Drew Sosby, Jackson Center’s talented and designated launcher, had seen every defensive alignment possible assigned to him. But no team was as successful as Van Wert Lincolnview in fulfilling that tough task.
With Sosby held relatively in check, Lincolnview pulled after in the final quarter and toppled Jackson Center 52-39 in a boys high school basketball Division II state semifinal at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center on Friday.
“It was tough,” said Sosby, the state’s D-IV tri-player of the year after being held to seven points on 3-of-19 shooting. “It was one of those nights where the ball didn’t fall and that’s part of basketball.”
The win vaults Lincolnview (27-1) into Saturday’s D-IV state championship at the Schott against Willoughby Cornerstone (16-12), which defeated Columbus Wellington 73-67 in Friday’s other D-IV semi and opener.
PLAYER OF YEAR: Sosby tri-D-IV player of year
Junior center Brady Wildermuth extended his postseason success, scoring a game-high 20 points to go with four rebounds. Ethan Zorn and Trent Platfoot each added six points.
But Van Wert countered with a shutdown defense and balanced scoring, led by Chandler Adam’s 14 points. Trevor Neate added 12 points and Austin Leeth 10.
Jackson Center (24-5) trailed by two points going into the decisive fourth quarter then had its offense unplugged.
“I can’t speak enough about the importance and impact Drew and Brady have had on this team and the success we’ve had,” Tigers coach Scott Elchert said. “We would not be here if it wasn’t for either of these young men. Their length affected us. To Drew’s credit, he was probably shooting against a longer arm than he has a lot this year.”
It was the second final four for Jackson Center in the last five seasons. The Tigers were the D-IV state runners-up in 2012 and way back in 1963 (Class B).
Lincolnview won a small-school state title in 1997 and was runner-up in ’96, losing to Springfield Catholic Central.