Wildcats willing to take on the best

There’s a method to the Springfield boys basketball team matching up against any program that has established game. That’s why the Wildcats played powers from locales such at Cincinnati (Moeller), Cleveland (Heights), Dayton (Chaminade Julienne).

“We try to schedule ourselves to play anybody, any time, any place and it’s paying off for us,” assured Springfield coach Isaiah Carson.

The proof is in another great season. The Wildcats (19-4) played streaking Sidney (18-6) in a boys high school basketball Division I sectional final at Centerville on Friday night. The winner will play the Elder/Winton Woods winner in one of four D-I district finals at the University of Dayton Arena on Saturday, March 10.

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Besides the challenging non-conference schedule, Springfield also faces two games each in the area’s best big-school division: the five-team Greater Western Ohio Conference National East. Springfield, Wayne, Centerville and Fairmont all will play for sectional titles this weekend.

Springfield took a 4-1 run into the Sidney showdown, having lost only at mighty Trotwood-Madison, 79-72. Springfield defeated Springboro 77-60 in its tourney opener on Tuesday. Wildcats scoring leaders are Raheim Moss (14.9), Leonard Taylor (12.9), Michael Wallace (9.9) and JaJuan Rodgers (9.2).

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There were two other boys games on Friday and involved area teams:

• Shawnee (16-8) took a four-game win streak into a D-II sectional final at Springfield High School against Carroll (15-9). Shawnee overwhelmed Central Buckeye Conference Mad River champ Urbana 53-31 in the semifinals. Carroll dodged Graham 35-32 in overtime.

The winner plays the Aiken/Hughes winner in one of three D-II district finals at UD Arena on Thursday.

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• It’s on Emmanuel Christian (9-14) to follow up on a stunning 70-54 upset of third-seeded Franklin Monroe. Emmanuel faced Tri-Village of the Cross County Conference in a D-IV sectional final at Troy on Friday. That winner advances to a D-IV district final at UD Arena on Friday, March 9, against the Russia/Jackson Center winner.

• West Liberty-Salem is the only area school to still have its boys and girls in tourney contention and both Tigers teams will play on Saturday.

First up is the WL-Salem girls (19-5) against Cincinnati Summit Country Day (25-0) in a D-III district final at Springfield High School at 11 a.m. The winner advances to the D-III regional semis also at Springfield on Wednesday.

At 3:30 p.m. it’s the WL-Salem boys (17-7) against top-seeded Versailles (20-4) and Ohio State signee Justin Ahrens in a D-III sectional final at Northmont. The winner advances to a D-III district final at UD Arena on Wednesday against the Clark Montessori/Madeira winner.

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• The Catholic Central boys (21-3) will take an eight-game win streak into a D-IV sectional final against Legacy Christian (18-6) at 7 p.m. Saturday at Troy. That winner will play in a D-IV district final at UD Arena on Friday, March 9 against the Ripley Union-Lewis/James Gamble Montessori winner.

• Finally, the Cedarville girls (20-5) will play Fort Loramie (20-5) in one of three D-IV district finals at 3 p.m. Saturday at Troy. The winner advances to the D-IV regional semifinals at Butler on Thursday against the Legacy Christian/Covington winner.

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