge by South

Trotwood-Madison was pushed to its limit for the first time in the postseason against Columbus South. And the Rams answered by doing what comes best.

“We always say, when adversity hits, just run through it,” junior Amari Davis said following a deceptive 79-60 eventual blowout of South in a boys high school basketball Division II regional semifinal at Fairmont’s Trent Arena on Wednesday night. “We were down but we kept fighting and stayed together and got through it.”

»RELATED: Trotwood responds to South’s challenge

The victory sends Trotwood (24-3) into a regional final at 3 p.m. Saturday against Cincinnati Hughes (24-3). Hughes advanced by defeating Cincinnati Metro Conference rival Woodward 68-46 in the second game of Thursday’s semifinal doubleheader.

»RELATED: Wayne “finds a way”

Trotwood will take a 17-game win streak against Hughes. The Rams haven’t lost since falling to Georgia public-school power McEachem in Flyin’ to the Hoop way back on Jan. 13. The regional champion joins the D-II state final four at Columbus next week.

South (22-5), coming out of the Columbus City League and Central District, seemed destined to pull a massive upset. The Bulldogs were beating the Rams in all facets and had a 14-0 run in the second quarter to prove it.

»RELATED: Rams, coach reunited in regional

South raced to a double-digit lead as halftime neared. The pro-Trotwood crowd repeatedly beckoned the Rams to switch gears and they finally did in the second half.

As usual, Davis and senior Myles Belyeu were key in reigniting the Rams’ tourney mojo. Davis went for a game-high 30 points and Davis added 20. Both made drives to the basket their staples. That’s why both were first team All-Southwest District.

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“When you’ve got a kid like Amari Davis on the floor good things are going to happen,” said coach Rocky Rockhold, who rejoined the Rams after serving a two-game suspension for getting two technicals in a sectional win.

“We isolate them as much as we can and try to get the ball in their hands. That’s what I love about this team. They know where to go with it and they know when it’s their turn and they do a great job of getting it to them.”

Justin Stephens continues to be an inside factor for Trotwood and added nine points. Malachi Matthews was good for eight more.

»RELATED: Boys regional pairings/results

South wilted under Trotwood’s 45-24 second-half surge. Jeremiah Green led the Bulldogs with 13 points.

“When you let a guy get 30 points and it’s all layups, that’s bad defense,” said South coach Ramon Spears, who’s led the Bulldogs into two regionals the past four seasons. “You can’t win a tourney game like that.”

Cin. Hughes 68, Cin. Woodward 46: Giovanni Santiago scored 15 first-quarter points, including three 3-pointers, and led Hughes with 25 points. Dwayne Rosado added 21 points.

»RELATED: Girls state final four pairings/results

Demontez Cooper led Woodward (17-10) with 18 points. Terry Durham, who wrecked Dunbar in a district final, had 14 points and misfired on 10 of 16 free throws.

Trotwood and Hughes didn’t play in the regular season but were matched in a preseason scrimmage.

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• Two regional titles will be decided on Friday. Wayne (25-1) plays Moeller (24-3) in a D-I final at Xavier University’s Cintas Center at 7:30 p.m. At Trent, it’s Marion Local (22-4) against Fort Loramie (25-2) in D-IV. Those winners also advance to state final fours.

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