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Joplin helps Cougars capture NLL title

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    Perrysburg s Charlie Hughes, who scored 23 points, defends Southview s Allen Gant.
    VIDEO: BCSN video highlights from Southview-Perrysburg boys game
    PHOTO GALLERY: Southview-Perrysburg; Evergreen-Bryan

    The Blade/Jeremy Wadsworth
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  • Joplin-helps-Cougars-capture-NLL-title

    Southview s Shaun Joplin heads up court after stealing the ball from Perrysburg s Jake Smith. Joplin scored 17 points.

    The Blade/Jeremy Wadsworth
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Shaun Joplin missed out on playing in Southview's game on the road at Perrysburg last season.

The Yellow Jackets probably wished he was nowhere near the jam-packed Jackets' gym last night when the two Northern Lakes League defending co-champions met with another league title on the line.

Joplin made his presence felt, helping Southview escape with a 66-63 victory over Perrysburg to clinch the NLL championship.

The Cougars' 6-foot-3 senior did whatever was necessary to help Southview win a school-record 18th straight game and improve to 18-1 overall, which includes a school-record 13-0 showing in the league. He tallied a team-high 17 points, including two 3-pointers, grabbed a game-high eight rebounds and dished out three assists.

Joplin-helps-Cougars-capture-NLL-title-2

Perrysburg s Charlie Hughes, who scored 23 points, defends Southview s Allen Gant.
VIDEO: BCSN video highlights from Southview-Perrysburg boys game
PHOTO GALLERY: Southview-Perrysburg; Evergreen-Bryan

The Blade/Jeremy Wadsworth
Enlarge | Buy This Image

The Cougars, claiming at least a share of the league title for the third time in the last five seasons, won at Perrysburg for the third straight season.

"It feels great because I got to be a part of this game this year, unlike last year," said Joplin, who was academically ineligible to play in last year's game that resulted in Southview earning a share of the league title by handing Perrysburg its only loss during the regular season.

"We're league champions, and we're happy."

Joplin's final assist - coming off penetration to the basket - resulted in Bernard Pinckney scoring from close range to put Southview ahead 64-63 lead with 11 seconds left in the game.

"I think our kids have played well in this environment," Southview coach Marc Jump said. "Every time we've played here it seems like it's been a big-game environment. Perrysburg has played well in this big-game environment, but I think the Cougars have performed as well."

The Yellow Jackets, who were guilty of 17 turnovers, gave the ball right back to the Cougars after Pinckney's score when a quick inbounds pass sailed out of bounds just past midcourt. The Cougars took over possession and Pinckney ended up getting fouled and proceeded to sink two free throws to make it 66-63 with 8.6 ticks left on the clock.

"I knew I had to step up and also hit the free throws down the stretch," said Pinckney, a 6-2 senior who scored all 10 of his points in the second half. "If I don't hit those free throws they could've scored and we didn't want to end our careers with an NLL loss."

Perrysburg, which had claimed at least a share of the league championship six of the last eight seasons, had one final possession. But Kevin Schenk dribbled up court and misfired on a 3-point attempt just before time expired.

Southview's Tim Hausfeld, the league's leading scorer at 20.8 points per game, finished with 12 points before being called for his fifth foul with just under 30 seconds left to play. Allen Gant also scored 12 points before fouling out, and Andy Borcherdt added 11 to give the Cougars five players in double figures.

"I thought we had some guys really step up at the end of the basketball game," Jump said.

Charlie Hughes poured in 23 points, including 15 after halftime, and grabbed six rebounds to lead the Jackets. David Hieber had 17 points and five boards.

Both teams struggled early and had a tough time getting into a rhythm in a tightly officiated contest. The Cougars hit 12-of-16 free throws compared to the Yellow Jackets 10-of-17. The Cougars were 7-for-8 from the line in the fourth quarter.

A win for Perrysburg (15-3,

11-2) would have pulled the Jackets into a tie for first.

"It was a really good high school basketball game with two good teams who didn't back down from each other and kept making plays," Perrysburg coach Dave Boyce said. "In the end, two things, we just didn't get some stops and statistically we're not going to win the game on the line. We just put them there too many times and they made their free throws."

Contact Donald Emmons at:

demmons@theblade.com

or 419-724-6302.

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