- Marc Pendleton Staff Writer
Already recognized as an area and state Division I power, the Springfield High School boys basketball team recently had two roster additions that will make the Wildcats even more formidable.
JaJuan Rodgers scored 12 points in Springfield’s 57-44 win at Beavercreek on Tuesday. What’s significant about that? It was only his second game back after suffering an ankle injury in the season opener.
A 6-foot-2 junior, Rodgers was projected as a starter at guard after being a key sub last season. He delivered 17 points in that season-opening blowout of Tecumseh, but he missed the next 13 games while recovering.
His untimely injury coincided with preseason arthroscopic knee surgery that returning starting guard Michael Wallace underwent. He sat out Springfield’s first eight games and is averaging 9.8 points in the eight contests since returning to the lineup.
With Wallace and now Rodgers at full go, Springfield can go at least nine players deep into its lineup with no significant drop-off.
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Junior RaHeim Moss (15.8 points, 6.9 rebounds) has had a breakout season for the Wildcats. Other top players are senior Leonard Taylor (13.3, 9.5), Rodgers (10.7), Wallace (9.4), David Sanford (7.7), Larry Stephens (6.2), Sam Towns (6.1), Jeff Tolliver (4.8) and Jordan Howard (3.7).
Springfield (15-1) lost only at unbeaten Wayne 65-62 in overtime last week. Springfield is at Centerville (10-6) on Friday and hosts D-I defending state runner-up Cincinnati Moeller (13-3) on Saturday. Moeller has lost to three out-of-state powers and appears to be Cincinnati’s strongest D-I team.
Springfield and Moeller have split four high-profile games since 2015, when the Wildcats won 74-72 in OT in the regular season and also won 51-47 in a regional semi. Moeller swept the next two games, winning 64-48 in a 2016 regional semi and 54-51 in the 2016-17 regular season. Don’t be surprised if these two teams play again deep into this postseason.
As for Springfield’s other roster addition? That would be Jaylen Darrell Fredrick Carson, newborn son of Springfield coach Isaiah Carson. The 10-pound package — the family’s third child — arrived home with mom Joti Carson the day of the Wayne game.
“He’s definitely got some basketball in his future and maybe some football,” said Isaiah.
• Trotwood’s boys (15-3) should take out winless West Carrollton on Friday. On Saturday, Trotwood is at Dunbar (10-3) in what should be another great regular-season matchup in this series. The teams could be seeded 1-2 in the upcoming D-II sectional.
• The girls basketball seed meetings for the upcoming sectionals are Sunday. Drawings and tourney play for area teams will be at Troy and Butler (D-I), Tecumseh and Lebanon (D-II), Covington and Trotwood-Madison (D-III), and Monroe, Brookville and Sidney (D-IV).
Coaches already have electronically voted for seed positioning. The girls sectionals begin Monday, Feb. 12. That will be followed by one-game district finals, then regional semifinals. Regional winners advance to the state final fours March 15-17 at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center in Columbus on March 15-17.
The boys basketball season is one week behind and girls and will have its tourney draws the following weekend.
• According to Gary Rasberry of the Celina Daily Standard, St. Henry’s boys (14-2) extended a significant streak. The Redskins have clinched their 17th straight winning season and 54th in the last 55 years.
St. Henry takes a 10-game win streak to Delphos St. John’s (9-5) in a Midwest Athletic Conference game on Friday.
Also of note among MAC boys is Marion Local (11-3), which takes a six-game win streak against visiting Minster (9-5) also on Friday.
Versailles (15-1, 5-0) is atop the MAC standings, but has successive games at St. Henry (Feb. 9) and Marion Local (Feb. 12), which will make or break the trio’s title hopes.
• Caleb South scored 29 points and Alex Van Haaren added 22 in Bethel’s 89-70 defeat of Carroll on Tuesday. That was the second straight setback for Carroll, which had an eight-game win streak snapped 54-46 at Fenwick on Saturday.
Bethel (15-3) had a seven-game win streak snapped at Oakwood last week, 64-54.