COLUMBUS (AP) — Jordan Humphrey was modest about how he ended up being the hero of Westerville South’s 57-55 win over Lima Senior in the Division I championship game Saturday night.
“Time was running down and somebody had to score,” Humphrey said. “It was a tie game, and I was just happy to be in that position.”
The Wildcats (26-4) led most of the way, but Lima Senior tied the game in the final minute on a Rico Stafford layup set up by a slick drive and dish from 2016 Ohio Mr. Basketball Xavier Simpson.
With the game even at 55, Westerville South coach Ed Calo called for his team to spread the floor and put the ball in the hands of Humphrey, who already had a team-high 17 points.
He made it 19 with a spinning shot in the lane that fell through the hoop with less than two seconds left.
“We didn’t want to give them a chance to get a rebound and come back the other way,” Calo said. “We’d be content to go into overtime. And Jordan did a great job all tournament of finding a seam and shooting it.”
After Simpson’s half-court heave at the buzzer was no good, Lima Senior’s hopes to become the first team to go undefeated in Division I since Zanesville in 1995 were officially dashed.
“Coming down to the last play, the guy made a tough shot,” Spartans coach Quincey Simpson said. “Any time you can make a guy turn and shoot a jump shot, we’ll live with that. He made a tough shot. Good offense usually beats good defense. That’s kind of how it ended.”
Andre Wesson scored 14 points for Westerville South as the Wildcats won their first state title.
They lost their first try a year ago 65-57 to Huber Heights Wayne.
“We had a different mindset this year,” Humphrey said. “Work hard every day, just keep attacking. Outwork our opponent every night.”
Simpson led the Spartans (29-1) with 17 points and seven assists while Ruben Flowers III added 12 and Stafford had 10 for Lima Senior.