The Worthington Christian High School boys basketball team is heading to its first Division III regional tournament.
The Warriors edged the state’s No. 1-ranked team, previously undefeated Bloom-Carroll, 53-51 in a district final on March 8 at the Fairgrounds Coliseum.
Bloom-Carroll's A.J. Ireland was fouled with 1.6 seconds left with the Bulldogs trailing by two points, but he missed the front end of a one-and-one to help the Warriors hang on for the win.
Ireland, who entered the game averaging 18 points, was held scoreless on 0-for-6 shooting from the field.
Worthington Christian, which previously had won seven district titles while competing in Division IV, improved to 15-8. Bloom-Carroll finished 23-1.
“We owe this win to our defense,” Warriors senior guard Brooks Weygandt said. “We knew that pressuring them was what we had to do and that if we executed our game plan, we’d win.”
Weygandt played a big role in the victory for the Warriors, who will play in a regional semifinal at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, March 14, at Bowling Green against Findlay Liberty-Benton, Lima Central Catholic or Bloomdale Elmwood.
Weygandt made five 3-pointers and finished with 22 points on 8-for-13 shooting from the field.
The Warriors trailed 17-10 with 4 minutes, 50 seconds left in the first half but responded with a 10-0 run that included a pair of 3-pointers by Weygandt and 4-for-4 free-throw shooting by Sam Condon.
Worthington Christian led 23-22 at halftime, but the lead switched hands three times during the third quarter.
Bloom-Carroll held a 45-40 advantage in the fourth quarter, but the Warriors tied the score at 47 with 3:21 remaining on a pair of free throws by Condon.
Weygandt made a 3-pointer with 1:33 left to give Worthington Christian a 50-47 lead and the Warriors never trailed again.
Bloom-Carroll had a chance to take the lead on the game’s final possession, but Rob Watts missed a 3-pointer.
Condon went 10-for-10 from the free-throw line and finished with 12 points and Kyle Wade added 12 points and six rebounds for Worthington Christian.
Isaac McGlone had 22 points and Joey Schmitz scored 20 for Bloom-Carroll. Schmitz picked up his fourth foul with 3.6 seconds left in the third quarter and didn’t return until midway through the final period.
“It comes down to making plays,” Warriors coach Kevin Weakley said. “It was flat-out effort.”