The Hartley High School boys basketball team could have been satisfied with winning its first CCL title since 1994 after starting the season two weeks later than usual because of the football team's run to the Division IV state title.

The Hartley High School boys basketball team could have been satisfied with winning its first CCL title since 1994 after starting the season two weeks later than usual because of the football team's run to the Division IV state title.

The Hawks also could have been content with winning a Division II district title or playing well in the regional tournament.

But when the Hawks faced adversity against New Concord John Glenn in a regional final March 19 in Athens, they didn't settle for just being there. They won 46-43 in overtime to improve to 22-1 and reach a state semifinal.

"I think that solidifies what kind of team this group of guys turned into," coach Randy Korto-krax said. "They could've folded. We were getting hammered with fouls and we had to play some guys that we normally wouldn't in that situation.

"For the program, this is what we're all about. We pushed these kids as hard as we ever have. You just hope now it ends in a good reward."

Hartley faces Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary in a state semifinal at 10:45 a.m. Thursday, March 24, at Ohio State. St. Vincent-St. Mary improved to 17-9 by defeating Cleveland John Hay 59-53 in a regional final March 19.

The Irish have been to state nine other times and have won five titles, with their last championship coming in 2009.

Hartley is making its fourth state appearance. The Hawks, who last advanced to state in 1995, have yet to win it all.

St. Vincent-St. Mary is led by guards DaVont Beard (13.6 points per game) and Ricky Johnson (11.1 ppg) and forward Lorenzo Cugini (10.6 ppg).

"When people see the nine losses, what they may not understand is that we really juiced the schedule," Irish coach Dru Joyce said. "We added some teams that are perennial teams, some nationally ranked. We believed it was a good schedule for our group. I think my team is peaking at the right time."

The state final is 10:30 a.m. Saturday, March 26. Toledo Rogers plays Dayton Thurgood Marshall in the other semifinal. Rogers is 16-5 and Thurgood Marshall is 21-5.

Kortokrax isn't thinking about Rogers or Thurgood Marshall, however. His focus is entirely on St. Vincent-St. Mary.

"I do know they've got a lot of starters back from last year," Kortokrax said of the Irish. "They're deep, they score a lot of points. They played a tough schedule against a lot of good teams, so we're going to have to control the tempo. This is going to be the biggest challenge yet."

Against John Glenn, the Hawks led 38-35 in the waning moments of regulation, only to see the Muskies make a 3-pointer with 3.1 seconds left. In overtime, Hawks guard DeAvery Collins scored the final six points for Hartley, including two free throws with 0.4 seconds left to seal the win. Eric Siefert led Hartley with 16 points and Collins scored 15.

Hartley advanced to the regional final by beating Zanesville 48-44 in a regional semifinal March 17 in Athens.

The Hawks trailed 27-24 at halftime but outscored the Blue Devils 18-11 in the third quarter. With Hartley leading 46-44, Zanesville guard Tanner Gibson missed a 3-pointer with 16 seconds left. Siefert grabbed the rebound and tried to run out the clock but was fouled with 3.1 seconds left. He then made both free throws to secure the victory.

Siefert had 19 points, Jacob Matuska scored 10 and Kendal Sherrod scored nine.

"In the first half, we just weren't moving. We got that taken care of at halftime, then we made our normal second-half run," Kortokrax said. "Gibson was giving us all kinds of problems on defense. We went to a straight man (defense) and that worked better. Then we started to push (the tempo) and that got them tired in the third quarter."