By Dean Eversole
It was an amazing ride for all those in attendance for Ohio's championship weekend.
Overtime and double-overtime games, buzzer beaters, controversial calls and a spark created by a future Ohio State Buckeye that is still burning hot.
The final day of the tournament picked right up where the semifinal games had left off.
Upper Sandusky's Jon Diebler, the aforementioned future Buckeye, dropped in 48 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, but his team still fell to Dayton Dunbar, 87-85, in the Division II title game Saturday.
North College Hill proved everyone wrong by winning a third-straight title, this time without Bill Walker and O.J. Mayo. Cincinnati's Archbishop Moeller won the coveted Division I title and Georgetown captured the D-IV title, giving Cincinnati three titles on the day. All four titles went to Southwest Ohio, shutting out the rest of the state.
Moeller Wins GCL Battle
It was the game everyone expected, physical and close the entire game. Archbishop Moeller downed St. Xavier, 43-40, winning the school's third basketball state title since 1999.
Troy Tabler tallied 11 points in the contest to pace Moeller. He was the only Crusader reaching double digits. St. Xavier's Walt Gibler tallied a game-high 21 points.
As the fourth period ticked away, Moeller was where it had been most of the game, leading 38-34. But with left Gibler knotted the game with four-consecutive free throws, resulting from a personal foul and a Moeller technical foul.
After that point, the Crusaders steadied the ship, outscoring the Bombers 5-2 to bring home another state title.
Two years ago, Upper Sandusky and Dayton Dunbar faced off in a classic state final. They were at it again Saturday, with Dunbar winning its second-straight Division II title with an 87-85 victory.
Dunbar opened the game with a 12-0 spurt and held on from there. Despite having its top player, Aaron Poque, spend only 18 minutes on the floor and committing 29 turnovers, Dunbar pulled out the victory.
At one point in the first stanza Dunbar was up 20-8 and owned a 45-39 lead at the half, only to see it all disappear. Led by Jon Diebler and his 48 points, Upper Sandusky ate away at the deficit, knotting the game at 66-66 in the third quarter.
The final eight minutes were a back-and-forth affair until Dunbar bolted ahead with left and stayed there. The Dunbar win was just the start of a big day for the Oden Family. Anthony Oden scored eight points in contributing to a state championship victory, while big brother Greg and Ohio State earned a trip to the Final Four hours later.
North College Hill Three-Peat
No O.J. Mayo and Bill Walker, no problem for North College Hill. The Trojans downed Liberty Benton, 50-45, for the Division III title.
Damon Butler hit for 20 points, capping a sensational tournament run for the senior point guard. Anthony McPherson added 12 points.
Liberty Benton opened the game with a 7-2 run and held an 18-11 advantage after one period. But North College Hill slowly picked away climbed back into the game, completing the comeback in the third period.
With four minutes left in the third stanza, the Trojans took a 31-30 lead. In the final eight minutes the teams swapped the lead three times. The Trojans took it for the last time with and never looked back.
Georgetown Earns Some Respect
Georgetown came into the tournament sitting at 20-0. Even with the perfect record the G-Men were flying under the radar. That is no longer the case.
Georgetown downed Haverst Prep, 74-66, creating the biggest news since hometown hero U.S. Grant took over the Union Army.
Harvest Prep had no answers for Georgetown's Chad Chadwell or Isiah Felder. The duo combined for 45 points, spearheading the win.
Georgetown built a 21-12 advantage in the first period, putting Prep in a hole that they never climbed out off. When the horned sounded the G-Men were the D-IV champions and the only remaining undefeated team in the state at 28-0.