When the DeSales High School boys basketball team won a Division II regional championship in 2007, it was almost expected.

When the DeSales High School boys basketball team won a Division II regional championship in 2007, it was almost expected.

The Stallions had the program's all-time assists leader, the program's all-time scoring leader and two other players who ended up playing for a Division I college, including a 7-foot-2 center in Sean Hobbs. Plus, by 2007, making it to a state semifinal was nothing new. Virtually the same group accomplished that feat the year before.

Last Saturday at Bowling Green, the Stallions rolled over Vermilion 84-64 to win its third regional championship in four years, and they did so with a group of players relatively unknown by comparison to the last time.

Nick Kellogg was a starter on the team two years ago, but Nick Goff and Zak Gaborcik came off the bench for spot minutes. No one else from this year's team was on the varsity in 2007.

Along with Kellogg, Goff and Gaborcik had become starters last season, but after failing to win a district title, the jury still was out on whether DeSales was capable of returning to the state tournament. Losses in the CCL the last two years had served as evidence that the Stallions had fallen back nearer to the pack.

"Not too many people knew what to expect of us this year," said Goff, whose team is 22-3 overall and will play Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary at 2 p.m. Friday at Ohio State in a state semifinal. "It's special to us what we were able to accomplish. We want to accomplish more."

Goff scored 15 points last Saturday, as did Kellogg. Adam Griffin scored 13 points and Seun Adejobi and Chris Rock had 11. Ike Ariguzo had nine points and Gaborcik had eight. The Stallions might not have had the notable names of two years ago, but they had developed teamwork and balance and that has become the trademark carrying them through the postseason.

"This group found their own way to do it," coach Blair Albright said. "This group truly embodies the definition of a team. In the year's past with the class of guys that we had, I don't think it was fair, but they expected us to get to the final four. I definitely think there's a certain amount of special-ness to this year."

On March 19 the Stallions dominated Elida 66-45 in a regional semifinal at Bowling Green. They blew the doors off Elida from the start, leading 22-8 after the first quarter and 39-13 at halftime.

The closest game in this postseason has been the 52-40 win over Buckeye Valley in a district semifinal March 6. After a first-round bye, the Stallions soundly defeated Amanda-Clearcreek 80-30 in the second round Feb. 28 and Eastmoor 72-46 in a district final March 13.

Albright said after winning the regional championship that the Vermilion game was closer than the final score indicated, but he also said that going into the tournament, if his team could win a district championship, he liked its chances against whoever came out at Bowling Green.

"We worked hard to get the No. 1 seed in the district tournament for a reason," Albright said. "We wanted to get to Bowling Green. This is something we earned."