ADA — Bang on Dakota Mathias all you want.
Elida is finding other ways to score.
Elida put four players in double figures to pull away from Lexington 64-51 in the Division II boys basketball district semifinals Wednesday at Ohio Northern’s King Horn Center.
With a number of different players running and bumping Mathias all over the Joe and Margaret Campoli Court, Mathias was held to 13 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.
But Mathias received plenty of help from Louis Gray (17 points, 3 of 6 3-pointers), Austin Allemeier (12 points, 2 of 5 on 3-pointers) and Aric Thompson (10 points).
It added up to Elida shooting 48 percent from the field and 7 of 23 on 3-pointers.
“I think that was the most physical a team’s been with me all year,” Mathias said. “It happens, you have to deal with it and Louis and Austin Allemeier stepped up big and that’s what we needed.
“The way they were going to guard me, there were chances for back doors and for guys to be open, and I just looked for that.”
Elida (17-8) advances to the district championship game against Bath (21-4) at 7 p.m. Saturday at ONU. Lexington ends its season 16-8.
Elida played most of the night in its triangle-and-two defense.
But Lexington guard Mason Willeke scored 13 in the second quarter to keep Lexington within range, 32-20 at the half.
“It’s (the triangle-and-two) is still evolving, but it’s coming along pretty well,” Elida coach Denny Thompson said. “This was a good game for us to see it. I think this team has really gotten better, defensively.”
Elida was led in the first half by Gray, who had 12, eight in the first quarter. Mathias had 11 at the half and he ended up shooting 3 of 9 from the field.
“We knew his range was anywhere to 27 feet,” Lexington coach Scott Hamilton said. “I kept reassuring the officials we did not want to foul him, but we did want to try to be as close as possible because we knew he could just pull up from 27 feet. … So we weren’t really trying to be physical with him. We were trying to be up close to him to try to discourage him and maybe try to contain him as much as we could.”
Elida went out to a 10-2 lead behind Gray, who hit two early 3-pointers and a driving layup for a quick eight points.
“My teammates found me and I knocked down shots. We all played well,” Gray said.
Elida used a 10-0 run in the second quarter to expand its 15-7 first-quarter lead to 27-10. But Lexington, behind Willeke came back within 27-18.
Willeke ended up with 23 points and 12 rebounds, but was held to five in the second half by Gray in the Bulldogs’ triangle-and-two.
“I wanted to get to him as quick as I could and I didn’t want him to get a shot off,” Gray said.
Elida built its lead to 56-34 early in the fourth quarter before Lexington trimmed the margin to 13 several times in the last three minutes.
But the key for Elida was the offensive balance.
“It was huge,” coach Thompson said. “And early in the year we weren’t coming close to having that type of performance. We used to stand and watch and now we have people moving.”
TICKETS: The Elida athletic department will be selling district finals tickets for Saturday’s game at the following times: Today tickets will be sold in the athletic office from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tickets will also be sold in the athletic office from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday.
Adult tickets are $6 and student tickets are $4. All tickets at the door are $6. There will be no pre-sale tickets at ONU.