Division IV Semifinals: Jackson Center and Berlin Hiland set up clash of No. 1s

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Berlin Hiland earned a shot at defneding its D-IV title with a 46-37 win over Arlington.

The Division IV state semifinals tipped off the 90th annual OHSAA Boys Basketball State Tournament on Thursday. Berlin Hiland was looking to earn a shot at defending it’s state title, while Columbus Africentric was looking to match its girls program, which won the D-IV title last week. Who survived? Here’s how things played out…


DIVISION IV STATE SEMIFINALS

The Division IV state
semifinals tipped off the 90th annual OHSAA Boys Basketball State
Tournament on Thursday at Ohio State Schottenstein Center. Berlin Hiland was looking to earn a shot at defending it’s state title, while Columbus Africentric was looking to match its girls program, which won the D-IV title last week. Who survived? Here’s how things played
out…

Jackson Center 53, Columbus Africentric 50

The often overused cliché “it’s not how you start, but how you finish” was never more true than Thursday’s opener of the OHSAA’s 2012 Boy’s State Basketball Tournament. Unbeaten Jackson Center (27-0) came from as many as 15 points down to knock off Columbus Africentric 53-50 in a more than stellar opener.

The Nubians (22-4) stormed out to a 14-2 lead thanks to a barrage of treys from junior guard Kenny Robinson and senior Fuquan Tucker. Though, the Tigers closed the gap to 16-10 by the quarter’s end.

The Columbus-based school enjoyed its biggest lead with just over three minutes to play in the half in the way of a 28-13 count. However, the scrappy Tigers clawed their way back into the contest by halftime thanks to an 8-2 spurt, which cut the Nubians lead to 30-21.

JC scored the first bucket out of the locker room, but Africentric countered with a mini 4-0 spurt. The Tigers then started settling in from behind the arc with senior Andy Hoying and junior Alex Meyer both connecting on long range shots to cut the lead to 42-38 after three.

The final period was nip-and-tuck when Jackson Center freshman Gavin Wildermuth cashed in a triple to knot the game at 46 with 4:45 showing on the game clock. Hoying would follow with a bucket just moments later to give the Tigers their first lead of the contest.

Senior Hosie Smith answered on the interior for the Nubians and Meyer followed with another deep triple. Smith once again answered for the Nubians to draw within a single point, but Wildermuth calmly sank two free-throws in a one-plus-one situation following a turnover by Africentric. Two three-point attempts came up short for the Nubians sealing the victory.

Meyer led JC with 16 points and Hoying added 15 and eight boards.

Smith paced the Nubians with 19 points and seven rebounds. Robinson netted 13 and senior Fuquan Tucker contributed 10 points and seven rebounds.

*Player of the Game: Alex Meyer of Jackson Center finished with 16 points including four treys in big spots.

*Stat of the Game: Africentric was 5-of-8 from behind the arc in the first, but was 0-of-4 in the second. JC was just 2-of-8 shooting the triple in the first 16 minutes, but countered with a 5-of-9 showing in the closing half. . 

Berlin Hiland 46, Arlington 37

In semifinal No. 2, a scrappy Arlington squad gave defending Division IV champion Berlin Hiland all they wanted for much of the contest, but it was too much Dylan Kaufman down the stretch helping the Hawks score a 46-37 victory.

The Red Devils, who were making their first trip to Columbus, set the tone early that the Northwest Ohio squad was there to compete. Senior Thayne Recker (6 points) and sophomore guard Andrew Hunter (5 points) helped Arlington to a 14-10 lead after a quarter. Hiland’s Neil Gingerich had a pair of inside buckets and a couple freebies for six.

Hiland turned the tide in the second period thanks to a 15-6 quarter giving the Hawks a 25-20 lead at the break. Kaufman totaled six points in the quarter and 6-7 senior Seger Bonifant netted seven.

The two teams battled it out in the third stanza with the Hawks holding a 9-7 advantage, but the fourth belonged to Kaufman. The Findlay signee scored 10 points in the final chapter with most coming in the final minutes. The 6-4 senior closed liked a true thoroughbred to help his team reach Saturday’s state title encounter with undefeated Jackson Center.

Kaufman finished with 20 points and 6-7 classmate Gingerich enjoyed a monster afternoon by scoring 12 points, grabbing 13 rebounds, blocking seven shots, and handing out three assists.

Recker led Arlington with 14 points and seven rebounds and Hunter meshed 11.

*Player of the Game: Neil Gingerich 12 points, 13 rebounds, seven blocks, and three assists.

*Stat of the Game: Hiland out scored Arlington 34-24 in the paint.

D-IV Final: Jackson Center vs Berlin Hiland, Saturday, 10:30 a.m.

LISTEN LIVE: State Final (OHSAA Radio Network)

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Photos by Gary Housteau (JJHuddle.com)

Jackson Center 53, Columbus Africentric 50

Berlin Hiland 46, Arlington 37

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