In Ed Calo's first 28 seasons as Westerville South High School boys basketball coach, he built a program that consistently stood out among the best in central Ohio.

In Ed Calo's first 28 seasons as Westerville South High School boys basketball coach, he built a program that consistently stood out among the best in central Ohio.

The Wildcats produced all-state players, had players earn opportunities to compete at the collegiate level and won titles at the league, district and regional levels.

One goal remained entering Calo's 29th season -- winning a state championship.

That accomplishment, the one thing missing from Calo's impressive coaching resume, no longer is elusive.

The Wildcats won their first state title with a 57-55 win over Lima Senior in the Division I final March 19 at Ohio State.

Senior guard Jordan Humphrey scored on a jump shot in the lane with 1.8 seconds remaining and Lima Senior's Xavier Simpson -- the state Player of the Year -- missed from just inside midcourt as time expired, setting off a euphoric celebration as South players jumped together in a huddle in front of their bench.

"This is very big," said Humphrey, whose team lost to Huber Heights Wayne 65-57 in last season's state final. "We talked about it ever since the game was over last year. We knew we had to get back and work hard every day. We had to outwork our opponent every night."

The Wildcats finished 26-4 and Lima Senior finished 29-1.

Humphrey led South with 19 points, followed by senior wing player Andre Wesson with 14.

Junior post player Kaleb Wesson, Andre's brother, was in foul trouble for most of the game and finished with seven points.

South led by as many as 12 points in the first half before Lima Senior rallied and tied the game at 55 on Rico Stafford's basket with 28 seconds remaining.

Humphrey followed with the winning basket on the biggest shot of his career.

"It wasn't really a final play," he said. "Time was winding down and we had to attack. A play was made and you just have to be in the right position."

Simpson, who entered the state tournament averaging 30 points, led Lima Senior with 17.

"It's a tough journey," Calo said. "It's so hard to get back here, let alone win it. It means so much for me because I'm so proud of our kids. I'm so happy for our kids."

South was dealt a blow in its season opener, as senior point guard Jelani Rogers sustained a right ACL injury in an 81-46 win over visiting Reynoldsburg on Nov. 27. He didn't play again until making an appearance in the final minute of the Wildcats' 87-78 win over Garfield Heights in a state semifinal March 18 at Ohio State.

Last season, Rogers helped lead the Wildcats' postseason run and was named second-team all-league and special mention all-district.

Despite the loss of Rogers, South won its first six games before losing twice in the City of Palms Classic in Fort Myers, Fla., in late December.

The Wildcats' first loss against an Ohio opponent came Jan. 24 against Pickerington Central, 61-54 in the Jared Sullinger Ohio Scholastic Play-by-Play Classic. They played that game without Kaleb Wesson, who suffered a sprained ankle in a 64-45 win at Hilliard Bradley on Jan. 22.

Kaleb Wesson, an Ohio State recruit, missed the final seven games of the regular season before returning for the postseason.

The Wildcats avenged the loss to Pickerington Central with a 78-66 win in a regional semifinal March 9 at Ohio Dominican. South then defeated Gahanna 68-59 in a regional final March 12 at Ohio Dominican, capturing its second regional title under Calo, before beating Garfield Heights.

Humphrey, who was one of six seniors, also led the Wildcats against Garfield Heights by scoring 25 points. Andre Wesson had 18, Kaleb Wesson scored 14 and senior wing player Ennis Thomas added 13.

South opened the postseason by defeating 46th-seeded Licking Heights 91-40 on Feb. 20 and 47th-seeded Franklin Heights 92-35 on Feb. 26 in district tournament action at home.

The second-seeded Wildcats then defeated 16th-seeded Thomas Worthington 70-35 on March 2 at Olentangy Orange and 20th-seeded Hilliard Davidson 58-30 in a district final March 5 at Ohio Dominican for their fifth district championship under Calo.

South won its 11th OCC title, going 13-1 in the OCC-Cardinal Division to finish ahead of Dublin Jerome (12-2), Bradley (11-3), Westerville North (6-8), Westerville Central (5-9), Dublin Scioto (5-9), Hilliard Darby (4-10) and Canal Winchester (0-14).

The Wildcats lost at Jerome 63-54 on Feb. 5 while playing without Kaleb Wesson.

Andre Wesson and Hum-phrey both surpassed 1,000 career points this season.

Andre Wesson has been recruited by several colleges and said he would make his decision once the postseason concluded.

"I guess it would have been great winning (the state title) last year, but I feel like it just makes it 10 times better," he said. "All the hard work we put in in the offseason, all the long practices and everything, it just paid off."

Humphrey has committed to play basketball and possibly football at Division II Lake Erie College. Thomas will play basketball at Lake Erie.

Andre Wesson averaged 16.7 points and was league Player of the Year, first-team all-district and second-team all-state.

Kaleb Wesson (14.4 points) was first-team all-league and third-team all-district, Hum-phrey (13.3 points) was first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district and Thomas (10 points) was special mention all-league and honorable mention all-district.

Juniors Anthony Mills (guard) and Antoine Smith Jr. (wing player) made key contributions in the state title run and should take over starting roles next season. Smith was honorable mention all-league.

Calo was named league Coach of the Year.

Others eligible to return are junior wing players Cameron Caldwell and Jake Garrison and sophomore guards David Fitzgerald, Elton Sunnyway and Hafiz Turay.

"It's feels pretty good," Calo said of winning the state title. "It's special. I know I would have felt differently 20-something years ago. It's about the kids. There are no miracles being done here. We've had great players and they deserve all the credit."