Troy Christian survived a late rally by Ft. Loramie to hold on for a 65-56 victory Wednesday night in a Division IV district final at Fairmont High School’s Trent Arena.
The underdog Redskins (13-12) trimmed an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit to four and had possession with less than two minutes remaining, but three consecutive empty possessions enabled the Eagles (24-2) to capture the first district championship in program history.
“A lot of people can continue culture, but it’s very difficult to change culture,” said Troy Christian coach Ray Zawadzki, who was 4-17 in his first year on the job in 2009-10. “That’s been the challenge here, and this staff has worked endless hours to get us to the point where these kids believed they could even be in a district championship game, let alone win a district game.”
Senior forward Christian Salazar led all players with 24 points, including an emphatic dunk at the final buzzer, and also grabbed a game-high eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Grant Zawadzki added 16 points, while junior guard Spencer Thomas contributed nine points to go along with a game-high seven assists.
Ft. Loramie was led by sophomore center Grant Olberding (18 points) and senior guard Seth Buillozet (17).
The win was the Eagles’ 16th in a row — a school record — and moved them into Tuesday’s regional semifinals, where they will face undefeated, No. 1-ranked Tri-Village.
Tri-Village 71, Seven Hills 33: The Patriots made 75 percent of their shots in the first half and held the Stingers scoreless for more than 10 minutes during a 27-0 run in the second half on the way to winning the program’s first district championship since 1991.
“It’s huge,” said Tri-Village coach Josh Sagester, who had been 0-3 in district finals since taking over the program in 2004, including a 40-35 overtime loss to Jackson Center last year.
“The first three times hadn’t gone the way we wanted it to go, but fortunately tonight we were able to get the gold instead of the silver. We’ve been knocking on the door, and it was about time for us to walk through.”
Senior guard Kyle Pipenger scored a game-high 20 points, while junior forward Tyler Cook added 18 on 9-of-10 shooting, including the first 10 points as the Patriots raced out a 10-0 lead.
Sophomore forward Colton Linkous contributed eight points as Tri-Village shot 64 percent from the floor. Senior forward Andrew Wilcox grabbed a game-high seven rebounds.
Ranked No. 1 in the final Associated Press state poll, the Patriots improved to 26-0, which is one victory shy of the school record set by the 1990-91 team that finished as state runner-up with a 27-1 record.