Southview survived some poor shooting early, recovering in time to knock off rival Northview for the third time this season as the Cougars won a Division I district semifinal 51-40 on Thursday night at the University of Toledo.
Southview hit just 15 of 46 shots from the field (32.6 percent), including an 0 of 15 stretch in the first half. The Cougars did not make a shot from the field in the second quarter (0 of 12), but the Cougars fared much better from the free throw line, hitting 17 of 21. Southview made 14 of 16 foul shots in the fourth quarter.
Southview's Christian Wagenhauser acknowledges the student section after Thursday's district semifinal win over Northview at Savage Arena.
The Cougars, who finished the regular season ranked No. 6 in the final state poll, advances to face Whitmer in the district title game at UT on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Panthers defeated St. Francis de Sales 40-36 in the second semifinal.
PHOTO GALLERY: Division I district at Savage Arena
Junior Tehree Horn finished with a game-high 17 points and Ryan Fries chipped in with 16 for Southview (23-1). Senior center Christian Wagenhauser chipped in with nine points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
Southview coach Stan Joplin said his team was able to grind out a will win.
“We didn't play very well. A lot of those shots we missed, we usually make,” Joplin said. “But then we got some second opportunities with our rebounding and hustle plays. We wanted to play Saturday.”
Northview (20-4) came out of the gate quickly, leading by five points early, and kept it close until the fourth quarter. Alek West paced the Wildcats with 13 points and Colton Snow chipped in with 12.
Southview converted on just 8 of 24 shots through the first two quarters but still led 20-18 at halftime.
Northview jumped out to a 7-2 lead on a three point play from West. But Wagenhauser answered with a 3 pointer.
Southview went on a 13-4 run to end the first quarter and took an 18-13 lead. Horn scored 11 of his team's 13 points the first quarter. Horn scored five straight points to put Southview up for the first time, 10-9 with 3:30 left in the first period and the Cougars never trailed again.
“We started playing well together as a team,” Horn said.
But the Cougars then went ice cold, going 0 of 12 from the field in the second quarter. Northview did not fare much better, however, as the Wildcats hit just 2 of 9 from the field.
Southview went on a 7-2 run to take a 36-30 lead midway through the fourth quarter. The Wildcats cut it to 36-33 on a 3 pointer from Sam Clear with 3:41 left. But Southview made 13 of 14 free throws over the final three minutes to seal it. Horn and Fries both were four of four from the charity stripe down the stretch.
“We were able to hit our free throws down the stretch,” Horn said. “We did what we came here to do. We have confidence now.”
Southview finished with a 36-31 edge on the boards.
The Cougars went 14-0 to win the Northern Lakes League. Southview had topped Northview twice this season. The Cougars won 61-58 on the road on Jan. 19 and then beat the Wildcats 68-47 in the regular-season finale at home on Feb. 23.
“It's tough to beat a team three times,” Joplin said. “We have some much potentially in front of. Our guys responded.”
Whitmer players and coaches celebrate Thursday's 40-36 district semifinal win over St. Francis.
In the second semifinal, Whitmer (20-5) esponded from deficits of six points after one quarter and three at the half.
Junior forward Edward Colbert paced the Panthers with 14 points, including two key buckets over the final minute of regulation. Colbert also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.
“We got some stops and scored and that led us to the win,” Colbert said. “We really needed to get this win as a team.”
Whitmer finished with a 32-27 edge on the boards and forced 14 turnovers. The Panthers took control late in regulation by attacking the basket.
“Tonight we made a couple of unbelievable drives to the basket and finishes,” Whitmer coach Ryan Brown said. “I credit the heart of our kids. We came out and won the third and fourth quarters.”
St. Francis senior guard Tayler McNeal scored a team-high 14 points, while junior Jackie Harris had a game-high 11 rebounds.
After Whitmer opened the scoring one minute into the game to open with a 2-0 lead, St. Francis went on 12-0 run to end the first quarter to take a 12-6 after the opening stanza. The Knights forced five turnovers during the key spurt.
St. Francis went up 14-6 on a dunk by Jamiya Neal early in the second. But Colbert then caught fire with six straight points and the Panthers were within three points at the break at 17-14.
VIDEO: Whitmer-St. Francis
Whitmer then opened the third quarter with an 8-0 run capped by a 3 from Riley Keller (seven points) and a traditional three-point play from Areon Evans as the Panthers seized a 22-17 lead. St. Francis countered with a 5-0 run to tie it at 22. The game was then tied at 25 entering the fourth quarter.
Trey Syroka scored on two drives to the bucket for a 33-27 Panthers' lead with 4:32 left. But the Knights cut it to one after a steal and score by Jakiel Wells.
Colbert sealed it for the Panthers by twice finishing down low in the post as Whitmer went up 39-36 with 24 seconds remaining.
The Three Rivers Athletic Conference foes split the season series. The No. 3 seed Knights (18-6) defeated the Panthers 50-41 at home in the last meeting at St. Francis on Feb. 2. Whitmer, the No. 6 seed, knocked off the Knights 45-42 on Dec. 15.
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