COLUMBUS — In a thrilling game that literally went down to the final second, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary advanced to its fifth state championship game in nine years after a Jayvon Graves baseline runner gave the Fighting Irish a 62-60 victory over Trotwood-Madison in a Division II state semifinal at the Schottenstein Center on Thursday.
SVSM (24-5), which had been defeated by the Rams 100-61 during the regular season, overcame a 4-17 shooting slump in the first quarter to finish with three players in double figures in the triumph. The six-time state champions will face Wauseon in the Division II state championship at 10:45 a.m. on Saturday.
Graves finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks in the victory for St. Vincent-St. Mary, out-dueling Trotwood-Madison senior Torrey Patton. The 6-4 Ram senior broke a 25-year-old D-II semifinal state tourney record with 34 points in his final game for the Rams (26-3), which entered the state tournament averaging 90 points a contest.
"The main thrust was to keep them out of the paint," said SVSM coach Dru Joyce. "We had to keep them from getting to the front of the rim. They get so many shots off putbacks. The highest percentage shot in basketball is putbacks and we did a great job of limiting that."
St. Vincent-St. Mary finished the game on a 6-0 run to seize the victory, holding Trotwood-Madison scoreless over the final 2:43. Sophomore Lunden McDay chipped in 15 points, seven above his season average, while Justin Sampson added 11.
"I knew if I had the ball I'd make a play for somebody else or me," said Graves of his game-winning shot.
Patton shot 13-of-26 in the loss and hauled in 11 rebounds for the Rams while Myles Belyeu and Amari Davis chipped in 13 and 10 points, respectively. Trotwood and SVSM finished the regular season ranked No. 2 and 11 in the final D-II state AP poll.