It didn’t take long for Springfield senior guard Michael Wallace to rebound from Friday’s stinging 79-72 loss at mighty Trotwood-Madison. Not with the end of the regular season in sight and the postseason on deck.
“We can’t wait,” Wallace said. “We’ve got to get this last game over with and then get ready for the tournament.”
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Wallace matched his season high with 17 points and Raheim Moss also scored 17 but the Wildcats didn’t quite have their “A” game against the Rams and that would be costly in the Greater Western Ohio Conference crossover game before a capacity crowd. Springfield was scheduled to end the regular season with a non-conference game against visiting Middletown on Saturday. The Middies are coached by one-time Springfield coach Darnell Hoskins.
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Springfield landed a No. 2 seed in the Division I, Dayton 2 sectional. The Wildcats have a first-round bye and will play the Piqua-Springboro winner at 6 p.m. on Feb. 27 at Centerville.
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Top-seeded Trotwood will take a 12-game win streak into the D-II sectional at Springfield High School. The Rams were the D-II state runners-up last season.
Springfield (17-4), Trotwood (19-3) and D-I top seed Wayne (20-1) have had marquee matchups this season. Springfield split two games with Wayne, which was No. 1 in the state in D-I for much of the season before losing at Springfield last week. Wayne defeated Trotwood in double-overtime in late December. All three GWOC reps are expected to make deep postseason runs.
Springfield (10-2) finished runner-up to Wayne (11-1) in the GWOC National East. Springfield also lost at Centerville in divisional play. Springfield started the season at 13-0, but entered the Middletown game on a late-season 2-3 slide.
Springfield pulled within 65-64 early in the fourth quarter on Derrick Robinson-Verse’s two free throws. But seconds later Moss fouled out. Springfield’s Leonard Taylor also sat out crucial minutes in the second half with four fouls. That foul trouble was compounded by the loss of top sub Larry Stephens, a sophomore guard who tweaked a knee in practice on Thursday and didn’t play.
Trotwood answered with a game-ending 14-7 run.
“It seems to be the same old song every time we play those guys,” Springfield coach Isaiah Carson said. “Trotwood’s a good basketball team. I like what (coach) Rocky (Rockhold) has done.”
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Taylor added 12 points for the Wildcats and Jordan Howard 9.
Rockhold previously also coached at Greeneview, where he also was a standout player. The teams have played six times in the last seven seasons, with Trotwood holding a 4-2 advantage. Trotwood also defeated Springfield 88-73 to end the previous regular season.
Trotwood backcourt standouts Myles Belyeu and Amari Davis each scored 23 points. Trotwood had hit triple-digits in four of its last five games.
“We loved the pace of the game,” Rockhold said. “We felt if we got it out of the 60s we had a chance.”
Jonathan Alder 56, Kenton Ridge 55: Alder (18-4, 12-1) had already clinched a Kenton Trail title and has the best overall record in his first season of Central Buckeye Conference play. The Cougars (15-6, 9-4) ended the regular season by hosting Southeastern on Saturday. A No. 2 seed, Kenton Ridge opens the D-II sectional at Springfield High School against Graham on Saturday.
Dayton Christian 64, Emmanuel Christian 53: Adonis Davis scored 27 for the host Lions (8-14, 5-9) in their final Metro Buckeye Conference game to end the regular season. Emmanuel is a No. 7 seed in the D-IV sectional at Troy and will play the Southeastern/Franklin Monroe winner on Feb. 27. DC (16-5, 12-2) finished runner-up to Troy Christian (19-2, 13-1) in the MBC.
West Liberty-Salem 72, Mechanicsburg 49: Trevor Burden scored 22 points and the host Tigers (14-7, 11-4) clinched a tie with West Jefferson for the Ohio Heritage Conference North title. WL-Salem is a No. 9 seed in the D-III sectional at Northmont and will play Arcanum in the first round on Friday. Mechanicsburg (1-19) plays top-seeded Fort Loramie in the D-IV sectional at Piqua on Saturday.
Madison Plains 50, Greenon 46: Logan Coppock scored 15 points for host Greenon (10-12, 9-7) in another OHC game. Greenon opens D-III sectional play at Northmont against Miami East also on Saturday.