Sunday, March 22, 2015

Wayne Train outlasts Springfield, makes 1st ever State Appearance; Dunbar snatches state berth from Franklin; C-J headed back to state led by Vest

Going into the weekend, 5 schools from Southwest Ohio had a chance to get to state.
4 of the teams would have to play each other to get there.
After this epic weekend of hoops?

Dunbar, Wayne, and C-J all will head to Columbus as they clinched berths to Ohio HS State semifinals on Saturday.  Here's the recap:

A.J. Harris goes up over Austin Doliboa and Matt Thompson

Dunbar pulls off comeback, defeats Franklin in OT

 In the words of  Dunbar Coach Powell,  "Pressure bursts pipes."
And that was no more evident in this prime time matchup, which featured superstar players, great coaching, a almost sold out Arena, ruckus fans, and more twists and turns than your favorite roller coaster at Kings Island.
   In what may be billed in the future as the High School game of the Decade, Franklin dictated the first half, took control in the 3rd, only to have Dunbar come back from a 10- point deficit in the final quarter. Sophomore wing Chris Jackson  then hit one of his 2 huge 3's to send the game into OT. Dunbar used a late miss by Kennard and a free throw by A.J. Harris to take the final lead (77-76) and a missed 30-ft shot by Kennard to get back to state since 2012 - Harris freshman year.

Franklin had every chance to win the game, but could not shut the door on the Wolverines.

Luke Kennard passes Jay Burleson on All-Time Scoring List

    They led by 13 in the 3rd, led by 10 midway through the 4th and by 6 with less than 2 minutes remaining in the game. Kennard was dominant (41 pts, 9 reb), and it seemed that the Wildcats would claw their way to the first EVER State appearance.
   But A.J. Harris woke up in the final quarter (23 pts, 9 dimes) and it was no doubt that he would not let the Wolverines die. After a airball early in the 4th, Dunbar coach Pullen grabbed his senior captain and told him to "calm down" and to "play his game." And indeed he did, as he showed all 12,000+  people why he will be attending Ohio State next year. 

When the game was over? Stunned faces on the Franklin faithful. Anger on the players faces.
When I spoke with Franklin coach Brian Bales after the game, he didn't have many words. Just in shock. Felt like his squad had it. As he looked over the empty arena, one could only imagine what was going on in his and his teams mind. It was a great season, but was almost magical. And now its over.
That "Damn AJ Harris" he said.

As for Dunbar?  Jubilation. Exhalation. Celebration. And preparation. For the moment.
For these moments.
Chris Jackson cuts down the nets after Huge 3's

They'll be heading to state and solidifying themselves as The marquee high school in Dayton.
                                No pressure on the Wolverines. No pressure at all.

Wayne Train rolls through Wildcats late to get to first ever State Semifinals

Wayne Train gets to first ever State for HS Hoops
 (courtesy of Image Jock)

With all that happened with these two teams there was no doubt that Wayne and Springfield would be fired up Saturday. A state berth on the line, two talented programs, a altercation earlier in the season, and with everything on the line?
  It was all that and then some.

   Springfield jumped out early, and seemed to set the tone of the game, along with the officials, with lots of fouls calls early as they didn't want any physical problems like in the earlier game.
And yes, the game was chippy.

  But Springfield seemed to play with more moxie and coolness, and looked to be the more experienced squad in the first half, as they held a small lead.

Despite early foul trouble, Wayne was able to stay in the game. Danny Davis and Darius Harper provided the bulk of the work for the "Field" to gain that momentum.
Brawl between the "Field" and "WayneTrain"

   However, in the second half the Wayne Train got going and with their State title hopes on the line, a early National Ranking to boot, D-1 players all over the roster, a top notch coaching staff, and all the expectations and disappointment that might follow? Could they rise up?
The Wayne Train got rolling and outscored the Wildcats by 12 in the fourth to capture its first ever State berth. Coach Travis Trice, while super excited, celebrated with the squad, then had to hit the road to watch Travis Trice Jr. (Michigan St) as they take on Virginia in the NCAA tourney.

Dayton bound hoopers Trey Landers, Xeyrius Williams, and  junior sensation Roderick Caldwell led the Wayne Train to the W.

Ironically, the Wayne Train will take on the same team it did in the State Football semifinals.
 Friday 8:30  vs  Cleveland St Edwards

Congrats to Wayne and its organization. They deserve it. And salute a young Springfield team who will be back next season.

C-J pulls away from Cin. Schroder, gets to another state

Eagles back to State in D-3

C-J  moves to another state after defeating Cin. Schroder 68-53. The Eagles (22-6) pulled away late in the game as Alan Vest hit some huge baskets to get them over the hump.
 Last season Cin. Schroder lost to the Eagles, and were ready for the battle. But C-J kept its composure, and once again  reached the State. Coach Staley knows his team will be tested, but was extremely proud of the team. 
The Eagles only want state appearances and titles, and will have another legit chance to bring one back to the Miami Valley.
Salute the Eagles, as they once again show that they can produce in pressure packed situations, in front of a packed house at Trent Arena.
Can they win the D-3 Title?

With that being said, Dayton has a team in  the D-1, D-2 and D-3 State semifinals.
Don't get much better than that for the Miami Valley.
Can we go 3 for 3? Very possible.

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