BY YANEEK SMITH
MILLBURY — Port Clinton was in control early in its Division II district semifinal matchup with Toledo Central Catholic, but the Fighting Irish’s athleticism was too much to overcome as they rallied to beat the Redskins 50-29. Brayden Spencer hit a 3-pointer with 5:03 to play in the second quarter to give Port Clinton a 15-10 lead before Central (20-5) went on a 26-0 run to take control of the game.
The Irish scored 13 unanswered points to finish off the first half and then scored 13 straight in the third quarter to take a 36-15 lead.
“We definitely had our chances to extend our lead a little bit, and it might have been a different game heading into the second half, but we didn’t take advantage of our opportunities,” said Port Clinton coach Ryan Hicks. “We were up 15-10 and shot two uncontested shots and missed them. Instead of being up 8-9 points and making them sweat, they took over and got the momentum after that.”
Spencer, Josh Hurst and Adam Thorbahn all scored eight points apiece.
Central was led by Chico Johnson, who scored 18 points, and Michael Greenlee finishing with nine.
Port Clinton, which finishes the season with a 15-10 record, had its best year since advancing to the state championship game 12 years ago. The ‘Skins won their first sectional title since 2010.
“In my eyes, we’re trending upward — we’ve won more games in each of the last three years. We know that we have to have some kids who didn’t play much varsity step up next year,” said Hicks. “This culture, that leadership, hopefully we can get these kids in the gym and develop them.”
It was the final game for Spencer, Hurst and Tyler Webb, all of whom have meant a great deal to the program.
“They’ve meant everything. Their freshman year on varsity, they only won one game,” said Hicks. “Building from their freshman year to be a sectional champion their senior year and winning 15 games after a late start to the season (is impressive). They’ve helped change the culture a little bit.”