Isaiah Carson was beaming as if he had just played 32 grueling minutes. And why not? Anytime the Springfield High School boys basketball team can post a win at rival Wayne, it’s a great night.
“We’re proud to be one of the top in the area,” admitted Springfield’s coach following a 56-54 win at Wayne on Friday night. “Our goal is to get to one of the top in the state overall. We’ll keep working and we like our progress. We like where we’re at.”
That’s a given, but it’s the first time a Springfield boys team has won an outright Greater Western Ohio Conference division title since 2005. Springfield (16-2, 9-1) has two GWOC National East games remaining but can’t be overtaken by either Wayne (14-7, 7-4) or Centerville. Springfield South was the last Wildcats team to do that, a year after Carson graduated from there.
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The clutch win also secures a likely No. 1 seed in the Division I sectional meeting on Sunday. It also likely did no harm to Wayne, which could snare a No. 2 seed.
As usual, Danny Davis paced the driven Wildcats. He hit five 3-pointers and scored a game-high 26 points, none more crucial than a baseline three with one minute left to put Springfield back up for good, 55-54. Leonard Taylor swatted a Wayne shot and sank a free throw with 3.2 ticks left for the final margin.
Darius Quisenberry, Wayne’s talented guard who became eligible in mid-season after transferring from Tecumseh, missed an off-balance 3-pointer at midcourt as the buzzer sounded. That set off a raucous celebration by an abundant Springfield crowd.
The contest sold out two days in advance. It also completed a two-game regular season sweep of the Warriors by the Wildcats.
Springfield led by 14 points midway through the third quarter before Wayne launched a comeback. The Warriors, just two seasons removed from a D-I state title and coming off a 25-1 season, were playing without leading scorer and rebounder L’Christian “Blue” Smith, who missed his third straight game with a back injury that’s not considered serious.
“They punched us in the chin but we didn’t fold and we kept battling back,” Davis said. “That’s what’s great about this team. We don’t ever panic. We stay together and just fight through it. It was good to have that.”
Mike McKay had two 3-pointers and added 10 points for Springfield. Isaiah Trice, the senior son of Wayne coach Travis Trice, led the Warriors with 19 points. Quisenberry added 11 and Ray James 10.
“We stayed poised and took their best shot,” Carson said. “We could have folded but this team doesn’t fold. We took their best shot on senior night at our main rival.”
View photos and video from the game at SpringfieldNewsSun.com