Centerville withstands Springfield; Moeller next in D-I regional final

Centerville defeated Springfield 67-63 in a boys high school basketball Division I regional semifinal at Xavier University’s Cintas Center on Wednesday night.

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The win moves Centerville (22-5) into Saturday night’s 7 p.m. regional final against unbeaten and defending D-I state champ Cincinnati Moeller (26-0) also at Cintas. That winner advances to next week’s state final four at Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center.

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Moeller advanced by defeating Lakota East 47-33 in the D-I regional semi opener also Wednesday.

It was the third time Centerville and Springfield (17-10) played after splitting two regular-season games and each losing at home.

Centerville 6-9 junior center Mo Njie was outstanding. He had 14 points, 12 rebounds, 12 blocks and altered many more Springfield shots. Davis Mumaw led the Elks with 15 points. Jason Sneed added 12 and Ryan Ballard 11.

David Sanford led the Wildcats with 20 points. Ra’Heim concluded his outstanding Springfield career with 16 points and four assists.

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Centerville will bring an 18-game win streak against Moeller. Ironically, Moeller was the last team to beat Centerville, laying a 54-33 decision on the visiting Elks way back on Jan. 5. The defending D-I state champ, Moeller hasn’t lost to an Ohio team since the 2017 D-I state final to Massillon Jackson.

However, Centerville likely will be without starting senior guard Ryan Marchal against Moeller. Unquestionably the hard-edged leader of the Elks, he drew two technical fouls within 33 seconds of the final 1:09 against Springfield. Ohio High School Athletic Association rules mandate players or coaches are suspended for the team’s next two games if receiving two techs.

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Centerville coach Brook Cupps indicated he’ll appeal the ruling. If suspended, the only way Marchal could play again is if Centerville beats Moeller and wins a state semifinal, then plays for a D-I state championship on Saturday, March 23.

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