For the first 26-plus minutes of the Division II state championship game, the Columbus South High School boys basketball team’s focus on making defensive stops while creating easy baskets for itself was causing the desired reaction by Trotwood-Madison.

“On the court, they were arguing with each other, getting mad, all kind of stuff,” junior guard Trevell Adams said.

The Rams trailed the Bulldogs by eight points early in the fourth quarter before finding their composure against the Bulldogs on March 23 at Ohio State.

The first team in state history to score more than 3,000 points in a season, Trotwood-Madison went on a 15-5 run to take a two-point lead and closed out a 77-73 victory for its first state championship on a 7-0 run.

Both teams finished 28-2.

“We didn’t get back fast enough to stop their drive,” South coach Ramon Spears said. “I don’t know how many points we gave up in the paint, but you can’t give up that many points in the paint. That killed us. We were in a good place at the half. Our priority was to go into halftime with the lead. We were up eight in the fourth quarter, just had some lapses on defense.”

The Bulldogs led 40-35 at halftime and by as many as 11 points in the third quarter.

Adams scored to give South a 68-60 lead with 5:34 remaining, but Amari Davis made three consecutive baskets to cut the Rams’ deficit to two with 4:33 left.

A three-point play by Ta’Quan Simington gave South a 73-70 lead with 3:45 remaining, but South missed its next seven shots, with most coming from close range.

After a free throw by the Rams’ Sammy Anderson tied the game at 73, teammate Carl Blanton made two foul shots with 2:17 remaining to give Trotwood-Madison a 75-73 lead.

The Rams then held the ball for more than a minute before committing a turnover with 56.2 seconds left.

According to Spears, South then tried to set up a play for Adams, but when that didn’t transpire, Tre’ohn Watkins missed a contested 3-pointer with 15.2 seconds left.

A layup by Keon’te Huguely with eight seconds left sealed the win for the Rams.

Adams and Samual Barton each had 16 points, Marcus Johnson scored 14 and Alvin Byrd added 13 for the Bulldogs. Byrd, Simington and Watkins each had foul trouble in the second half, and Simington fouled out with 2:17 remaining.

Davis, who entered the game averaging more than 30 points, had 24 points and six rebounds to lead Trotwood-Madison. Anderson had 20 points and eight rebounds and Blanton added 17 points and seven rebounds for the Rams, who outrebounded South 44-35.

“They continued to play Trotwood ball, and the main thing was that we didn’t get back to stopping their penetration,” Spears said. “We played hard.”

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek