- Marc Pendleton Staff Writer
Already recognized as an area and state Division I power, the Springfield High School boys basketball team recently had two roster additions that will make the Wildcats even more formidable.
JaJuan Rodgers scored 12 points in Springfield’s 57-44 win at Beavercreek on Tuesday. What’s significant about that? It was only his second game back after suffering an ankle injury in the season opener.
A 6-foot-2 junior, Rodgers was projected as a starter at guard after being a key sub last season. He delivered 17 points in that season-opening blowout of Tecumseh, but he missed the next 13 games while recovering.
His untimely injury coincided with preseason arthroscopic knee surgery that returning starting guard Michael Wallace underwent. He sat out Springfield’s first eight games and is averaging 9.8 points in the eight contests since returning to the lineup.
With Wallace and now Rodgers at full go, Springfield can go at least nine players deep into its lineup with no significant drop-off.
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Junior RaHeim Moss (15.8 points, 6.9 rebounds) has had a breakout season for the Wildcats. Other top players are senior Leonard Taylor (13.3, 9.5), Rodgers (10.7), Wallace (9.4), David Sanford (7.7), Larry Stephens (6.2), Sam Towns (6.1), Jeff Tolliver (4.8) and Jordan Howard (3.7).
Springfield (15-1) lost only at unbeaten Wayne 65-62 in overtime last week. Springfield is at Centerville (10-6) on Friday and hosts D-I defending state runner-up Cincinnati Moeller (13-3) on Saturday. Moeller has lost to three out-of-state powers and appears to be Cincinnati’s strongest D-I team.
Springfield and Moeller have split four high-profile games since 2015, when the Wildcats won 74-72 in OT in the regular season and also won 51-47 in a regional semi. Moeller swept the next two games, winning 64-48 in a 2016 regional semi and 54-51 in the 2016-17 regular season. Don’t be surprised if these two teams play again deep into this postseason.
As for Springfield’s other roster addition? That would be Jaylen Darrell Fredrick Carson, newborn son of Springfield coach Isaiah Carson. The 10-pound package — the family’s third child — arrived home with mom Joti Carson the day of the Wayne game.
“He’s definitely got some basketball in his future and maybe some football,” said Isaiah.
• The Central Buckeye Conference girls Kenton Trail Division title likely won’t be decided until Wednesday’s final games. Tecumseh (15-5, 10-1) crushed Shawnee (13-5, 9-2) on Wednesday, 70-36. That was a great comeback by the Arrows, who were leveled 58-41 at Centerville Monday. Tecumseh will have a rematch at Shawnee at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Kenton Ridge (11-7, 8-3) also is clinging to a title shot. The Cougars are at Northwestern on Saturday and finish CBC play at Tecumseh on Wednesday. Kenton Ridge handed Tecumseh its only CBC loss 56-48 on Jan. 4, but was swept by Shawnee.
Ben Logan (14-6, 8-3) already has clinched its fourth straight CBC Mad River girls title.
• The girls basketball seed meetings for the upcoming sectionals is Sunday. Springfield-area teams will play tourney games at Troy or Butler (D-I), Tecumseh (D-II), Covington or Trotwood-Madison (D-III), and Monroe, Brookville or Sidney (D-IV).
Best bets to earn high seeds are Greeneview, Ben Logan and West Liberty-Salem (D-III) and Cedarville (D-IV).
The boys basketball season is one week behind the girls and will have its sectional tourney draws the following weekend.
• Shawnee (9-6, 7-2) kept itself in the CBC Kenton Trail boys basketball title chase with a 42-36 defeat of leader Jonathan Alder (13-4, 8-1) last weekend. The rematch is Feb. 9 at Alder.
CBC Mad River boys leader Urbana (11-6, 6-3) had an eight-game win streak snapped at Alder on Tuesday, 41-40.
• Catholic Central (13-2, 9-1) appears to be headed toward an Ohio Heritage Conference South Division boys title. West Jefferson (11-6, 9-3) and WL-Salem (12-6, 9-3) are OHC North Division co-leaders.
WL-Salem (14-5, 12-1) is the OHC North Division girls leader. Cedarville (14-4, 12-1) and Greeneview (14-2, 10-1) are 1-2 among OHC South Division girls.