Springfield’s Leonard Taylor (with ball) works against Centerville defenders Alec Grandin (left) and Jevon Henderson. Centerville hosted Springfield in a boys high school basketball game on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

High School Basketball: Springfield eyes conference title

That’s changed this year. Springfield is 13-2 overall and in first place in the GWOC National East Division with a 7-1 record. In order to win the division, the Wildcats will need to beat two tough league opponents over the next week in Centerville and Wayne.

Danny Davis, who leads Springfield with an average of 18.9 points per game, said the team is motivated to earn a conference title. Springfield hasn’t won a league title since North and South merged in 2008.

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“We’re confident with how we’re playing and we’ve been working hard in practice to keep it up,” Davis said. “We know everybody is going to be ready to play us, so we’ve got to come out and match their intensity.”

Centerville plays at Springfield on Friday night. The Elks are in second place in the National East and lost their first matchup with the Wildcats 46-40 on Jan. 10 .

Springfield coach Isaiah Carson said tournament seeds could be affected by Friday’s outcome. Springfield and Centerville (10-5) are both in the Dayton Division I sectional, and a win by the Wildcats cld help clinch a top seed. Coaches will vote for seeds online next week before the tournament draw Feb. 12.

“We’re confident with our record already, but you don’t want to lose right before the draw,” Carson said. “Honestly though, we are battle-tested now. We’ve learned from our losses and our games that we haven’t played as well, and we’re more patient through a full four quarters. We’ve shown we can play good defensive teams like Moeller or Centerville and be patient.”

RELATED: Strong second half sends Wildcats past Beavercreek

The Wildcats have been boosted in the paint in recent weeks by sophomore forward RaHeim Moss. Moss is averaging four rebounds per game and scored a career-high 18 points against Fairmont on Jan. 20. He added 10 points in the Wildcats’ win over Beavercreek on Tuesday.

“He’s our sparkplug,” Davis said. “He gets second-chance points for us and gets us going. He’s doing a great job of getting rebounds, and we need him to keep that up.”

The Wildcats have a nonconference game at Wilmington on Saturday before traveling to Wayne (13-5, 6-3 GWOC National East) next Friday.

• Northwestern has built a 12-4 record in part thanks to the leadership of senior forward Kurt Waters. Waters, a senior forward, averages 20 points and 11.6 rebounds per game.

But Northwestern coach Gerald Embry said what has made the team so good is having several players who can score if needed. Sophomore guard Evan Noffke averages 13.2 points, and four other players have scored in double figures in multiple games.

“We’ve got a lot of offensive weapons,” Embry said. “By having Evan get involved in a game or Ryan Cleland getting involved or one of our other guys, that means it’s hard to double-team Kurt. When Evan and Ryan get it going, we’ve very dangerous.”

The Warriors host county rival Greenon on Friday night.

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