COLUMBUS - Against Dayton Dunbar's bigger and more physical inside game, top-ranked and unbeaten Upper Sandusky utilized its long-range attack yesterday in the Division II state boys basketball semi-
finals to take a 95-90 victory over the ninth-ranked Wolverines at Value City Arena.
Jon Diebler, the Rams' standout 6-6 sophomore, hit a D-II final-four-record seven 3-pointers (on 13 attempts) en route to 29 points. In all, Upper Sandusky was 16-of-29 on 3-pointers, breaking the final-four all-division record of 13 treys set by Worthington Christian in the 1999 D-IV state final.
Upper Sandusky (26-0) - which hadn't won a Northern Ohio League title since 1964, and had never won a district title before this season - faces 14th-ranked Wooster Triway (23-3) here for the D-II state title tomorrow at 10:45 a.m.
Senior guard Greg Micheli, a two-time All-Ohio football player, added 26 points for the Rams, going 3-for-5 on 3-pointers.
A career 1,000-point scorer, Micheli's chances of reaching this state title game increased greatly last summer when he was joined by two others who have eclipsed 1,000 points.
Rams coach Keith Diebler left his post at Fostoria of the NOL after three seasons to fill the Upper Sandusky vacancy and brought his two sons (Jon and senior Jacob) with him.
"We needed to take good 3s and get the ball up the floor and take advantage of some things that we do well," said Keith Diebler, who also coached Gibsonburg for 17 seasons. "Overall we were very lucky. We felt that if it was a half-court game, and they were able to do some things inside, it would be the other way."
Jacob Diebler - a 6-3 point guard and the D-II state co-player of the year this season along with Dunbar's Daequan Cook - added 15 points, including a 10-of-12 effort at the foul line which helped seal things late.
Cook paced Dunbar (22-5) with 26 points, and Antoine Sain added 22 for the Wolverines, who were 4-for-18 on 3-pointers.
With both Dieblers scoreless in the first quarter, Micheli (nine points) and 6-7 senior forward Miles Weaver (six of his 13) filled the void as the Rams were tied 20-20.
Jon Diebler, 0-for-7 shooting in the first period, heated up in the second. The second-team All-Ohioan scored 13 points to close the half, helping the Rams to a 43-35 lead.
"Everyone was telling me to keep shooting, to attack and be aggressive," Jon Diebler said. "That's what I did, and I knew eventually they'd start falling."
Upper Sandusky - outrebounded 53-41 in the game and forced into 21 turnovers - used a 21-13 surge to close the third period ahead 69-53.
The Rams led by 19 twice early in the fourth, then weathered a late Wolverine rally. Dunbar scored 37 points in the final eight minutes, a final-four all-division record for a single quarter.
The Rams sank 17 of their 21 free throws in the game's final 4:48.
- Steve Junga
WOOSTER TRIWAY 71,
COLUMBUS LINDEN MCKINLEY 70
Linc Rottman hit his second free-throw attempt with 8.3 seconds left and Wooster Triway survived a last-second scare to grab its first victory at the state tournament.
In a wild game with dramatic momentum swings each way, the teams ended up tied at 70 after Robert Graves made two free throws for Linden (11-15) with 43.8 seconds left.
Triway (24-3), winless in two previous trips to the final four in 1988 and 1991, barely got the ball in on the ensuing inbounds play before Rottman (25 points) was fouled on a drive to the basket with 10 seconds left.
Sophomore James Davis, who scored 17 points for Linden while hitting five of 10 3-pointers, threw up a shot that bounced off the back of the rim with two seconds left.
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