DAYTON — The New Miami High School boys basketball team had its magical season come to a screeching halt Friday night at the University of Dayton Arena, dropping a 71-63 decision to Springfield Catholic Central in a Division IV district championship game.
While Ronnie Bowman was disappointed in the outcome, the senior said he wouldn’t trade the trip for anything.
“This was a pretty fun season,” Bowman said. “We got the sectional title, but we were trying to go a lot further than this. It was fun for the seniors. We are one of six teams in New Miami history to make it this far.”
Bowman had a solid night with eight points, but the big man made his impact with 17 boards, including his 1,000th career rebound.
“I was pretty excited,” Bowman said. “I set a goal to get 1,000 in something and I am not a point guard, so I knew it would be hard to get 1,000 points. I just want to work hard, and that is where rebounds come from.”
Catholic Central won the district for the second year in a row and will play St. Henry at 8 p.m. on Tuesday in the regional semifinals at Fairmont’s Trent Arena.
The Irish play five seniors and all five had big nights Friday, led by Mykah Eichie’s 22 points. Sabien Doolittle had 18 points and 11 boards. Point guard Trey Dunn had 15 points and Jayden Borden chipped in 11 as the Irish improved to 22-3.
“We can walk out of here with our heads held high because we lost to a very good basketball team,” New Miami coach Jared Lee said. “They have won 22 ballgames now for a reason.”
It was the Vikings’ first trip to the district finals since 2003, and they didn’t go down easy.
Jordan Robinette poured in 17 of his 23 points in the final quarter, while fellow sophomore Deanza Duncan was a human highlight reel all night, knocking down five treys en route to 23 points.
“I felt really good out there,” Duncan said. “It was different being on such a big court, but I felt good. We fought. I am happy. We are one of the top 32 teams in the state.”
The Irish used an early 9-0 run to grab a 13-4 lead, but Trey Robinette had seven points — including a deep 3 — as the Vikings closed to 15-12 after the first period.
Duncan hit back-to-back triples to tie the game at 18, but the Irish ended the half on an 11-3 run after the Vikings ran into foul trouble.
The dagger was Eichie getting a length-of-the-court pass and scoring at the buzzer to put CC up 29-21 at the break.
“All of our guys stepped up whether it was offensively or defensively,” Catholic Central coach Cody Saransen said. “That team is scrappy and they can shoot. I’m glad our guys were able to stay composed and hang in there.”
Foul trouble was an issue all night for New Miami, which saw Trey Robinette get his fourth in the third quarter and his fifth one minute into the final stanza. David Cunningham also fouled out as the Vikings were outscored 24-5 at the charity stripe.
The Irish finished the game 24-of-37 from the charity stripe, while the Vikings hit 5-of-9.
“For a while there they shot a lot of free throws, and I will leave it at that,” Lee said. “It was huge losing (Trey). He had a couple bad breaks.”
Eichie had another dagger, a 3 at the third-quarter buzzer, to put CC up 49-33. But the Vikings didn’t quit.
New Miami tossed in 30 fourth-quarter points, and Bowman pulled down his 1,000th board with under a minute to go. The rebound set off a wild celebration by his teammates and fans.
“He has been in this program four years and gets to end his career as a sectional champ,” Lee said. “He has fought so hard for four years, and we couldn’t be happier he got it.”
New Miami finished the season 16-10.
“We had highs and we had lows, but we got to end it with a sectional championship and a trip to UD Arena, so we finished on a pretty good high,” Lee said. “We went down fighting, and I think everybody in this arena saw that.”
The loss marked the career finale for three NM seniors: Bowman, Cunningham and Nate Hobbs.
Duncan said the Vikings will learn from this defeat and be back.
“That is a tough team,” Duncan said of the Irish. ”They have been there two years in a row, but we will be fine. We will come back better, stronger next year.”
Spring. Catholic Central 15-14-20-22—71
New Miami 12-9-12-30—63
SPRINGFIELD CATHOLIC CENTRAL (22-3): Mykah Eichie 8 5 22; Sabien Doolittle 4 9 18; Jayden Borden 3 4 11; Trey Dunn 5 4 15; Peyton Harris 1 2 5. Totals: 21-24-71
NEW MIAMI (16-10): Deanza Duncan 8 2 23; Trey Robinette 4 0 9; Ronnie Bowman 4 0 8; Jordan Robinette 9 3 23. Totals: 25-5-63
3-pointers: CC 5 (Eichie, Doolittle, Borden, Dunn, Harris), N 8 (Duncan 5, J. Robinette 2, T. Robinette)