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Summit’s Johnson prevents Tigers’ upset bid

Future Bearcat scores 29 points in 63-49 district final victory

WLSSummit

ABOVE: West Liberty-Salem’s Landon Hormann, right, goes up for a basket in front of Summit Country Day’s Mike Barwick during Thursday’s Division III district championship game at the University of Dayton. BELOW: West Liberty-Salem’s Travis Mayse, right, dribbles the ball past Summit Country Day’s Jake Rawlings during Thursday’s game in Dayton.(EXAMINER PHOTOS | MATT HAMMOND)

WLSMayse

DAYTON — Kevin Johnson was every bit as good as advertised here Thursday night.

Johnson, a senior guard, put on a dazzling show to power Cincinnati Summit Country Day to a 63-49 victory over West Liberty-Salem in a Division III district championship game at the University of Dayton.

The Tigers were able to contain the Silver Knights’ other highly touted weapons, but did not have an answer for Johnson.

A University of Cincinnati recruit, Johnson piled up 29 points and 15 rebounds. He also notched five steals and three assists.

“He is a phenomenal player,” said WL-Salem senior forward Landon Hormann, who had a big game of his own with 21 points and eight rebounds. “He was even better than I thought. I have a lot of respect for him.”

The 6-2 Johnson scored in a variety of ways. He knocked down two three-pointers, scored on numerous putbacks with the help of nine offensive rebounds and he was 5-of-5 at the foul line.

“I think he is one of the best guards in the country,” said Summit Country Day coach Michael Bradley, a former first-round NBA draft pick who played five years of pro basketball.

The Tigers were considered by many a big underdog. SCD is the defending Division III state champion and was the top-ranked team in the final state poll.

WL-Salem showed no signs of being intimidated, though. The Tigers (20-6) trailed by just eight points with 1:34 remaining in the game.

“I am so proud of these guys,” said an emotional WL-Salem head coach Aaron Hollar. “They never once backed down this season, especially tonight. They never flinched. I thought we battled toe-to-toe with them from the start.”

 The Silver Knights (24-1) never trailed. They led 15-9 after the opening quarter and held a 31-20 lead at halftime.

SCD pushed its lead to 17 points in the third quarter, but the Tigers crept back in the fourth period.

Hormann made two foul shots to make the score 57-49 with just over a minute and a half remaining, but the Tigers did not score another point.

Hollar pointed to the rebounding statistics as the difference in the game. The Silver Knights outrebounded his squad 36-24.

“I don’t know the exact numbers yet, but I’m sure the rebounding was lopsided,” said Hollar. “It seemed like we would get a big stop, but then they would get a rebound and stickback.”

The Tigers also were hurt by turnovers. They turned the ball over 21 times against the aggressive defensive approach of SCD.

“I thought that was give-and-take,” said Hollar. “They forced us into some turnovers, but we also were able to get some easy ones on the other end.”

WL-Salem continued its trend of strong free-throw shooting, making 85 percent of its attempts (18-of-21).

However, the Tigers shot just 36 percent from the field.

The Silver Knights made 40 percent of their field goals and shot 73 percent at the charity stripe.

As the Tigers struggled to stop Johnson, the Silver Knights had the same problem with Hormann. He made 11-of-12 free throws, two three-pointers and a pair of two-point buckets.

“Landon showed why he is one of the best players in this entire area,” said Hollar. “He does it all. He can shoot from the outside, he can post up, he rebounds and he plays great defense. He is a complete player.”

Hormann also recorded three steals and blocked a shot.

“(Hormann) did a good job tonight,” said Johnson. “They fought hard and it was a pretty good game.”

Max Bailey contributed 11 points for the Tigers. Travis Mayse had nine and Grant Burden chipped in with six.

Junior point guard Antonio Woods, who holds several Division I scholarship offers, added 13 points for the Silver Knights.

Summit’s standout sophomore guard MaCio Teague, who came in averaging 15 points per game, was held to six.

Thursday’s loss ended a tremendous season for the Tigers, who won just six games last year. Hollar credited his five seniors for spearheading the turnaround.

“To set a school record for wins coming off a six-win season says a lot about the character of our seniors,” said Hollar.

The reality of the moment was tough to deal with for Hormann and his fellow seniors.

“Since we’ve been young, this has been a special group,” he said with tears beginning to fall down his face. “We are all great friends. It is sad to see it end.”

SCD advances to play in the regional semifinals against Cincinnati Roger Bacon on Wednesday at Kettering Fairmont.

SUMMIT COUNTRY DAY 63, WL-SALEM 49

WL-SALEM (20-6)

Bailey 3 3-5 11; Mayse 4 0-0 9; G. Burden 1 4-4 6; Hormann 4 11-12 21; B. Burden 1 0-0 2. Totals: 13 18-21 49.

SCD (24-1)

Woods 5 2-4 13; Johnson 11 5-5 29; Barwick 2 2-2 6; Teague 2 2-4 6; Davis 2 0-0 6; Kreyenhagen 1 0-0 3. Totals: 23 11-15 63.

Tigers    9    11    15    14  — 49

Knights    15    16    17    15    —    63

Three pointers: WL-Salem 5 (Hormann 2, Bailey 2, Mayse); SCD 6 (Johnson 2, Davis 2, Woods, Kreyenhagen). Rebounds: WL-Salem 24 (Hormann 8); SCD 36 (Johnson 15). Assists: WL-Salem 8 (Mayse 3); SCD 10 (Woods 5). Steals: WL-Salem 4 (Hormann 3); SCD 14 (Johnson 5). Turnovers: WL-Salem 21; SCD 12. Team fouls: WL-Salem 10; SCD 18.

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