PEMBERVILLE — Toledo Christian came out with renewed vigor in the third quarter in a Division IV boys basketball sectional final Friday night and the Eagles rode that wave to victory.
On the strength of a 20-point third quarter, Toledo Christian held off Gibsonburg to win the school's 12th straight sectional title.
The Eagles (15-8) trailed by six points at the half but outscored the Golden Bears 30-20 in the second half and went on to down the Golden Bears 42-38 at Eastwood.
In the first sectional final, Ottawa Hills jumped out to a 15-0 lead over Cardinal Stritch and went on to post a 53-36 win.
Toledo Christian junior Kyle Kempton scored nine of his game-high 18 points in the pivotal third quarter.
Senior guard Garshawn Paynther tallied six of his 10 points in the third when the Eagles seized a 32-26 lead.
“I told our kids even if we lose we aren't going out without clawing and scrapping and fighting,” TC coach Dave McWhinnie said. “We didn't play our toughest game in the first half. We were soft at times and that is not us. In the second half our kids stepped up and made some huge shots.”
Gibsonburg (17-6) tied it at 38 with 1:30 left on Jordan Kreglow's 3 pointer. But Toledo Christian grabbed two defensive rebounds off missed 3 point attempts down the stretch. The Eagles also knocked down five of six free throws over the final 36 seconds to seal it.
“We fell in love with the 3 too much [at the end],” Gibsonburg coach Brent Liskai said. “We were getting stuff going to the basket and then we stopped.”
Kreglow and Bryce Ernthausen each scored 11 points for Gibsonburg.
Kempton also had eight rebounds for the Eagles, who scored just 12 points in the first half before the second-half outburst.
“We came out [in the second half] and we knew we were going to win,” Kempton said. “We were playing for the 11 teams before us that won a sectional. It was amazing. We knew it would be tough competition because they are a great team. It feels great.”
The Eagles committed just four turnovers in the game and Gibsonburg had eight. Each team had 22 rebounds.
Toledo Christian opened the third quarter with a 7-0 run to take a 19-18 lead.
“We executed in the first half and then didn't in the second half,” Liskai said. “We came out over the first few minutes and we were sloppy. They played a deliberate game. In tournament basketball if you get sloppy against a good team you will go home.”
The Eagles took a 30-26 lead on Paynther's old fashion three-point play late in the third and then went up by six heading into the final quarter on Kempton's two free throws.
McWhinnie used a deliberate offense at times. He said he employed the stall tactic because his guards, Kempton and Paynther, were tired from playing on Wednesday night.
“Their legs were worn out,” McWhinnie said. “I was happy with it being a slower game. We wanted to hold it for a couple minutes. That gave us some energy in the second half.
The teams had split two games in the regular season with the Golden Bears winning 63-52 on Jan. 10. TC won 54-52 on Feb. 11.
Toledo Christian advances to play top-seeded Old Fort in the district semifinals at Lakota next Tuesday.
Ottawa Hills (20-1), ranked fifth in the state, defeated Toledo Area Athletic Conference foe Cardinal Stritch (9-14) for the third time.
The Green Bears will face Tiffin Calvert in the district semifinal on Tuesday at Lakota.
Geoff Beans, the 6-foot-7 forward, scored a game-high 17 points. R.J. Coil chipped in with 13.
Beans hit a 3 pointer late in the first quarter to put his team up 15-0. Stritch committed seven turnovers and scored its first points with 1:27 left in the opening quarter.
“Defense is something we work extremely hard at and that head start was important because after that it was pretty even,” OH coach John Lindsay said. “This team has been focused coming out of the gate”
Cardinal Stritch junior Austin Adams poured in a game-high 24 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter, for Cardinal Stritch (9-14). Adams also had eight rebounds.
The Cardinals had just three turnovers after the opening quarter.
“I give all the credit in the world to our kids,” Stritch coach David Rieker said. “Down 15-0 to Ottawa Hills, you could quit. But they battled. We never could get over the hump.”
Adams, who led the TAAC in scoring and rebounding, pulled the Cardinals within eight points late in the third quarter. But Coil responded with five unanswered points himself.
Beans said his team has been coming out hot lately.
“We've been having a good first four minutes. That's always good … when you get an early lead,” Beans said. “They are a good team. But we knew we had to come and play our game.
“We are not satisfied. We have a big goal ahead of us.”