Akron SVSM and Dayton Thurgood Marshall set up state final rematch in Division II

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Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary earned a shot at its sixth state title on Saturday. (Gary Housteau)

The 89th annual Ohio High School Boys Basketball Tournament started off
with the Division II Final Four on Thursday inside Ohio State’s
Scottenstein Center. The big question was whether or not Akron SVSM and
Dayton Thurgood Marshall would win to set up a rematch of the 2009
final won by the Irish. The answer was yes…


The 89th annual Ohio High School Boys Basketball Tournament started off with the Division II Final Four on Thursday inside Ohio State’s Scottenstein Center. The big question was whether or not Akron SVSM and Dayton Thurgood Marshall would win to set up a rematch of the 2009 final won by the Irish. So…

Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary 49, Columbus Hartley 44

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Akron SVSM started the 89th Annual Ohio State Boy’s Basketball Tournament like a team which had been there several times before, while Columbus Bishop Hartley looked more like a deer in headlights.

The Irish jumped out to a 12-4 lead after eight minutes of play and eventually stretched its lead to 13 before Hartley roared back to take the lead in the final quarter. The Irish regained their composure and were able to recapture the lead and eventually the win, 49-44.

Akron SVSM freshman Victor Dorsey slam sparked a mini run for the Irish giving them a 20-9 lead, but Hartley scored seven of the last nine first half points to close the gap to 22-16 at the break despite shooting 33 percent from the floor. Hartley junior Eric Siefert knocked down a right corner pocket triple as the buzzer sounded.

Lorenzo Cugini paced the Irish in the first half with eight points, while Siefert led the Hawks with five.

The Irish came out of the locker room swinging by scoring the first seven points thanks to a Ricky Johnson Jr. triple, an Aaron Carey steal and hoop, and two freebies from Davonte’ Beard to take a 29-16 lead.

Hartley, who had won close games all year, mounted a comeback late in the 3rd sparked by Siefert to close the gap to 36-33 at the quarter’s end. While the Irish went cold from the floor, the Hawks were plugging away at the lead.

Siefert hit a floater and sophomore Jacob Matuska scored on an inside basket to start the final frame giving Hartley its first lead at 37-36.

The Irish regained the lead on a Cugini rebound and put back. Though, Hartley got it back, but a Johnson three ball gave the Irish the lead for good.

Beard and Cugini knocked down some freebies in the final minute to seal the victory.

Beard had 12 points, seven rebounds, and three assists for the winners.

Siefert led Hartley with 13 points and six rebounds and Matuska added 11 and eight.

*Player of the game:
Lorenzo Cugini (Akron SVSM) scored 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting and four rebounds.

*Stat of the Game: Akron SVSM was 15-of-16 at the charity stripe with Davonte’ Beard going 8-of-8.

Dayton Thurgood Marshall 68, Toledo Rogers 66

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Dayton Thurgood Marshall and Toledo Rogers took the floor in Game 2 of Thursday’s Division II semifinals, but it didn’t appear Rogers got the heads up on the tip time. Thurgood Marshall raced out to a 21-7 lead before Toledo Rogers scored 27 second quarter points to knot the game at 34 by recess.

The contest was tightly played in the second half, but junior Joe Thomasson tipped back his own miss with 17 seconds remaining to give Marshall the lead and eventually the win, 68-66.

Rogers got two looks from three-point range, but both were off the mark.

The Cougars advance to Saturday’s state championship game tilt against Akron SVSM, which is a repeat of the 2009 D-II State Title game. The Irish won that battle.

Marshall played exceptionally well considering its leading scorer and go-to-guy, senior Jordan Watson, was unable to play. In his absence, sophomore Mark Alstork, juniors Joe Ballard and Thomasson, and sophomore Gerry Green stepped it up.

Watson will be able to go on Saturday.

The Cougars had to overcome an 8-of-19 showing behind the arc from Rogers. Sophomore Clemmye Owens connected on 4-of-8 and totaled 14 points for the game.

The game was tied nine times and there were four lead changes.

Alstork led the Cougars (22-5) in scoring with 18, Joe Ballard added 16 including seven dunks, and Green tallied 10 points and snared nine boards.

JR Rayford led the Rams (16-6) with 15 points and six rebounds and senior Damond Powell, who was the AP Division II Player of the Year, notched 12 on just nine attempts.

*Player of the Game: Joe Thomasson (Thurgood Marshall) scored 14 points, dished out eight assists, grabbed four rebounds, and scored the game winning bucket.

*Stat of the Game: Marshall out-scored Rogers in the paint 44-28.

D-II SEMIFINAL PHOTO GALLERY (By Gary Housteau)

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