Two Clark County schools are on a collision course to meet in the Division IV postseason.
With one more win, the Irish and the Lions will meet in a D-IV sectional final game — but neither team is looking past its next opponent.
Second-seeded Catholic Central beat No. 12 Jefferson 56-42, while No. 3 Emmanuel Christian beat ninth-seeded Tri-County North 57-47 in a D-IV first round on Saturday afternoon at Troy High School.
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The Irish (19-3) will play 11th-seeded Yellow Springs (5-17) at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Troy. Catholic Central beat the Bulldogs 69-59 last season.
The Bulldogs have won two straight, beating Ansonia and Jefferson in its final two games of the regular season. Yellow Springs’ Andrew Clark is one of the top scorers in the Metro Buckeye Conference, averaging 17.5 points per game.
“We’ve got to do our job, do the things we know how to do and hopefully we can come away with a win,” said Irish coach Cody Sarensen.
Emmanuel Christian (18-5) will face conference rival Miami Valley (9-12) at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Troy. The Rams beat Tri-Village 51-42 in a first round game at Troy.
Emmanuel and Miami Valley split the season series, each winning on its home court. The Rams won the last meeting 47-42 on Jan. 5.
“It really kind of took us out of the conference running,” said Lions coach Danny Moore.
Catholic Central 56, Jefferson 42: Irish senior Mykah Eichie scored a game-high 16 points, while senior Trey Dunn had 13 points and senior Sabien Doolittle added 11 for the Irish.
Catholic Central led 33-21 at the half, but the Broncos went on a 8-1 run to cut the lead to five at 34-29.
From that point forward, the Irish went on a 10-2 run to take a 44-31 lead after three quarters.
“Give Jefferson credit, they played hard,” Sarensen said. “They pressure you on defense. They challenged a lot of the stuff we did.”
The Irish worked hard to get to the foul line and spent most of the second half in the double bonus. They went 20-for-32 from the free throw line, making six in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
Catholic Central had 12 turnovers and gave up seven offensive rebounds in the game. They also missed multiple layups around the rim, Sarensen said.
“When all three of those things are happening, it’s going to be difficult to win games,” he said. “Tonight was a lack of attention to detail. Our effort wasn’t there all four quarters. Our seniors know that, they’ve been through this, been playing here for years now. This is nothing new to them.”
Emmanuel Christian 57, Tri-County North 47: Lions senior Adonis Davis had 19 points and junior Fred Shropshire added 13 as the Lions advanced to the second round.
Sophomore Dylan Stinson had 24 points and senior Brian Stinson had 11 for Tri-County North.
The Lions hit five 3-pointers in the first half to take a 30-16 lead into the locker room, including two from Brian Jordan.
“He’s normally a defensive specialist for us,” Moore said. “I really attribute the game (to our bench). Those guys had three starters sitting with two fouls and they came out and played solid. It’s nice to have a good bench.”
The Panthers began the second half in a 1-2-2 zone defense, causing turnovers to help cut the lead to five points at 43-38 on two free throws by Panthers senior Preston Jackson.
“Our guys started making a few passes and I’m thinking, ‘What are we doing’,” Moore said.
The Panthers wouldn’t get any closer the rest of the game. The Lions went on a 8-0 run to increase the lead by to 12 at 51-38, including six points from Davis. The senior roamed the high post in Emmanuel’s zone offense.
“He was the center point of being able to pass out of that (zone) or taking it to the basket,” Moore said. “He’s a great player to have in that role.”
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