COLUMBUS — Lincolnview cranked up its defense and turned it loose on Jackson Center.
The Lancers swarmed and surrounded Jackson Center’s first team all-state selection Drew Sosby and held him to seven points.
That helped Lincolnview post a 52-39 victory over Jackson Center in the Division IV boys basketball state semifinals Friday at Ohio State’s Value City Arena.
Lincolnview (27-1) advances to the D-IV state championship against Willoughby Cornerstone Christian (16-12) at 5:15 p.m. today at Ohio State. Jackson Center ends its season 24-5.
“Just like in the 26 games we won, the defense hung tough was able to pull through and get a win,” Lincolnview coach Brett Hammons said.
The Lancers were led by Chandler Adams’ 14 points and four rebounds. Trevor Neate had 12 points and three rebounds. Austin Leeth, who watched Sosby most of the way, had 10 points with two 3-pointers. Derek Youtsey had nine points and six rebounds.
Adams was a load down low all game, hitting 6 of 10 from the blocks.
“All week we knew we had to attack down low with the size we had,” Adams said. “Getting the ball down low is what we do best. … We attacked down low and we did a heck of a job down there.”
Sosby, the tri-Division IV state player of the year, had seven points on 3 of 19 shooting. Brady Wildermuth, a 6-6 junior, led the Tigers with 20 points and four rebounds on 7 of 10 shooting.
“He’s (Leeth) the guy we put on every team’s best player, as long as it’s a guard, and we knew Austin was going to get after it,” Hammons said. “We congratulated him in the locker room that he held the Division IV player of the year to seven points. … We knew we had to stay tight to him because we knew how well he can shoot the basketball. And when we made him dribble, we thought we could run some guys over to challenge him.”
Added Sosby, “It was very tough. It was one of those nights.”
Leeth, who averages 5.8 points, also hit two 3-pointers in the first half.
“Those threes helped keep us in the game when we were struggling, offensively,” Hammons said.
It marks Lincolnview’s first trip to state since the 1997 team won the Division IV state championship.
In the first D-IV state semifinal of the day, Cornerstone Christian knocked off The Wellington School, 73-67. Cornerstone guard Michael Bothwell scored 30 or more points for the third game in a row with 30 points, 10 rebounds and four assists.
The first half was back-and-forth and tied at 21 at the half.
The Lancers took the lead to stay 32-30 on a 12-foot jumper with one second left before the end of the third quarter.
“Trevor was able to get to where he was able to pull up and shoot and with his length and height he was able to get that shot off,” Hammons said. “I think that gave momentum going into the fourth quarter.”
That basket helped the Lancers kick off an 11-0 run when the fourth quarter began. Adams had four points down low and Youtsey dropped a 3-pointer to get the Lancers rolling.
That gave Lincolnview a 41-30 lead with 5:27 to go.
“If I hit a big shot, everything grows from that,” Youtsey said. “If Trevor hits a big shot, everything grows from that. We feed off each other.”
Neate also came up big after going down with a broken foot in Game No. 20 against Lima Central Catholic. He returned for the district semifinals.
“Trevor Neate was huge for us,” Hammons said. “Today was probably the best performance he’s had for a while. He’s pretty much back to full strength.”
Lincolnview shot 57 percent from the field and held Jackson Center to 32 percent shooting. Lincolnview won the boards, 27-19.
Overall, it was the Lincolnview stifling defense which led the way.
“I think our defense throughout the season has done a good job of wearing teams down,” Hammons said.
Added Jackson Center coach Scott Elchert, “They were an extremely good defensive team and they challenged us on every shot, whether it was a perimeter jumper or it was a shot inside.”
Reach Tom Usher at email@example.com or on Twitter at @Lima_Usher