KANSAS -- The Division IV boys district championship bout at Lakota High School on Friday night will feature an all Toledo Area Athletic Conference card.
Heavyweights Maumee Valley and Toledo Christian both represented the TAAC in fine fashion, advancing with wins in the district semifinals on Tuesday night.
The Hawks jumped all over Tiffin Calvert and never trailed en route to a 58-51 win. It took overtime for Toledo Christian to knock off New Riegel 57-52 in the opener.
The TAAC teams meet for the third time at 7 p.m. on Friday. Maumee Valley has defeated TC twice.
"It's a big TAAC rematch," said Maumee Valley junior David Brown, who scored all of his 15 points in the second half. "It will be a battle. We'll have to come out strong. We want to go as far as we can."
Toledo Christian junior Eric Cellier poured in a game-high 27 points to pace the Eagles' victory.
Fellow junior Dominique Pittman came up with several crucial plays in OT. The 5-9 guard started OT by pulling down a defensive rebound and then scored on a driving layup for a 53-51 lead.
Pittman then converted two foul shot attempts to put the Eagles up by three with 1:10 left. He scored four of TC's six points and the Eagles held New Riegel to one point in OT.
"Down the stretch I just wanted to stay composed, and we came out with the win," said Pittman, who finished with 10 points. "The crowd was so loud. It was crazy. This feels wonderful."
Cellier then sealed it with two free throws with 11 seconds left. Josh Winzeler finished with 12 points, including three 3-pointers in the third and fourth quarters.
The Eagles looked like they had put it away with a 12-1 run over the end of the third and into the fourth.TC hit four consecutive 3s, including three from Winzeler, to go from down five points to up 45-39. Winzeler hit a 3 at the third-quarter buzzer to tie it at 39.
But New Riegel rallied with a 6-0 run to tie it. The teams then exchanged baskets to send it to OT.
"We wanted to finish the game out a little better than we did," Toledo Christian coach Dave McWhinnie said. "But these kids are tough and resilient. Nobody ever thought we were going to lose. New Riegel never gave up."
It was TC's fifth overtime game of the year.
"We always schedule the hardest teams possible because we want to be ready for this moment," McWhinnie said.
The Eagles, who trailed by two at the half, advance to the district final for the seventh time in the last eight years.
"We want to keep this thing going as long as we can," McWhinnie said. "Our kids picked up a lot of experience last year in the regional. We're excited about [Friday night]."
In Maumee Valley's win, senior guard Rick Deichert dominated the first half with 16 of his game-high 19 points.
Then in the second half junior guard David Brown took over, scoring all 15 of his points.
"I'm usually a second-half player," Brown said. "I started getting hot and played aggressive."
Brown tallied 11 points in the third quarter, including a 3 pointer followed by a bucket inside that gave the Hawks a 35-26 lead. The baskets answered a 6-0 run by Calvert.
The Senecas then mounted another rally and pulled within 35-33 with 1:41 to go in the third. But Deichert responded with a 3 and Thad Woodard hit another 3 at the buzzer to give Maumee Valley a 45-36 lead heading into the final quarter.
Calvert closed within three points with 1:15 to go but Jared Sturt, who finished with 10 points, scored inside. Julius Turner, who had seven points, clinched it with two free throws with 19 seconds left.
"We knew we had to be resilient," Brown said. "We came out and played hard together."
Maumee Valley jumped all over Tiffin Calvert early and took a 13-4 lead. Deichert scored 11 points, including three 3 pointers, over the first 3:14 of the game. Deichert drilled a 3 just 30 seconds into the game and finished with five 3-pointers.
The Hawks led 15-10 after the first period as they forced six turnovers.
Maumee Valley expanded that to a 28-20 lead at the half, forcing six more Tiffin Calvert miscues.
Contact Mark Monroe at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6354, or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.
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