Trotwood withstands Hughes’ comeback to win D-II regional title

Ahead big early, Trotwood-Madison withstood a strong Cincinnati Hughes comeback to win a boys basketball regional championship 84-74 on Saturday afternoon at Fairmont’s Trent Arena.

Trotwood (25-3) qualifies for the Division II high school state final four for the season straight season. Rams will play Byesville Meadowbrook (22-6) in a D-II state semifinal at 10:45 a.m. Friday at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center in Columbus. Meadowbrook advanced with a 36-31 defeat of John Glenn also on Saturday.

The other state semi will feature defending D-II state champ Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (19-8) against Lexington (23-5) at 2 p.m. Friday. The semi winners advance to the Saturday, March 24 championship at 5:15 p.m.

Akron SVSM upset Trotwood on a last-second shot in last year’s D-II state semifinals, 62-60. The Rams had won a regular-season matchup with the Irish by 39 points.

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Trotwood raced to a 20-point lead late in the first half against Hughes, out of the Cincinnati Metro Conference. The Big Red made a second-half run, mainly benefitting from Trotwood’s free throw inaccuracy (23 of 45).

Myles Belyeu led Trotwood with 24 points. Amari Davis added 18 points and Carl Blanton 17.

»RELATED: Boys regional pairings/results

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Hughes (24-4) received 20 points apiece from Giovanni Santiago and D.J. Brewton. A.J. Smith added 18 points.

It was the first time in six postseason matchups the Rams didn’t post a blowout win. Trotwood will take an 18-game win streak into the final four, its fourth and all since the 2006 Rams were runner-up in D-I. Among the most winningest big-school area programs the last 20 years, Trotwood has never won a state title.

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The Rams also are in contention for a rare football/basketball state-title double. Trotwood completed a 15-0 season by winning a D-III state football championship last December.

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