Leopards Out Heart Copley, Advance to 1st District Final Since 2000
#2 Louisville 43, #3 Copley 37
The #2 Seed Louisville Leopards Boys Basketball Team defeated the #3 Seed Copley Indians 43-37 in the DII Canton District Semifinals Thursday Night at Canton Memorial Fieldhouse. With the victory, Louisville improves to 17-7 on the season and advances to their first District Championship since 2000. They will take on the same team they played 20 years ago in the District Finals, the top seeded Triway Titans on Saturday, March 7 at 4:00 PM.
Collin Chambers scored 12 of his game-high 19 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Leopards. Scotty Gronow also reached double digits with 10 and Cory Noble scored 8 points in the paint.
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Louisville in Control From the Start
Louisville controlled the game with their speed and efficient passing. Their patience on offense throughout the contest allowed them to overcome a much taller Copley team. This game plan allowed the Leopards to hold the Indians to just a single field goal as they took an 8-3 lead at the end of the first.
Chambers stole a pass on Copley’s opening possession of the second quarter, crossed the timeline, and fed Gronow streaking down the lane for an easy lay-in. That gave Louisville its largest lead of the first half at 10-3.
Back-and-Forth Second Quarter
The two teams traded baskets once more to even the game at 12. Gronow broke the tie by burying a three-pointer at the top of the key off a pass from Chambers with a little over three minutes to go before halftime. Two minutes later, Chambers used his ball skills to work the ball inside drawing a double team. This left Noble wide open for an easy layup making the score 17-12 in favor of the Leopards at the half.
Copley Strikes Back in the Third
Louisville picked up right where they left off, this time Gronow drew defenders leaving Noble open for back-to-back layups. That put LHS in front 21-16.
Copley answered with a 10-0 run to take their largest lead of the contest. Campbell spearheaded the rally scoring 7 straight points. He broke free for a lay-in in the paint, hit from the top of the arch for three to tie the game, and then gave the Indians a lead with an offensive board and putback. Cole Beck finished off the run with a deep three from the left wing to give Copley their largest lead of the game at 26-21 with 2:58 to go in the third. The Tribe would hold their advantage for the remainder of the period taking a 28-25 lead into the fourth.
Leopards Take Over in the Fourth
That fourth quarter would belong to the Leopards. Chambers set the tone early with a step back game-tying three-pointer on the period’s opening possession. Two minutes later he broke the tie with a deep three-pointer from the right corner. Louisville continued to drain the clock away with unselfish offense. The Indians had a chance to tie the game a few minutes later, but Chambers with a perfectly timed stunning jump batted a pass away across mid-court. He then retrieved it in stride off a double bounce and without dribbling laid the ball home with one smooth motion while being fouled in the process. The extra point was good and the Leopards led 34-29 with 3:14 to go.
Louisville never looked back. Using charity from the free throw line they opened up their largest lead of the game at 37-29. The Indians cut the deficit to 40-36 after Campbell hit his third three-pointer of the game with 22.2 seconds left. But Chambers would convert 3 of 4 free throws in the remaining time to ice the game and give the Leopards their first tournament winning streak since 2000.
Copley (11-13) was led by Campbell who scored a team-high 14 points. Thurman also scored double figures with 10 and Robinson dropped in 8.
Louisville Vs. Copley All-Time Series
The Leopards are now 2-1 against the Indians all-time which includes a 2-0 record in tournament games. Louisville also defeated Copley 77-59 in the DII Canton Sectional Finals at Canton Memorial Fieldhouse on March 2, 1990. Their only other meeting also came on neutral floor at North Canton Hoover in 2009. Copley prevailed in that regular season matchup 71-57.
Louisville’s District Championship History
Louisville is now 53-83 all-time in the postseason in known records dating back to 1932. The Leopards are now 25-26 when competing in the Division II tournament. This is the fourth time LHS has earned a birth in the DII Canton District Championship game. Their only District Title came in 1993 as they finished as runner-ups in 1992 and 2000.
Leopards Division II District Final Log
UP NEXT: The Leopards will next take on the top seeded Triway Titans in the DII District Semifinals at the Canton Memorial Fieldhouse on Saturday, March 7 at 4:00 PM.
LEOPARDS 43, INDIANS 37
INDIANS: Campbell 5 1-2 14, Thurman 4 2-6 10, Robinson 4 0-0 8, Beck 1 0-2 3, Laurich 1 0-0 2. TOTAL 15 3-10 37.
3-Pointers (4): Campbell 3, Beck
Team FT: 3-10 30%
LEOPARDS: Chambers 6 4-6 19, Gronow 3 3-5 10, Noble 4 0-0 8, Hoffman 1 2-4 4, Pukys 0 2-2 2. TOTAL 14 11-17 43.
3-Pointers (4): Chambers 3, Gronow
Team FT: 11-17 65%
Fouls: 17-12 Copley
Turnovers: 11-9 Copley
Records: Louisville 17-7, Copley 11-13