The Flashes took on Coldwater — a five-seed from the Lima district that upset No. 1 Archbold and perennial powerhouse Ottawa-Glandorf in its two previous tournament games.
The Cavaliers were as good as advertised, hitting 12 3-pointers en route to a 75-54 victory in a Division III regional semifinal at Bowling Green State University's Stroh Center on Wednesday.
"I did not feel like we got in a good offensive flow," Willard coach Joe Bedingfield said. "They did a nice job of changing defenses. I thought we struggled to get the ball inside like we like to do. We settled."
Willard finished at 22-4 overall.
"They shot the ball extremely well," Bedingfield said. "Credit to them. We have had a nice run."
The 75 points is the most the Flashes have allowed since 83 in a season-opening loss to Upper Sandusky on Nov. 30.
"Coldwater came out and they executed," Bedingfield said. "Their kids are playing well at the right time. We knew this was going to be a tough game... They are on a roll right now. It would not surprise me to see them win on Saturday (vs. Cardinal Stritch) as well."
The Flashes have plenty of size, but Coldwater had even more. The Cavaliers' five starters were all 6-foot-1 or taller, including four at 6-3. Of the 15 players listed on the Coldwater roster, 13 of them were 6-0 and taller. The height and size led to a 33-21 rebounding edge for Coldwater.
"Defensively, we got beat on the Carolina back screen that we repped over and over and over," Bedingfield said. "They got two or three of those back screen lobs. We knew that was coming."
The Flashes actually started the game very well. Two free throws by Cooper Parrott, a bucket by Micah Dawson off an assist by Brevon Polachek, and a score by Myles Pinkston gave Willard a 10-6 lead with 3:33 left in the first quarter.
"I thought we were in good shape early on," Bedingfield said. "It got away from us."
It was about that time that the 3-point shooting for Coldwater heated up. A triple from Jacob Wenning and bucket by Cole Frilling gave Coldwater the lead. Parrott hit a floater for Willard, but Wenning and Frilling each hit a 3-pointer for a 19-14 lead. Polachek scored for the Flashes, but another 3 from Frilling gave the Cavaliers a 22-16 lead after eight minutes.
Ben Wenning hit a 3-pointer and Marcus Bruns scored to extend the lead to double digits in the second quarter.
Willard consistently stayed close until a 7-0 run by Coldwater opened a 38-22 lead. Parrott hit two free throws before buckets by Pinkston and Terry Baldridge got the Flashes within 38-28. But, Coldwater had the last say as Justin Schwieterman and Noah Miller hit shots to give the Cavaliers a 42-28 lead at halftime.
"If we could have got it to eight ... We just could never quite dig ourselves out," Bedingfield said.
Jacob Wenning opened the third quarter with a triple for Coldwater and after a driving layup by Davon Triplett for the Flashes, Frilling was good from 3 to give the Cavaliers a 48-30 lead.
Willard never cut the lead below 17 points the rest of the night. Miller hit a 3 to give Coldwater a 60-39 lead after three quarters.
The Cavaliers tallied 28 baskets and 24 of them were assisted.
"24 assists is amazing," Bedingfield said. "That is just team basketball."
Parrott tallied 23 points, five rebounds, and four steals for Willard. Triplett added 13 points.
Frilling nailed four 3s en route to a game-high 26 points while Bruns added 16 points, seven rebounds, and six assists. Jacob Wenning had 11 points and Ben Wenning dished 10 assists.
"We have got a lot of guys in there that are upset right now," Bedingfield said. "I am upset for them, but they have had a very good season. I am very proud of what they have accomplished."
It was Willard's first district title since the 2006 season.
"We have had a lot of good things accomplished this year," Bedingfield said. "I am really proud of these guys. They have come far since the day I met them two years ago. We told them how proud we are."
Brevon Polachek 2-0—4, Terry Baldridge 3-0—6, Myles Pinkston 3-0—6, Davon Triplett 6-1—13, Cooper Parrott 8-4—23, Micah Dawson 1-0—2. TOTALS 23-5—54.
Marcus Bruns 6-3—16, Cole Frilling 9-4—26, Justin Schwieterman 3-0—6, Jacob Wenning 4-0—11, Ben Wenning 1-0—3, Jake Hemmelgarn 1-0—3, Noah Miller 3-0—7, Alex Wourms 1-0—3. TOTALS 28-7—54.
Willard 16 12 11 15 — 54
Coldwater 22 20 18 15 — 75
3-point FGs: (W) Parrott 3; (C) Frilling 4, J. Wenning 3, Bruns, B. Wenning, Hemmelgarn, Miller, Wourms