DAYTON — Cincinnati Hughes jumped out to a 15-0 lead, and Carroll found it had dug itself too deep of a hole, in Thursday’s March 8 Division II district championship game at UD Arena. Hughes limited the Patriots to eight points in the entire first half to roll to an eventual 57-38 win.
“That Hughes team is very strong. Their five starters are seniors, and they can play. No question. They can play,” Carroll coach Tim Cogan said while watching the Hughes players accept their winning medals. “That was a very good team that we lost to. … We didn’t play well early on and that hurt us, obviously. We hung with them or beat them in the second half, but we didn’t put it together for four quarters tonight.”
Carroll limited Hughes (23-3) to six points scored in the third quarter, while scoring 18, but still trailed 40-26 heading into the final eight minutes of play. The Big Red outscored Carroll, 17-12 in that final quarter.
Senior Eli Ramsey led the Patriots (16-10) with 13 points scored, and junior Matt Cogan finished with 10 second-half points. Jaden Dahm scored five points, senior T.K. Robinson ended his playing career with three points, Gavin Kinney scored three as well, while fellow juniors Simon Jefferson and Austin Schafer both scored two.
Hughes coach Bryan Wyant said his Big Red bunch have been good at getting off to a solid start in recent games. Without going into details, Wyant also said his team knew what to expect from the Patriots.
“God’s been good to us. We got off to a great start, and that’s a tribute to our seniors. They did a really good job, and our guys on the bench did a great job of preparing us for what they were going to do. I think that really helped us get off to a good start,” Wyant said. “We were very prepared for what they were going to do, and I think that might’ve caught them off guard for a little bit.”
Carroll went 0-for-6 with six turnovers during Big Red’s 15-0 run to start the game.
Hughes’ 6-foot-1 senior forward Shawn Hawkins led all scorers with 16 points, and 6-5 senior guard D.J. Brewton scored 13 points to go with 12 rebounds. The Big Red will take on the winner of the Dunbar-Cincinnati Woodward district final, which will be played at 3 p.m., Saturday March 10 at Hamilton High.
Hughes will take on the winner of that contest at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 15 at Kettering’s James S. Trent Arena in the D-II regional semifinals.
“We’re losing some great kids,” Cogan said of his three seniors. “T.K. Robinson, Eli Ramsey and Justin Dirksen. They’re three incredible kids, I hate to see them go. They were great leaders all year long.”
Cogan said the Patriots have now competed in the district championship game in four of the last five years.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.