By Ryan buck
Sebring High’s one-two punch of Dakota Wagner and Jake Hubbs were too much for Youngstown Christian Saturday night at Struthers Field House.
The 54-43 victory was the Trojans’ sixth in a row and perhaps their most complete effort of the season.
“We’ve been waiting for that for 21 games,” Sebring coach Mark Baia said. “We talk about that kind of effort all the time — four quarters and we finally did that.”
Wagner’s nine first-half rebounds, to go along with seven points, created second-chance opportunities for teammates and limited those for Youngstown Christian at the other end.
“We executed, talked, helped, and played as a team,” noted Wagner, a 6-foot-4 senior forward .
Despite Wagner’s domination in the paint and on the glass, seventh-seeded Sebring clung to a four-point lead heading into halftime.
In the third quarter, their defensive effort proved pivotal.
The Trojans (14-8) limited the Eagles to one field goal in the frame and hustle on defense triggered a 13-2 run to begin the quarter.
“We did a good job of forcing quick shots, got rebounds, and then beat them down the floor. We founds open guys and played unselfish basketball,” Baia said.
Senior guard Mitch Baddeley was the beneficiary of that unselfishness, notching seven points in the decisive quarter.
“They, their zone defense, did a great job,” Youngstown Christian coach Dolph Carroll said. “They did what they wanted to do.”
The final quarter saw Hubbs take over. The versatile 6-1 senior scored 11 of his game-high 19 points in the fourth, several coming off Wagner assists.
“When they backed off me, that gave us range — to drive and dish,” Wagner said. “It opened up the backside passes from the post.”
Hubbs also knocked down five of six free throws in the final stanza.
“We did everything we practiced,” Hubbs said. “We played up-tempo. Most of my points came off back-door passes.”
For the district’s second-seeded YCS, a 23-point fourth quarter output wasn’t enough.
“It was one of those nights where the little things hurt us down the stretch. The time of year it’s execution versus execution,” Carroll said. “And they out-executed us tonight.”
DeVaun Adams and Daylen Williams paced the Eagles (11-7) with 14 and 12 points, respectively.
Wellsville 60, East Canton 43
Sebring advances to Tuesday’s district final against Wellsville, which defeated East Canton.
The Tigers (12-9) used a 10-0 opening run and dominant third quarter to cruise.
Sophomore Jordan Sloan tallied 16 points and classmate Camden Douglas added 12 to lead the Tigers. Wellsville, the district’s third seed, held East Canton (6-16) to two points in the third quarter.