After Springfield built a double-digit lead midway through the third quarter, the Trojans were playing from behind.
South Central cut the lead to six points and had possession, but never fully recovered in a 62-50 Division IV regional semifinal loss to the Tigers on Tuesday at the Canton Fieldhouse.
"They killed us at both ends," South Central coach Brett Seidel said. "We were one-and-done. We did not shoot the ball well at all in either half. We did not get any second chance points, either. We did not get any offensive rebounds. I felt like they shot it until they made it."
The Trojans finish at 21-5, capturing the school's first district championship since 1974.
"We have a lot of hurting kids in there," Seidel said. "For as much as they have accomplished this year — I don't know what is hurting more — whether we just lost by 12 or that it is over for the year. "
A three-point play by Isaiah Seidel kept South Central within 24-23 with 5:53 left in the third quarter, but Springfield (21-5) kicked it up a notch from there.
Clay Medvec scored just before consecutive buckets by Shane Eynon. After a timeout from South Central, Drew Clark hit the first 3 of the game and consecutive scores by Eynon and Evan Ohlin pushed the Tigers' lead to 38-23.
The Trojans responded with another push to try and recover from the big deficit. Seidel hit South Central's first 3-pointer after 12 straight misses to open the game. Simon Blair then hit a jumper to get the Trojans within 38-28 after three quarters.
"I thought they were a lot more gap-orientated because of Simon," coach Seidel said. "They doubled him in the full-court and face-guarded him. It’s nothing we have not seen."
Seidel opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer to get South Central within seven points. Eynon hit two free throws for the Tigers, but David Lamoreaux scored on a offensive rebound and two free throws by Seidel cut the lead to six points.
South Central then forced Springfield into one of its 13 turnovers, but the Trojans could not cash in as a traveling call stalled the South Central possession and run. Clark scored on back-to-back trips down the floor for Springfield and the Tigers led by 10.
The Trojans could only slice the lead down to eight points in there, but the duo of Clark and Eynon was way too much for South Central on this night. The two combined for 37 points and 33 rebounds.
"We just did not have an answer for their big kid inside," said coach Seidel of Eynon. "They have shooters all over the floor. We saw that on film. We tried to not help as much. We thought we could contain (Eynon)."
South Central found itself down double-digits in two of its last three tournament wins, but this was too much to overcome.
"That is what we kept imploring to them," coach Seidel said. "We have been in this situation before. We have been down before. We got it to six points, but we just could not get it over that hump."
The Tigers scored six straight points in the first quarter and jumped out to a 12-4 lead after Eynon scored down low. A driving layup by Sam Seidel and a short jumper by Lamoreaux got the Trojans within 12-8 after one quarter.
The momentum for South Central continued into the second quarter. A layup by Lamoreaux and a bucket by Blair tied the game.
Later, Springfield surged ahead, 19-15 when Adam Wharry scored on a putback. Lamoreaux countered with a three-point play, but Eynon registered a 3-point play of his own to push the Tigers ahead, 22-18, at halftime.
South Central trailed by four points at halftime despite just 1:37 of playing time by Isaiah Seidel due to foul trouble, and the Trojans made just 8 of 29 shots in the first half. Tycen Cooper bridged the gap for the Trojans and is one of three seniors that South Central will say goodbye to.
"Tycen understands his role," coach Seidel said. "I am going to miss my three seniors very badly — Ethan Gifford, Tycen Cooper, and Alex Holland."
Ohlin scored out of halftime for Springfield, but a steal and score by Blair, coupled with Isaiah Seidel's three-point play kept the Trojans within striking distance.
"I thought we got really good looks," coach Seidel said. "I thought those looks went down and out. We had probably three 3s that went in and out in the first half. I thought if we made a few more shots in the first half and eliminate their second shots, it is a different ballgame."
Eynon tallied 24 points and 13 rebounds while Clark added 13 points and 20 rebounds.
"That was Isaiah's assignment," said coach Seidel of guarding Clark. "He was not in the game for half of it. That hurts."
Isaiah Seidel paced South Central with 18 points — all in the second half.
"He did not play the whole first half," said coach Seidel of his son. "If he plays in the first half, it might be different as well. He rebounds and he makes some shots. That hurt a lot."
Blair added 15 points for the Trojans, who committed just nine turnovers, but made just 17 of 58 shots.
"If you are going to watch film, you are going to see Simon Blair," coach Seidel said. "He is going to stand out. I knew they were going to try to take him away. We are in regionals. They are going to try to do whatever they can to win it."
SOUTH CENTRAL (21-5)
Simon Blair 5-5—15, Alex Holland 1-0—2, David Lamoreaux 5-2—12, Isaiah Seidel 5-5—18, Sam Seidel 1-0—2. TOTALS 17-13—50.
Evan Ohlin 5-3—13, Drew Clark 5-2—13, Beau Brungard 0-2—2, Adam Wharry 2-0—4, Shane Eynon 9-6—24, Clay Medvec 1-4—6. TOTALS 22-17—62.
So. Central 8 10 10 22 — 50
Springfield 12 10 16 24 — 62
3-point FGs: (SC) I. Seidel; (S) Clark