WILLARD — The Colonel Crawford Eagles boys basketball team headed back to Willard on Friday evening, this time with a chance at a Division IV district championship.
Top-seeded Crawford would meet up with the second seeded South Central Trojans at Robert L. Haas Gymnasium in front of a sold out crowd, hoping to earn a spot in the Ohio Sweet 16 with a victory.
The contest began shaky for both squads as neither team would be able to find the bottom of the net until the Eagles’ Jordan Fenner hit a three-pointer with 5:17 remaining in the opening frame. Crawford would prove to get on track in the first, posting 16 points in the eight-minute frame while holding South Central to just eight.
In the second quarter however, the Trojans would appear to find their footing, opening up the quarter on a 10-0 run to take the lead at 18-16 before Gavin Feichtner hit a free-throw to halt the South Central surge. When the buzzer sounded to signify the end of the first half though, Crawford would find themselves trailing 24-21 after managing just five points in the second.
Out of the locker room, the white-jersey clad Trojans would post another mini-run, jumping out 5-0 before a full timeout was called by Eagles’ head coach David Sheldon. Out of the timeout, senior Zye Shipman would hit a two-point bucket to end the run. After 24 minutes of play however, Colonel Crawford found themselves potentially down to their final quarter of basketball as they headed into the fourth trailing 31-27.
Trailing by just four points, the Eagles would trim the Trojans lead further to 33-31 with 5:44 remaining in the game. A shade of three minutes later though, South Central sat with a 41-33 lead, forcing a 30 second timeout to be called by Sheldon. Despite the grit that the Eagles showed on the offensive glass on the evening, turnovers would haunt them throughout the contest, especially late in the game.
The Trojans would go on to post 17 in the final frame while holding the offense for the Eagles relatively quiet with just 10 points to earn their first district title since 1974. For Crawford, it was their third consecutive season that their tourney run came to a conclusion in the district championship game.
Shipman would lead the way for the Eagles in his final game for the squad, scoring 12 points, grabbing eight rebounds, dishing out two assists and swatting two blocks. Jordan Fenner added 11 points, three rebounds and a steal as the only other Crawford player to finish in double-figures. Chase Walker chimed in with eight points, 11 rebounds, an assist and two steals. Feichtner was held quiet most of the night, managing just four points, four rebounds and two assists. Reis Walker rounded out the Eagles’ scoring with two points to go along with four rebounds and two assists while Mason Studer grabbed four rebounds in the Crawford loss.
District VI player of the year, South Central junior Simon Blair led the way for the Trojans with 16 in the victory. Isaiah Seidel would also finish in double-figures for the district champs, scoring 10. Alex Holland finished with nine, David Lamoreaux netted eight points, Sam Seidel finished with three and Tycen Cooper rounded out the scoring for the Trojans with two.
Up next for South Central will be a regional semifinals contest with the New Middletown Springfield Tigers. The Tigers upended Lowellville over in the Struthers District on Friday evening; 58-48. South Central and Springfield will tip-off at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12 at the Canton Fieldhouse.
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