LIMA — The long-range bombers found a cozy place to settle in at Lima Senior.
Bath’s Taren Sullivan and Elida’s Dakota Mathias hit a few eye-popping 3-pointers en route to capturing sectional championships.
Sullivan had 25 points, nine rebounds and six assists to lead Bath to a 76-52 rout of St. Marys in the Division II boys basketball sectional championship game Friday.
In the second Division II sectional title game of the night, Mathias had 30 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists to guide Elida to a 67-57 victory over Celina.
Elida (16-8) advances to the district semifinals against Lexington at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Ohio Northern. Celina ends its year 10-14.
Celina used a heavy douse of a triangle-and-two defense, running defenders at Mathias and Aric Thompson.
“I wasn’t surprised by them taking that approach,” Thompson said. “Aric got them for eight threes the last game (against Celina). The triangle-and-two is what I kind of thought they would go to and we’ve seen that a lot. … I gave Dakota a little bit of the green light tonight to pull deep and I really haven’t done that until tonight. I felt like letting him go. I thought if they were going to send people at him, I wanted him to get a good look before they got to him.”
Mathias responded by scoring 16 in the first half, including 11 in the second quarter. He ended up with six 3-pointers for the game, including three 3-pointers from way out, including one from 30-plus feet.
“He said that in pregame and I got really excited when he said that and I just let it go,” Mathias said. “I was in a rhythm and I was feeling it. He told me to let it go, so I had confidence in it.”
Louis Gray and Thompson both added 14 points for Elida and both had two 3-pointers.
Celina led 13-12 after the first quarter. Elida then started the second quarter with a 14-2 run to pull out to a 26-14 lead. During that run Mathias canned two 3-pointers, while Austin Allemeier and Thompson both hit one 3-pointer.
Mathias scored eight points in the third quarter, as the Bulldogs’ lead grew to 22, 50-28.
Celina made a late run, but never got closer than the final 10-point margin.
Matt Buschur led Celina with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Braden Billger had 16 points.
Elida also ran a triangle-and-two with defenders hounding Billger and standout sophomore Ryan Hoyng, who was held to three points.
“I like us, defensively, right now,” Thompson said.
Elida shot 46 percent from the field and was 11 of 26 on 3-pointers. Celina won the boards, 40-32.
Bath 76, St. Marys 52
Sullivan found his spot deep behind the 3-point line in the second quarter when he knocked down three 3-pointers and had 13 points in the second quarter.
That helped Bath outscore St. Marys 21-10 in the second quarter to take a 40-24 lead at the half.
Bath (20-4) advances to the district semifinals against Willard at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday at Ohio Northern. St. Marys finishes 9-15.
Davis said, “Taren got hot and he’s not making it right at the 3-point line, he’s stepping back and is a few feet behind it. That’s tough to guard. When he gets hot, he can carry a game.”
Sullivan said, “My teammates just kept finding me open shots and encouraging me to shoot the ball. It felt good coming off the hand. It felt like I couldn’t miss.”
Sullivan’s shots came over the St. Marys’ 3-2 zone. And once the Roughriders extended their zone, Sullivan began firing frozen-rope passes through the heart of the zone.
“They started to spread that zone out and it left things open in the middle,” Davis said.
Besides 25 points from Sullivan, Bath received 10 points each from Conner Rockhold, Cole Chambers and Colin Gossard. Doug Sanders scored nine.
St. Marys was led by Garet Fledderjohann’s 23 points. But 12 of his points came in the final quarter when Bath had built a 62-29 lead. Bath’s Conner Rockhold covered him most of the game.
Bath shot 51 percent from the field and was 9 of 20 on 3-pointers. St. Marys hit 42 percent from the field and was 3 of 13 on 3-pointers.
Bath’s trapping, pressing defense caused 12 first-half turnovers and 19 for the game.
“That’s what we’ve done all year,” Davis said. “We pick up fullcourt, try to turn people and trap. It got us some easy baskets tonight.”