CENTERVILLE — It is always difficult to defeat the same opponent three times in one season, but Northmont did just that Saturday evening by scoring a 62-50 victory over Springboro in the Division I Dayton 2 sectional final at Centerville High School.
Northmont improved to 20-4 overall and advances to district play against Cincinnati La Salle this Saturday at U.D. Arena, time to be announced. With the loss Springboro ends its season at 13-12 overall.
The Panthers came out ready to play and held one point leads at the end of the first two quarters before Northmont took control in the second half. Senior guard Christian Wilson scored seven of his game-high 18 points in the third quarter to help the Thunderbolts take a 42-38 lead entering the final quarter.
Senior forward Vinson Walker took control of the paint in the fourth quarter and scored eight points in the final eight minutes to finish with 12. Rodney Richardson tallied 10 and the official scorer awarded Maurice Beavers with 10, but he finished with nine. Beavers was at the free throw line and sank the first shot when Northmont sent four subs into the game. Beavers took a second and then a third shot and made all three when he should have only taken two shots.
Beavers came through with a big spin move in the second quarter to tie the game 27-27. With Springboro leading by one DaLonte Capers blocked a shot from behind to prevent a certain score by the Panthers.
Trailing by three in the third quarter Wilson buried a 3-pointer to knot the score at 34. Beavers and Anthony Dorsey both blocked shots and Walker came up with a steal that led to a basket by Wilson and Walker later scored on a put-back to give the Thunderbolts a 42-38 lead entering the final quarter.
From there Northmont pulled away to post the 12 point victory.
“Really, all three of our games against Springboro have been very similar,” said Northmont Coach Collin Abels.
Northmont won the first meeting by 20 points but trailed by one at halftime and in the second game the Thunderbolts won by nine but didn’t pull away until the fourth quarter.
“This game was kind of the same way,” Abels noted. “Their personnel is as good as ours. I think we are a little bit deeper. They have a good coach, but I am proud of our guys. I told them we won this game for three reasons. One: we had two great practices on Thursday and Friday, so I knew they were mentally and physically ready; Two: We have a third group of five players that basically goes out there and know that they aren’t going to play in the game unless something really good or really bad has happened, but they practice their butts off and get no notoriety. Those five guys were huge in getting us ready for this game, and then the third reason is just our seniors. We have eight great seniors that believe and are just having the times of their lives and we are just going to continue to let it ride. We are league champs, sectional champs and now it is time to get ready for the district. We know we are going to face a really good La Salle team that plays a lot like we do, so we have to have a good week of preparation to get ready to head down to U.D. next Saturday.”
SPR 16 30 38 50 – 50
NMT 15 29 42 62 – 62
Springboro: Christian James 7, Pickle Pluta 12, Kaleb Tabor 8, Alec Holtray 10, Trey Varinsky 8, Thomas Arrington 4, Noah Kelley 1. Totals: 19-9-50.
Northmont: Jabari Perkins 3, Rodney Richardson 10, Christian Wilson 18, Maurice Beavers 9, Vinson Walker 12, Arius Spears 2, Donavin Wallace 4, DaLonte Capers 4. Totals: 22-14-62.
3-point goals: Springboro 3 (Holtray 2, Pluta); Northmont 5 (Richardson 2, Wilson 2, Perkins).
Records: Springboro 13-12, Northmont 20-4.