Gutsy win moves Springboro to District Finals

Springboro senior forward Noah Moser
Stebbins senior guard Kelby Cox
Stebbins senior guard Jalen Tolbert
Springboro senior forward Landon Palmer
Stebbins junior guard Jakob Reed

Trotwood, Ohio — In a matchup of the underdogs, Springboro and Stebbins battled it out to try and face Moeller at the Cintas Center. Stebbins was fresh off a win against Sidney while Springboro had upset Miamisburg the game before that. Both of these teams wanted to continue their magical tournament runs as they will both lose a majority of their offensive production next season.

Stebbins got the momentum early, as Jakob Reed converted on an and-one on the first play of the game. Landon Palmer got a tip-in, Willieon Yates hit a jumper and then Kahleel Trent got a layup and suddenly ‘Boro led 6-3. Jalen Tolbert hit a jumper for the Indians but Trent responded with a deep three. Kelby Cox drove baseline to get a contact layup to go and then he hit a three. Springboro senior Noah Moser would hit an off-balance jumper at the horn to give the Panthers an 11-10 lead at the end of the first.

Stebbins got three straight unanswered baskets to start the second quarter as they led 16-11. Matt Yim got a wide-open layup off the assist from Sam Feldman. It appeared Feldman traveled before the pass so many Stebbins fans were unhappy with that call. Feldman would barely miss the buzzer-beater to end the first half as Stebbins led as halftime 20-18.

Kelby Cox started off hot in the third quarter as he made a nice spin move to get the layup and then took the defender baseline and converted at the rim. This gave Stebbins a 24-18 lead. Kahleel Trent would hit yet another three to cut the deficit to one. Jakob Reed made a fancy spin move which led to another Stebbins score. Landon Palmer continued to go to work this half as he got his second bucket under the hoop and then hit a corner three to cut the lead to 30-28. Sam Feldman made a layup plus a foul to bring the Panthers within one before Kelby Cox would nail a corner three for Stebbins. Jakob Reed and Jalen Tolbert each scored again as Stebbins led 41-35 going into the fourth quarter.

The fourth quarter was an absolute dog fight as Jalen Tolbert and Noah Moser went at each other. Both players hitting big shot after big shot. Springboro eventually took back the lead after Sam Feldman bulldozed the defender and made the shot and the refs ruled it a blocking foul. Feldman free-throw was no good but Moser got the rebound and kicked it out to Willieon Yates, who drilled the three to put Springboro up 49-45. After another Sam Feldman field goal, Nate Keller decided to extend his range as he knocked down the three to cut it to a one-possession game. Willieon Yates got a steal and made a nice bounce pass to Moser, who scored in transition to make it a five-point ‘Boro lead. Moser would hit another jumper and then Kelby Cox, got a nice second-chance basket to make the score 55-50.

Up by five with one minute left, Sam Feldman missed the front-end of a one and one, and Jakob Reed took it coast-to-coast to bring the Indians within three. Then up 57-54 with 28.5 seconds left, Kahleel Trent was at the line. He made the first free-throw but was too strong on the second. Nate Keller eventually found Kelby Cox in the corner who drilled the smothered shot to cut the lead to 58-57. With 10 seconds left, Springboro threw a hail mary like pass with the backup quarterback Feldman. This went out of bounds and gave Stebbins the ball under their basket down by one. Keller gave it inside to Jalen Tolbert who was fouled hard by Landon Palmer. This gave Tolbert two free-throws with the game on the line. Since the foul was on the floor, it was a one-and-one. Tolbert’s first shot was too strong. Kahleel Trent rebounded and was quickly fouled. He would make both of his free-throws to make it a 60-57 game. Stebbins point guard and quarterback Nate Keller threw a baseball like pass down the court. It was intercepted by Kahleel Trent but Trent caught the ball out of bounds. This gave Stebbins the ball at half court with less than a second to go. Tolbert inbounded it to Bradyn Pennington and his quick release three to tie was too strong. Springboro held on and won 60-57 to set up a date with Moeller for the district title.

Springboro was led by Noah Moser who had 15, Landon Palmer with 13 and Kahleel Trent with 11. Kelby Cox led Stebbins with 19 as he only averaged 6.8 points per game on the season. Jalen Tolbert added on 14 and Jakob Reed had 11.

This loss ends Stebbins’ incredible tournament run and Springboro will advance to the District Final game against Moeller at the Cintas Center next Sunday at 3.

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