St. Paul edged South Central in the first quarter. The visiting Trojans took a strong second quarter on the way to 60-55 Firelands Conference win inside the Harvey Keller Gymansium in Norwalk.
South Central ended the regular season with an overall record of 18-4 and 12-2 in the FC. The Flyers went to 14-8 and 9-5.
“I thought it was a heck of a basketball game, to be honest with you,” St. Paul coach Mike Smith said. “I thought both teams battled hard. Again, I thought it was just a great game. This was a battle between two really good teams. I have the utmost respect for them and I think they respect our program.”
Three players from each team hit double figures.
South Central junior Simon Blair led all scorers with 20 points.
“Obviously, Simon was pretty good, but I thought we made it pretty tough for him to score,” Smith said. “I thought we had some opportunities in transition and we didn’t score. We beat ‘em up pretty good (on) offensive rebounding. In saying that, we still missed a lot of shots inside, but we were resilient there.”
Sophomore David Lamoreaux had a double-double for the Trojans — 14 points, 10 rebounds and a blocked shot. Junior Isaiah Seidel added 12 points.
Senior Alex Holland pulled down five rebounds.
“I’d like to credit coach Smith and his kids and the seniors. I thought they played extremely hard,” coach Brett Seidel said. “We have some kids who can make plays on their own. Obviously, we have a dynamic ball-handler in Simon Blair. … I thought that he did a really nice job, especially early hitting some shots and getting to the rim.
“I thought they really hurt us on the offensive glass. The Kashian brothers just crashed the glass; we had no real answer for them inside. The Winslows got it going a little later,” he added. “I did think we were playing pretty good defense on the perimeter. We did not stop them on the interior the entire night. I feel they like they got a lot of paint touches the entire night and really hurt us inside.”
For the Flyers, senior Ian Kashian scored 15 points to go with eight rebounds.
Sophomore Nate Winslow contributed 14 points and Alex Kashian had 11.
“I’m proud of our kids — their fight, their effort. They competed; they stuck their nose into the end,” Smith said.
St. Paul ended the first quarter with a 13-12 lead. Ian Kashian had seven of the Flyers’ first-period points.
South Central had a 20-15 advantage with 6:05 in the second quarter. The Trojans outscored St. Paul 20-13 in the period to take a 32-26 lead into halftime.
The third quarter ended with South Central up 45-41.
I don’t think we necessarily had our best game, but I think that’s a lot to do with (the Flyers) and their interior,” Seidel said. “We knew they were going to be good and were going to be confident and they were going to be aggressive. We made enough plays and the kids toughed it out.”
Smith wouldn’t mind a rematch with South Central during the tournament, though that isn’t possible until the district championship.
“It would be nice to play in them in that game,” he said. “We are bracketed opposite (South Central), but again, that’s a meat-grinder. Our sectional championship is such a meat-grinder. It’s also very open-ended; there are a lot of teams that could win that. There are seven teams with 13 wins or more.
“We’re going to do our best to prepare for next Friday night (with) the sectional championship,” he added.
Friday was Senior Night at the at the St. Paul Convocation Center.
“It’s hard to see these seniors go out. I’ve spent a lot of time with them. They’re great kids; they’re great basketball players. Better yet, they’re better people and want to try and win a championship. We’ve won eight of our last 12 sectionals and we’d like to get 9 out of 13,” Smith said.
In junior varsity action, South Central had a 32-21 lead at halftime. In the third quarter, St. Paul scored 33 points and didn’t look back in the 61-46 win to finish at 19-3 and FC champions.
Junior Jordan Shepherd led the Flyers with 23 points. Junior Grant Houck added 12 and sophomore Scotty Adelman scored 11.
For South Central, sophomore Jackson McCormack swished in 23 points. Classmate Blaine Wheeler added 10.
Follow Reflector staff writer Cary Ashby on Facebook at “Cary Ashby — reporter & comic book blogger” and on Twitter at @Cary_reporter.
SOUTH CENTRAL (18-4, 12-2)
Simon Blair 6-6—20; Sam Seidel 1-0—3; Alex Holland 2-1—5; David Lamoreaux 4-6—14; Isaiah Seidel 1-0—12; Evan Legg 1-0—3; Tycen Cooper 1-0—3. TOTALS 21-13—60.
ST. PAUL (14-8, 9-5)
Noah Good 1-0—2; Treg Smith 1-0—2; Noah Avendano 1-0—2; Jake Griffin 1-0—2; Nick Winslow 1-2—5; Justin Hammersmith 1-0—2; Nate Winslow 6-1—14; Ian Kashian 5-5—15; Alex Kashian 5-1—11. TOTALS 22-9—55.
S. Central 12 20 13 15 — 60
St. Paul 13 13 15 14 — 55
3-point FGs: (SC) Blair 2, S. Seidel, Legg, Cooper; (SP) Nick Winslow, Nate Winslow
JV: St. Paul, 61-46