The Westerville South High School boys basketball team earned a return trip to the Division I state final with an 87-78 win over Garfield Heights in a semifinal March 18 at Ohio State.

The Westerville South High School boys basketball team earned a return trip to the Division I state final with an 87-78 win over Garfield Heights in a semifinal March 18 at Ohio State.

The Wildcats improved to 25-4 and will play Lima Senior (29-0) in the championship gameat 8:30 p.m. March 19 at Ohio State. Lima Senior defeated Wilmington 61-58 in the other semifinal.

South defeated Garfield Heights 60-57 in a state semifinal last season before losing to Huber Heights Wayne 65-57 in the final.

"We said from the very beginning of the year we want four nets instead of three," said South coach Ed Calo, whose team had net-cutting ceremonies after winning the OCC-Cardinal Division championship as well as district and regional titles. "It's real difficult to do and sometimes it's real easy to lose sight of what you have to do to get there. Our kids, to their credit, have stayed focused every step of the way."

The Wildcats took control early in the rematch with Garfield Heights, jumping out to a 10-0 lead, and never trailed.

Despite playing most of the second quarter with Kaleb Wesson on the bench with two fouls, South maintained its advantage and led 47-38 at halftime. The Bulldogs pulled within six points early in the third quarter, but could not draw closer.

Jordan Humphrey, who led South with 25 points, scored on consecutive breakaways in the fourth quarter to help his team pull away.

Andre Wesson was next for the Wildcats with 18 points, followed by Kaleb Wesson with 14 and Ennis Thomas with 13.

Senior point guard Jelani Rogers, who suffered an ACL injury in the season opener against Reynoldsburg on Nov. 27, entered the game in the final minute for his first appearance since the injury.

Braun Hartfield had 27 points to lead Garfield Heights, which finished 23-5.

"Westerville was outstanding in transition," Bulldogs coach Sonny Johnson said. "They're an unbelievable team, probably the best fast-break team I've ever seen. They were better in person than they were on film. We knew they liked to get out and they did an outstanding job today."