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BOWLING GREEN - Libbey took advantage of a frigid shooting performance by Wauseon and dominated on the boards last night to cruise to an easy 50-30 victory in a Division II boys basketball district semifinal at Bowling Green State University's Anderson Arena.
The Cowboys (12-6) never trailed after seizing a 13-3 lead at the end of the first quarter. Wauseon (14-8) shot just 29.7 percent from the field, including 22.2 percent in the first half.
Libbey earned a return trip to the district final against Defiance at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Maurice Taylor led all scorers with 13 points for Libbey. Milan Mabry added 12 and Lonacy Utley chipped in with 11. The Cowboys finished with a 40-20 advantage on the boards.
"In the pregame we stressed having a good start," Libbey coach Keith McClure said. "We also stressed inside play and trying to outrebound them."
Senior forward Tyler Hinkle paced Wauseon with 12 points and six rebounds. Overall, the Indians converted just 7 of 18 free throws and were 1 of 12 from beyond the arc.
"They altered our mentality and we weren't stepping up and shooting," Wauseon coach Chad Burt said. "We didn't shoot the ball. Give them credit. We did not do a good job on the boards and when they got offensive rebounds (15), they finished."
Utley had three of his game-high four blocks in the early going. Libbey went on a 7-0 run to take an 11-3 lead with 2:47 left in the first quarter.
"We just wanted to come out hard," Taylor said.
Taylor grabbed an offensive board, was fouled on a converted putback, and made the free throw for a 9-3 lead. After an Utley block on Hinkle inside, Taylor scored in transition for an eight-point cushion. Utley battled Hinkle, who came in averaging 10.3 rebounds and 16.9 points, down low for most of the night.
"He caused me problems because he has a nice sized body and I have a skinny frame," Utley said. "But I was able to deflect some shots."
Wauseon was cold from the floor and Libbey did not allow second shots in the first quarter. The combination led to a lopsided opening period as Libbey seized a 13-3 advantage by closing it with a 9-0 spurt.
Each team struggled from the field in the second quarter, scoring just six points apiece. Libbey took a 19-9 lead into the half despite just hitting 9 of 23 shots (39.1 percent).
Wauseon made just 4 of 18 from the floor (22.2 percent) in the first half. The Indians were one of six from the free-throw line and 0 of 6 from beyond the arc.
Libbey extended its lead to 35-17 after three quarters as Mabry hit two 3-pointers. The Cowboys grabbed a 28-13 advantage with a 6-0 run.
Libbey missed just two free throws (8 of 10).
"We're just trying to take it step by step," Taylor said. "We're trying to bring that championship back to Libbey."
The Cowboys finished tied for fourth in the City League (7-4), but failed to qualify for the final four playoffs. Libbey defeated Eastwood 70-55 to repeat as sectional champs.
"The experience we had from last year will be a plus," McClure said. "I think we have a real good idea what to expect."
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