Southeastern survives Catholic Central, heads back to district

Southeastern High School’s boys basketball team is going back to the district tournament for the second straight year, but the Trojans didn’t make it without a fight.

In a physical, knock-down, crash-the-boards game, the Trojans got all they imagined they would get from Springfield Catholic Central in a Division IV sectional final Saturday night at Troy.

“They’re very physical and they use their bodies well,” Southeastern coach Brian Hecker said. “We knew that was where the game was going to be won or lost.”

The third-seeded Irish trailed the top-seeded Trojans by 14 late in the third quarter. But the Irish kept banging away inside and cut the deficit to three with 52 seconds left. But that was the end of the comeback. The Trojans made 5 of 6 free throws and escaped with a 49-43 victory.

The Trojans (24-1) will play Cincinnati Christian at 9:30 p.m. on Friday at UD Arena.

“We knew we could get back here,” Trevor King said. “It was just a matter of playing together. I’m pretty excited to get back to UD.”

King was a big part of the victory with 14 of his 22 points in the first half. The Trojans thrived on fast breaks to take a 24-21 lead. Then King sccored six points in the third as the lead grew to 40-26.

“He’s one of the most underappreciated players in this area,” Hecker said. “We’re not here without him for sure.”

Andrew Lyons added 11 points and Colton spears eight for the Trojans, who beat Fort Loramie in overtime in the districts last year before falling in the regional semifinals.

“”It’s different going as a coach, and you get so much more satisfaction out of that,” Hecker said. “I’m really excited and couldn’t be more proud of my guys.”

First-year Irish coach Cody Sarensen feels the same pride in his team after a 15-10 season.

“I like to say I’m pretty blessed and lucky to get the group of guys I got this year,” he said. “It’s incredible how much they compete day in and day out, especially when it seems like momentum shifts. They find a way to come back.”

Cossy Cantanzaro scored 19 points and teamed with Jacob Woeber (eight poiints) to lead the comeback with strong post moves and offensive rebounds that resulted in points. What hurt the Irish, though, was making only 7 of 20 free throws.

“Just to be physical and wear them out was the game plan,” Sarensen said. “Overall, defensively and offensively execution worked for us. There were just a couple of key stops and big momentum plays we couldn’t stop. And it came back to the foul shooting as well.”

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