NAPOLEON — For the 10th year in a row, the TAAC will have a district champion.
Toledo Christian assured an all-TAAC district final with a 46-34 win over Edgerton in Wednesday’s Division IV opener.
Maumee Valley Country Day (19-5) was a 56-47 winner over Ottawa Hills in the second semifinal, setting up Friday’s 7 p.m. championship game for the right to play at the regionals in Bowling Green next week.
Toledo Christian and MVCD split during the season.
Toledo Christian’s Delano Smith, front, tries to dribble away from Edgerton’s Clayton Flegal, left, and Tyson Curry during the Eagles’ victory in a Division IV district semifinal at Napoleon High School on Wednesday night.
PHOTO GALLERY: Division IV district semifinals at Napoleon
“Their length and athleticism shut down the driving lanes for us,” Edgerton coach Matt Ripke said of how the Eagles were able to pull away in the second half by holding the Bulldogs to just 15 points after the break.
Toledo Christian’s defense came up big after Edgerton made 9 of 16 field-goal attempts in the first half.
“We stayed out of foul trouble in the first half, which was key,” Toledo Christian coach Dave McWhinnie said.
“That allowed us to turn up the heat in the second half. We didn’t want Marcus [Durden] with two or three fouls at half.
In the second half, we were more aggressive. You can be more aggressive with a long and lengthy 6-5 in the back.”
VIDEO: Toledo Christian-Edgerton
While the defense limited the Bulldogs to just 5-of-18 shooting over the final 16 minutes, the offensive leaders picked it up.
Maumee Valley's Zeb Jackson drives to the basket during Wednesday's district semifinal against Ottawa Hills.
Leading scorer Delano Smith, who was held to just two points in the first two quarters, made two 3-pointers to open the third quarter.
“We wanted the first set to go to Owen [Gast] and then to Delano after that,” McWhinnie said.
“We intentionally wanted to try and get Delano involved. I thought once he hit those shots he got into the flow.”
Still, Edgerton stayed in the game and, after Logan Sack made two free throws following a flagrant foul on Toledo Christian, the Bulldogs had an opportunity to make it a one-possession game. Instead, the Eagles got a steal and bucket at the buzzer to lead 32-25 heading into the fourth.
“After the free throws, we needed a stop,” said Toledo Christian freshman Trevor Wensink.
“I hit the ball away, and Caleb Catchings got it and fed it to me. I didn’t know the time and I just did a casual layup. Everybody was on me about that.”
Edgerton got within 34-30 in the fourth quarter after a jumper in the lane by Braydon Cape with 4:45 left.
However, the momentum did not stay with the Bulldogs long after Landon McGill swished a 3-pointer from the left baseline 27 seconds later on a nice feed from Wensink.
“Coach said to space it out and swing the ball,” noted Wensink. “Landon got open and I was able to hit him.”
Toledo Christian closed out the game making 8-of-12 foul shots down the stretch, starting with Wensink converting both ends of a one-and-one with 1:41 to go and up six.
“I was feeling stuff then,” the freshman admitted about nerves. “But I knew I could make at least one.”
Wensink, who finished with a game-high 14 points, had nearly half of Toledo Christian’s points in the first half in helping the Eagles to a 20-19 halftime lead.
“He’s a terrific athlete who loves these moments,” McWhinnie said.
It helped overcome a first half in which the Eagles were outrebounded 12-6 while canning only 7-of-19 from the field.
“We missed open looks and were out of sorts offensively,” McWhinnie noted. “But that’s one of the best defensive teams we’ve played. They’re so well coached and they play so physical.”
Smith finished with 12 points for Toledo Christian, winners of seven straight in moving to 20-4 on the season.
Cape had 10 points for Edgerton (11-14), which reached the districts with a 50-42 victory over top-seeded Pettisville.
“I’m proud of this group, we were not expected to be here,” Ripke said. “We play in a tough conference and have a tough non-conference schedule with no gimmes. That prepared us for this. But in the second half we gave them too many second-chance opportunities and our shot selection down the stretch was not the greatest.”
In the nightcap, Zeb Jackson had 14 points, Parker Chatman scored 13, and Dez Jett scored 10 for Maumee Valley, which jumped to an 11-4 lead through one quarter of play, was on top 23-16 at half and 37-32 after three.
Eliot Cummings had 16 points for Ottawa Hills (14-10), Tommy Coil scored 13, and James Silk scored 11.
VIDEO: Maumee Valley-Ottawa Hills
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