No surprise: Springfield earns No. 1 seed in Division I sectional

Springfield junior guard Michael Wallace dribbles during a game against Northmont on Dec. 23. Springfield earned the No. 1 seed in the Dayton Div. I sectional on Sunday. Contributed Photo by Bryant Billing

caption arrowCaption
Springfield junior guard Michael Wallace dribbles during a game against Northmont on Dec. 23. Springfield earned the No. 1 seed in the Dayton Div. I sectional on Sunday. Contributed Photo by Bryant Billing

Springfield earned the No. 1 seed in the Dayton Division I sectional on Sunday and is ready to back it up.

The Wildcats (17-2) were unanimously voted the top seed in the 21-team sectional and will open tournament play against No. 20 Tecumseh on Feb. 24 at Trotwood-Madison. Springfield beat the Arrows (5-16) 78-31 in a nonconference game on Dec. 6.

“I think our body of work is solid and we’re deserving of it,” Springfield coach Isaiah Carson said at Sunday’s tournament draw meeting in Centerville. “But we’re not overconfident about it, we’re humble. And you have to stay humble when things get going in the tournament. You can’t expect to win. You have to stay humble and be hungry and not satisfied. I don’t think our guys are. I think they’re ready to back this up.”

Springfield has advanced to the district finals each of the last two seasons. The Wildcats went all the way to the regional finals in 2015 before losing to Wayne . Last season, Springfield let an early lead slip away in a district final against Moeller and lost by six points .

The Wildcats don’t lack postseason experience. Leading scorer Danny Davis has started since his freshman season, while guard Michael McKay and forward Leonard Taylor started in last year’s loss to Moeller at the Nutter Center.

RELATED: Danny Davis stands alone among Springfield legends

And since Springfield has run the gauntlet of the Greater Western Ohio Conference and played tough road games at Moeller and Columbus Northland this season, Carson is confident all players are prepared for the pressure the tournament can bring.

“I love of our guys and the intensity we play with,” Carson said. “With how we’ve done this year, we’re absolutely ready for it. That’s why we play tough teams, and we’ve played a lot this year. It’s gotten us ready.”

Carson said the last week of regular season will be a perfect tournament tune-up. Springfield has a huge game looming on Friday with Trotwood (18-2), which earned the top seed in the Dayton D-II sectional.

RELATED: Sectional Tournament pairings

But first, the Wildcats will travel to Fairmont on Tuesday. The Firebirds (9-11) played a close game the first time the teams met in GWOC play on Jan. 20, but Springfield won 70-64 .

“You may want to look forward to (Trotwood), but we’ve got a dangerous Fairmont team first,” Carson said. “We can’t worry about Trotwood until Wednesday, and it’s just like the tournament. We can’t look ahead any games. Because if you’re thinking about someone you could be playing later and overlook who you have to beat first, you’re going home.”

• Southeastern earned the top seed in Troy’s Division IV sectional. The Trojans (19-1) will play No. 11 Yellow Springs in a first-round game on Feb. 25. Catholic Central (13-7) is the No. 3 seed in the sectional and will play Jefferson on Feb. 25.

RELATED: Southeastern completes Greeneview sweep

If both the Trojans and Irish win their first two games, they would face off in a sectional final on March 4. Southeastern beat Central by 10 points in Ohio Heritage Conference action on Jan. 13.

RELATED: Catholic Central slips by Northeastern

Emmanuel Christian (4-15) is the No. 12 seed in the sectional and will face No. 2 Tri-Village on Feb. 25.

• Northwestern looked poised for one of the top seeds in the Dayton D-III sectional a few weeks ago, but the Warriors have lost four of their last five since and could do no better than the No. 10 seed.

As a result, Northwestern (13-7) will face No. 13 Northeastern (10-8) in a first-round game on Feb. 25 at Northmont. The Warriors beat the Jets 60-58 in a nonconference game on Dec. 27.

• Urbana (12-8) is the top seed in the Springfield D-II sectional. The Hillclimbers will face the winner of Indian Lake vs. Kenton Ridge in a second-round game on Feb. 28. The Cougars will play Indian Lake on Feb. 25.

Shawnee (8-12) is the No. 4 seed in the sectional and will face No. 5 Graham (8-12) on Feb. 25.

About the Author