Dunbar easily did its part and Trotwood-Madison followed that lead Thursday night to set up a greatly anticipated boys high school basketball rematch and showdown. At stake is everything, including a trip to the Division II state final four.
“It’s the way this region should be,” Trotwood coach Rocky Rockhold said after the Rams dodged Cincinnati Taft 61-56 in a D-II regional semifinal doubleheader at Fairmont’s Trent Arena. “It’s the two best teams left. It’s choosing the right team to go to state regardless if it’s them or us. These are definitely the two teams who should be playing on Saturday.”
Dunbar punched its regional final ticket by overwhelming Carroll Bloom-Carroll 71-37 in Thursday’s opener. That propels Trotwood (25-2) and Dunbar (24-3) into Saturday’s 3 p.m. regional final also at the Trent.
Fairmont athletic director Chris Weaver said the game will not be relocated to either the University of Dayton Arena or Wright State’s Nutter Center. The UD Arena floor has been removed and that staff is with the Flyers for their NCAA Tournament game at Indianapolis. The Nutter Center also is booked with a Saturday afternoon event.
“I made some calls just to answer those questions ahead of time,” Weaver said. “We can pack them in here. It makes for a great basketball atmosphere and that’s what we’ll do.”
Tickets will be available at both high schools during normal hours today. A sellout is quickly expected.
Taft closed within 54-52 with less than three minutes remaining but couldn’t mount any more offense. Trotwood responded with a couple of Myles Belyue free throws and a breakaway slam dunk by Amir Foster that set off a boisterous crowd response.
Sophomore Amari Davis had 17 points as Trotwood won its 12th straight game, although Taft limited the high-scoring Rams to a season-low point total. Belyue added 13 points, Torrey Patton 12 and Foster 10 in another balanced Trotwood offensive attack.
Taft’s Virgil Lackey led the Senators (21-5) with 15 points.
Trotwood has surpassed 100 points a half-dozen times and defeated Dunbar in a regular-season shootout 98-89 back on Feb. 4.
“This was a prime example of your kids did just well enough to advance,” Rockhold said. “There isn’t a magic formula to it. Our kids just dug deep enough to say, you know what, it’s not going our way but we’re gonna win.”
Dunbar 71, Bloom-Carroll 37: Chris Jackson had 15 points to lead the Wolverines in a blowout opener. Bloom-Carroll (20-7) was a No. 8 seed out of the Columbus district. Those Columbus top three seeds went to the Athens regional and Hartley, a No. 4 seed, was upset. That left Bloom-Carroll, and it had no chance.
“We didn’t want any letdowns,” Dunbar coach Pete Pullen said. “It’s tough coming down here (from Columbus). This is as good as it gets in the state and this area.”
• The D-I and D-IV regional finals are today. Top-ranked Moeller (26-0) plays GCL South rival LaSalle (24-3) in a D-I final at the Nutter Center (7:30 p.m.). Cincinnati Christian (22-5) plays Lima Perry (24-3) in a D-IV regional final at Trent (7 p.m.). Both those winners also advance to next week’s state final fours.
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