Last Saturday before the Northland High School boys basketball team played Dublin Scioto in a Division I regional championship game in the Fairgrounds Coliseum, junior post player Jared Sullinger and his older brother, Julian, had some good-natured fun with their father, coach Satch Sullinger.

Last Saturday before the Northland High School boys basketball team played Dublin Scioto in a Division I regional championship game in the Fairgrounds Coliseum, junior post player Jared Sullinger and his older brother, Julian, had some good-natured fun with their father, coach Satch Sullinger.

"They grabbed my glasses and started imitating me, saying, 'I can't believe we made it,'" coach Sullinger said while pretending to hold back tears of joy as Jared stood by smiling.

That prediction of excitement came to fruition after a 54-53 overtime win over the Irish as Northland advanced to the state tournament for the first time. The Vikings, who improved to 25-1, will play Warren Harding in a state semifinal at 5:15 p.m. Friday at Ohio State. The winner will play Cincinnati Princeton or Toledo St. John's in the final at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

Last Saturday, Northland trailed for much of the way.

The Irish, who finished 24-2, led 38-37 with 4 minutes, 32 seconds remaining when the Vikings finally grabbed control. Ke'Chaun Lewis, a freshman guard whose playing time has increased throughout the postseason, assisted a dunk by J.D. Weatherspoon that gave Northland a 39-38 lead.

A pair of putbacks by Dimonde Hale increased the advantage to 43-38 with 2:37 to go and the Vikings led 45-42 when Scioto's Bradley McDougald hit a 3-pointer with 6.8 seconds left. Sullinger missed a 3 at the buzzer as the game went into overtime.

In the extra session, a series of poor shots by the Irish helped Northland build a 51-45 lead.

Trey Burke, who along with Weatherspoon scored 15 points as Sullinger led with 17 points and 22 rebounds, hit five of six free throws over the final 31.1 seconds.

Northland won despite 32 points from McDougald, a Kansas recruit in football who made six 3-pointers. McDougald hit a 3 with 21.1 seconds left in overtime to cut it to 51-48 and made another with 12.8 left to cut it to 52-51. He missed a 3-pointer with 2 seconds left.

"When it gets into the fourth quarter, it's time for players to come and play and I feel like I'm one of those players," Jared Sullinger said.

"I get that mean look in my eye. McDougald played hard. He knew he had to makeplays and he's just a great player."

There were plenty of moments in Northland's 70-64 win over Grove City in a regional semifinal March 19 when it looked like the season soon would be over.

Jared Sullinger scored eight points during a 12-2 run in the fourth quarter as his team overcame a 44-38 halftime deficit.

Sullinger finished with 23 points and 15 rebounds. The Greyhounds, who finished 22-3, made seven of 10 3-pointers in the first half but didn't hit another until 2:24 remained.

Northland was the top seed for the district tournament, Scioto was second and Grove City was third.

Burke had 16 points for the Vikings, who were regional semifinalists the last time they competed in the regional two seasons ago.

"We knew if we kept fighting, their shots wouldn't keep hitting and we could get back in the game," Burke said.