The road to Columbus is still wide open for several area boys basketball teams.
This past weekend, district championships were in full swing.
In Division II, Bath and Elida matched up in a Western Buckeye League district final at Liberty-Benton.
Last season, Bath did the trifecta on Elida, defeating the Bulldogs three times and advancing to the regionals.
This season, Elida was trying to do the same to Bath. Elida headed into Saturday’s showdown with two wins over Bath during the regular season.
Saturday’s district championship game was one that went down to the last play of the game, as Bath (20-4) survived for a 53-51 victory and advanced to the regional semifinals Thursday at Bowling Green State University against another WBL-foe in Defiance.
Tip-off for the Bath vs. Defiance game is set for around 8:15 p.m. Elida ends its season 21-4.
Defiance defeated Wauseon in its district title game, 56-42. Defiance shared the WBL crown with Elida this season.
Back in late December, Defiance defeated Bath 66-53 in the regular-season matchup.
In Saturday’s district championship game against Elida, Bath was led by Colin Gossard’s 20 points, including three 3-pointers. Taren Sullivan added 12 points and seven boards.
After Elida jumped out to a quick 28-15 lead, Bath climbed right back into it and eventually knotted the game at 30 by the break.
It was a back-and-forth second half. Then in the waning moments of the game, Elida’s Louis Gray missed a 3-pointer and Bath slipped out with the dramatic victory.
What an ending.
In Division III, Lima Central Catholic defeated Liberty-Benton in its district title game at Ohio Northern, 56-48.
Saturday’s win over L-B was LCC’s second one of the season over the Eagles. In fact, LCC’s win over L-B on Dec. 28 was the last time the Eagles lost this season.
Martyce Kimbrough and Tre Cobbs each had 14 points to lead LCC on Saturday. Xavier Simpson had 12 points and 10 assists for the T-Birds.
With their third consecutive district championship, the T-Birds (21-4) advance to the regional semifinals at Bowling Green State University on Wednesday, where they will take on Worthington Christian at 6:15 p.m.
Staying in Division III, Ottawa-Glandorf willed itself to a 36-32 district title win over Paulding on Saturday at BGSU.
Saturday’s game was a physical battle in which O-G made just eight field goals for the entire game. However, the Titans managed to get to the free-throw line enough in the fourth quarter to slip out with the win.
Noah Bramlage, a 6-foot-7 post player, led O-G with 19 points. Bramlage was 9-of-10 shooting from the free throw line in the fourth quarter, which proved to be the difference in the game.
O-G (15-10), the defending Division III state champions, are finding ways to record victories throughout this tournament, despite losing several key players from last year’s squad.
The Titans will take on Huron in a regional semifinal Wednesday at BGSU. Tip-off is set for around 8 p.m.
In Division IV, the No. 1-ranked Crestview Knights continue to roll.
In Friday’s district title game against Miller City, Crestview’s inside game was too much for Miller City as the Knights rolled to a 54-39 victory at the Elida Fieldhouse.
Inside, 6-foot-4 Damian Helm poured in 21 points and grabbed six rebounds, while teammate Tyson Bolenbaugh, a 6-5 post player recorded 12 points, 13 boards and six blocks for Crestview. At one of the guard spots, Cam Etzler added nine points for the Knights.
Crestview (26-0) will take on No. 5 Ottawa Hills (21-1) at 8 p.m. Tuesday in a regional semifinal at BGSU. Ottawa Hills boasts size as well. So, this should be a great matchup.
Friday’s district title for Crestview was its first since 2003, when it was the Division IV state runner-up. That’s hard to believe, seeing that Crestview has been a strong program over the years.
Also in Division IV, Marion Local notched a district title on Friday, defeating Arlington 44-34 at the Wapakoneta district.
Cole Griesdorn led the Flyers with 19 points, while teammate Luke Knapke added 11.
The Flyers (21-5) will take on Russia in a regional semifinal on Tuesday at Kettering Fairmont at 5:30 p.m.
Unfortunately for our area girls teams, the road to Columbus was cut short this past week.
However, looking ahead, something tells me there is a good chance we could be well-represented at the boys state tournament in a couple weeks.