Griffins Steal Season from Leopards 53-51 – Boys Basketball
#2 Akron Buchtel 53, #3 Louisville 51
The 3rd Seed Louisville Leopards lost a 53-51 heartbreaker to the 2nd Seed Akron Buchtel Griffins in the DII Canton District Semifinals Thursday Night at Canton Memorial Fieldhouse. With the loss, Louisville finishes the 2017-2018 season with a final record of 17-7.
Brandon Wahl scored a game-high 19 points to lead the Leopards. Spencer Hall also dropped in 14 and Cam King added 9 for Louisville.
The Griffins (16-8) were led by Will Jacobs who scored all of his team-high 12 points down low. Jon King also hit double figures with 10 and Chris Robinson added 9 for Buchtel.
The two teams were very evenly matched throughout. Hall gave the Leopards the early advantage at 2-0, but Louisville would not lead again until Hall opened the second half with a similar bucket to put LHS up 26-24. Despite this, he Griffins never led by more than 6 points when they went up 12-6 in the first quarter and then again at 32-26 following an 8-0 third quarter run.
The Leopards answered that deficit with a 7-0 run of their own to take the lead back at 33-32. King made a jumper from the left elbow, hit home a three-pointer from the left corner, and then delivered a nicely timed pass to Wahl underneath for the go-ahead lay-in.
A very simliar sequence repeated itself after that. The Griffins put together an 8-1 run to take their third 6-point advantage of the contest at 40-34. Louisville erased it with a 7-0 run in return. Hall hit a pair from the line and Colton Jones added two more on a steal and score. That trimmed the deficit to 40-38 at the end of three. The run completed with Hall draining an uncontested three-pointer from the top of the arch to put the Leopards ahead 41-40 just 13 seconds into the final quarter. Hall emphatically made a bow and arrow signal to verify he hit his bullseye.
Back-to-back Buchtel baskets by Jacobs underneath put the Griffins back in front at 44-41. The two teams exchanged field goals one more time before the Leopards scored 6 straight points to take their largest lead of the game. King scored on a jumper from the right elbow. Then Hall fed a cutting Zeller who pulled back to make a tough shot that gave Louisville the lead with three minutes to go.
On a mission, Wahl went right up Tuscarawas for a layup to put the Leopards ahead 49-46. The Griffins matched this effort as Robinson drove hard to the lane and scored with the left hand on the next possession. Wahl used the side streets instead of the center lane to weave his way in for a layup on the next Louisville trip down the floor. That put LHS in control at 51-48 with 100 ticks left.
However, the tide turned against the Leopards in the final minute. Robinson dribbled left which shifted the Louisville defense and popped Ja’Shawn Campbell wide open on the right wing. Robinson delivered an overhand pass to Campbell who cashed in the game-tying three-pointer with 48 seconds to go to knot the game at 51-51.
Madness ensued on the final few possessions. The Leopards could not quite connect on a good look from the right corner and Robinson snagged the rebound for Buchtel. The Griffins burned two timeouts to on their way across the timeline. Out of the timeout, Buchtel inbounded the ball in front of the scorers table just in front of the half court stripe After a single dribble, King came storming in to knock the ball free and Zeller went onto the floor to force the tie up. The possession arrow favored Louisville and they got the ball back with just 10 seconds to go.
The Leopards pushed the ball across half court looking for the game winning shot. With a foul to give, the Griffins Tyrus Toney aggressively charged in to take the ball away. Picking up his dribble in stride, Toney rolled to the rack for the game winning back with 0.7 seconds remaining. Buchtel celebrated a District Championship birth and in an instant Louisville’s promising tournament run was ended.
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GRIFFINS 53, LEOPARDS 51
Akron Buchtel 12-12-16-13—53
LEOPARDS: Wahl 9 0-0 19, Hall 5 3-4 14, King 4 0-0 9, Zuppe 2 0-0 5, C. Jones 1 0-0 2, Zeller 1 0-0 2. TOTAL 22 3-4 51.
3-Pointers (4): Hall, King, Wahl, Zuppe
Team FT: 3-4 75%
GRIFFINS: Jacobs 6 0-0 12, King 5 0-1 10, Robinson 4 0-0 9, Toney 3 0-0 7, Campbell 2 0-0 6, Valrie 2 0-0 5, Wilson 1 0-0 2, Young-Jones 1 0-0 2. TOTAL 24 0-1 53.
3-Pointers (5): Campbell (2), Robinson, Toney, Valrie
Team FT: 0-1 0%
Turnovers: 17-16 Louisville
Records: Akron Buchtel 16-8, Louisville 17-7