Led by Division III district Player of the Year Jay Joseph, the Worthington Christian High School boys basketball team earned its first district title since 2014 by defeating Columbus Academy 55-49 on March 10 at Ohio Dominican University.
With his team clinging to a 35-34 lead after three quarters, Joseph scored 13 of his game-high 24 points in the fourth to lead the top-seeded Warriors, who improved to 20-5 and advanced to play Cincinnati Summit Country Day in a regional semifinal March 15 at Kettering Fairmont.
Academy, which was the second seed, finished 19-8.
“We executed a couple of plays, got me the ball in spots where we needed to get the ball and just took it from there,” Joseph said. “I had the points, but my teammates got the ball where it needed to be and they executed what they needed to do, so it wouldn’t happen without them.”
Academy held its final lead, 34-33, late in the third quarter before the Warriors’ Jayden Turner scored the final basket of the quarter and Joseph scored their first nine points of the fourth quarter as Worthington Christian opened a 48-38 lead with two minutes remaining.
Turner finished with 14 points and Mitchell Naim added 11 for the Warriors.
“What makes this group special is they’re extremely resilient to overcome a lot of adversity to win this championship,” Worthington Christian coach Kevin Weakley said.
Academy played without two key contributors in Chris Boyle and Dorrian Moultrie, both of whom missed the game because of another school commitment.
Ryan Alexander led the Vikings with 21 points and Nick Stringer scored 10.
“It was next man up,” Academy coach Jeff Warstler said. “What can you say about what our boys did tonight? You’ll never see a team do what that team did here, that kind of adversity to battle that group that way. Unbelievable.”
The district final marked the teams’ third meeting this season. Worthington Christian beat Academy 51-48 in overtime Dec. 17 and 60-49 on Feb. 3 on its way to winning the MSL-Ohio Division title.
The Warriors lost to Marion Pleasant 83-65 in a district final last season.Videos •Worthington Christian celebrates after defeating Columbus Academy 55-49 in a Division III district final March 10 at Ohio Dominican. •Eastmoor Academy receives the Division II district championship trophy after beating Columbus South 61-49 on March 10 at Worthington Kilbourne. Division II
Eastmoor Academy 61, Columbus South 49
In a matchup of teams that shared the City League-South Division title after splitting their two regular-season meetings, third-seeded Eastmoor went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in the final minute to hold off a rally attempt by top-seeded South in a Division II district final March 10 at Worthington Kilbourne.
The Bulldogs trailed by double digits for much of the second half before getting as close as 53-46 with 1:03 left.
“We missed 17 (free throws) the first game we played against them and 19 in the second, so we spent a lot of time on that,” Warriors coach Jim Miranda said.
Taevion Kinsey celebrated his 17th birthday by scoring 22 points and Tim Smith and Isaiah Hairston added 11 apiece for the Warriors, who improved to 20-6 and advanced to play Washington Court Miami Trace or Fairfield Union in a regional semifinal March 16 at Ohio University.
Treohn Watkins had 12 points and Marcus Johnson and Bruelle Thompson both scored 10 for South, which finished 24-2 with both of its losses coming against Eastmoor.
Bloom-Carroll 63, Heath 60
Sixth-seeded Bloom-Carroll held on to beat seventh-seeded Heath in the other Division II district final March 10 at Kilbourne.
Bloom-Carroll, which got 20 points from Gavin Brown, improved to 20-6 and advanced to play Dayton Dunbar in a regional semifinal March 16 at Kettering Fairmont, while Heath finished 20-6.
Heath, which trailed by six points entering the fourth quarter, got 18 points from Aaron Latiolais, 13 from Mason Johnson and 10 apiece from Denton Jacob and Gunner Babcock.