Centerville, Ohio — The first round of the division one tournament held at Centerville opened up with an intriguing matchup between the #15 Butler Aviators and the #6 Springfield Wildcats. These two teams were pretty similar coming into the season as they both lost crucial seniors that led their teams last season.
Josh Tolliver started off the game with a corner three and Larry Stephens and Tolliver both hit jumpers to put Springfield on top 9-0 to start. Butler’s Quincy Rackley hit a pair of layups but Josh Tolliver responded with a deep three. Tolliver nailed a deep three and then Ray Cole slammed home a dunk to extend the Wildcats’ lead to 19-6 at the end of the first.
Tyler Montague brought Butler within 10 with a deep three but Ray Cole stole Montague’s loose handle on the ball and got another dunk. Montague hit a heavily contested layup and then nailed a deep three to bring Butler back within single digits. Rackley continued his hot streak as pulled down an offensive rebound and putback, but Tolliver answered with a deep three to put Springfield up 27-22 at the half.
Springfield and Butler traded blows to open up the second half and then Quincy Rackley really went off, scoring bucket after bucket and then a Tyler Montague floater that found the bottom of the net suddenly cut the deficit to 6. Josh Tolliver then exploded and hit deep three after deep three and multiple contested layups as the Wildcats led 48-35 heading into the fourth.
Ray Cole started off hot in the 4th but was called for a technical after hanging on the rim after a dunk. This resulted in Butler making two free-throws after getting the ball back. But Montague was called for a push-off after him and Jeff Tolliver had been exchanging words the whole game. This ended whatever run Butler was brewing up as Josh Tolliver turned up the intensity and ended Butler’s season as Springfield could not be stopped in the 4th quarter and won 76-52.
Josh Tolliver finished with 23 points including 5 threes and Ray Cole had 11 points for the Wildcats. Butler was led by both Tyler Montague and Quincy Rackley who both had 18 and Cooper Justice who had 10 points.
Springfield will play their next tournament game against Xenia next Wednesday at Butler high school at 6 pm.