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Playoff basketball rarely disappoints and Thursday, March 23 was no exception.
The day got started with a pair of Division II semifinals, one of which ended in dramatic fashion.
The evening wasn’t as suspenseful, but saw a pair of scrappy Division IV teams punch their tickets to the State Championship.
Wauseon defeated Columbus Eastmoor Academy, 42-35.
With the victory, Wauseon makes its first State Championship appearance since 1994.
Read more about the game here.
The second game of day saw senior guard Jayvon Graves lift Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary over Trotwood-Madison with a floater at the buzzer.
— Spectrum Sports OH (@SpecSportsOH) March 23, 2017
Naturally, St. Vincent-St. Mary alum LeBron James tipped his cap to Graves and the Irish.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) March 23, 2017
“Jayvon Graves” was the number two trending topic on Twitter in the Cleveland area shortly after LeBron sent that tweet out.
Graves, one of Ohio’s two Co-Players of the Year in Division II, scored 22 points in the win.
This wasn’t his first buzzer-beater, but it was certainly on the biggest stage.
Interestingly enough, the last time Graves and the Irish faced Trotwood-Madison, they were blown out, 100-61, in a January regular season match.
Also of note, Ohio’s other Co-Player of the Year in Division II, Torrey Patton plays for Trotwood-Madison.
He scored a game-high 34 points in the loss.
St. Vincent-St. Mary takes on Wauseon Saturday at 10:45 am for the State Championship.
To see more on STVM’s amazing victory, click here.
Division IV wasn’t quite as heart-pounding, but had its own set of extraordinary circumstances.
Cleveland Heights Lutheran East was in a defensive stalemate with Delphos St. John’s for two quarters of play.
Lutheran East led, 16-13, at halftime.
In the third quarter, Lutheran East shut Delphos St. John’s out, 21-0. The Falcons went on to win, 50-25.
Junior guard Jordan Burge scored a game-high 16 points on the night, while senior guard Maurico Tate shot a perfect 5-for-5 from the field.
Lutheran East is known for its rigorous schedule, as the Falcons from a small D-IV school held their own with giants like St. Edward, St. Ignatius, Garfield Heights and Villa Angela-St. Joseph.
It appears that gauntlet of a schedule has paid dividends now that the Falcons are facing teams their own size.
Read more about Lutheran East’s win here.
In the final game of the night, Columbus Wellington cruised past Lima Perry, 68-47, behind a team-high 16 points from Solomon Pierre-Louis.
Columbus Wellington will face Lutheran East at 2 pm Saturday for the Division IV State Championship.
Two of Northeast Ohio’s teams advanced to State Finals on Thursday. There’s a chance two more will move on Friday to set up a Saturday full of Cleveland-area teams.
We’ll be there for all the action. Be sure to check out Friday morning’s preview before another marathon of games.