COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Some things just aren't meant to be.
Holding a 68-60 lead over highly favored Trotwood Madison in the Division II state championship, South was just five minutes and 36 seconds away from its first title since 1965.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Trotwood Madison had one last surge in them. Going on a 17-5 run over the next five and a half minutes, Trotwood stormed back to win its first state championship in school history, 77-73.
Despite trailing for the entire first quarter, South stayed solid and put together a 10-2 run in the first four minutes of the second period, as a score from junior Sam Barton put the Bulldogs ahead 31-24.
South would maintain this lead for the rest of the quarter and for the majority of the second half. Going into the fourth quarter with a 60-54 lead, the Bulldogs were right where they needed to be to upset the Rams.
Doing a great job of taking care of the ball for most of the game, things got sloppy midway through the fourth quarter as Keon'te Huguely scored back-to-back buckets to give Trotwood its first lead of the game since early in the second quarter at 70-68 with 4:04 to go.
South wasn't fazed, as the Bulldogs put together a quick 5-0 run over the next 19 seconds. Junior guard Taquan Simington took a steal and scored through contact in transition, converting the free throw and giving South a 73-70 lead with 3:45 remaining.
While Simington's bucket appeared to give South new life, the Bulldogs did not score a single point the rest of the way. Roughly 90 seconds later, Simington fouled out on a Carl Blanton drive that seemed to shift the entire momentum in the building.
Without its best perimeter defender and reliable secondary ball handler, South was not the same from there on out.
Blanton converted at the line on Simington's fifth foul, hitting two attempts that gave Trotwood its final lead at 75-73 with 2:17 to go.
Forcing Trotwood into a late turnover with a 1:03 remaining, South had one last chance trailing by two. The Bulldogs nearly turned it over twice, but got timeouts each time to draw up its final play.
South executed a good set to get senior guard Tre Watkins open on the final possession, however, the senior missed a potential game-winning three which virtually ended the game as Trotwood scored a wide open transition layup to stretch its lead to four points with under 10 seconds.
As the final buzzer sounded, South's dream season ended in extreme heartbreak, as the underdog Bulldogs played well enough to lead for the majority of the game but not well enough in the extreme moments of crisis late in the final frame.
Holding its largest lead to 60-49 with 37 seconds to go in the third quarter, South was outscored 28-13 in the final eight and a half minutes as Trotwood forced its way into winning the first state title in program history.
Trotwood was led by 24 points from senior guard Amari Davis. Davis came alive in the fourth quarter and helped power the game-deciding Rams run. Averaging 30 points per game, Davis was the engine of a Trotwood team that became the first in state history to score 3,000 points in a single season.
Junior guard Manny Anderson added an efficient 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting, powering the Rams early and delivering late. Blanton pitched in 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists, playing a strong all-around game.
Senior center Justin Stephens had the type of impact that we expected, as the massive 6-foot-6 Toledo football signee added five points and 11 rebounds, proving to be a massive force that helped Trotwood pull down 19 offensive boards.
For South, junior guard Trevell Adams was unreal, finishing with 16 points, seven rebounds, two assists and five blocks. Adams had 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting in the first half, coming off the bench and giving South supreme energy and confidence. Adams' two way impact was what South needed to put Trotwood on its heels, as the junior was far and away the best player on the floor for 75 percent of the game.
Four players scored in double figures for South, as Barton had one of the best games of his career, finishing with 16 points, seven rebounds, four assists. Junior wing Marcus Johnson pitched in 14 points and five rebounds, while senior Alvin Byrd ended a breakout season with 13 points.
Watkins added eight points but struggled to convert from the field, going 3-for-12 and battling foul trouble for large stretches of the first half. Simington added six points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals. The 6-foot-2 guard helps South reach their peak, as they greatly missed his contributions when he was out with foul trouble in the second half.
Finishing its best season in more than 30 years, South wraps up 2018-19 with the most wins ever. The Bulldogs will return six of the eight players who logged minutes on Saturday.
Behind the junior trio of Adams, Simington and Johnson, and with continued improvement from Barton, South will have every chance to get back here and cut down the nets a year from now.
8:00 - SHS 0, TM 0
7:40 - SHS 0, TM 3 - Anderson 3
7:14 - SHS 2, TM 3 - Barton drive
7:03 - SHS 2, TM 5 - Anderson drive
6:30 - SHS 4, TM 5 - Byrd drive
6:14 - SHS 4, TM 7 - Anderson mid range
5:58 - SHS 7, TM 7 - Watkins 3
5:25 - SHS 7, TM 9 - Davis dirve
5:18 - SHS 9, TM 9 - Bink drive
5:07 - SHS 9, TM 11 - Anderson drive
4:38 - SHS 9, TM 13 - Anderson off reb, putback
4:23 - SHS 9, TM 15 - Davis steal and dunk
4:12 - SHS 11, TM 15 - Barton score
3:59 - SHS 11, TM 17 - Stephens bucket
3:42 - SHS 13, TM 17 - Johnson steal and score
3:24 - SHS 15, TM 17 - Barton FTs
2:41 - SHS 17, TM 17 - Adams score
2:10 - SHS 17, TM 20 - Blanton And-1
1:03 - SHS 19, TM 20 - Adams drive
:45 - SHS 19, TM 22 - Davis mid-range
:9.7 - SHS 21, TM 22 - Johnson FTs
8:00 - TM 22, SHS 21
7:30 - TM 24, SHS 21 - Blanton score
7:13 - TM 24, SHS 23 - Adams floater
6:59 - TM 24, SHS 25 - Adams step through
6:20 - TM 24, SHS 27 - Barton off reb, putback
5:54 - TM 24, SHS 29 - Johnson score, Bink dime
4:06 - TM 24, SHS 31 - Sammy big body
3:57 - TM 26, SHS 31 - Davis mid range
3:33 - TM 28, SHS 31 - Anderson FTs
3:10 - TM 30, SHS 31 - Davis transition
2:39 - TM 30, SHS 33 - Adams transition
2:12 - TM 32, SHS 33 - Anderson score
1:50 -TM 32, SHS 35 - Barton score
1:13 - TM 32, SHS 36 - Simington FT
1:03 - TM 34, SHS 36 - Blanton score
:48.7 - TM 35, SHS 36 - Stephens FT
:31 - TM 35, SHS 38 - Adams floater
:4 - TM 35, SHS 40 - Adams transition
8:00 - SHS 40, TM 35
7:41 - SHS 40, TM 36 - Matthews FT
7:21 - SHS 40, TM 38 - Matthews transition
6:40 - SHS 42, TM 38 - Johnson mid range
6:01 - SHS 42, TM 40 - Stephens score
5:47 - SHS 44, TM 40 - Byrd score
5:16 - SHS 46, TM 40 - Byrd score
5:04 - SHS 46, TM 42 - Anderson off reb, score
4:39 - SHS 46, TM 44 - Anderson FTs
4:16 - SHS 48, TM 44 - Johnson layup
4:06 - SHS 48, TM 47 - Davis 3
3:51 - SHS 48, TM 49 - Blanton layup
3:43 - SHS 51, TM 49 - Watkins 3
3:30 - SHS 52, TM 49 - Byrd FT
3:06 - SHS 54, TM 49 - Barton layup transition
2:44 - SHS 56, TM 49 - Johnson floater
1:51 - SHS 58, TM 49 - Johnson layup
1:00 - SHS 60, TM 49 - Watkins floater
:23 - SHS 60, TM 52 - Davis 3
:6 - SHS 60, TM 54 - Davis layup
8:00 - SHS 60, TM 54
7:18 - SHS 62, TM 54 - Byrd
7:03 - SHS 62, tm 56 - Anderon
6:54 - SHS 64, TM 56 - Byrd
6:46 - SHS 64, TM 58 - Blanton FTs
6:09 - SHS 64, TM 60 - Davis FTs
5:53 - SHS 66, TM 60 - Byrd cut and score
5:36 -SHS 68, TM 60 - Adams tip in transition
5:15 - SHS 68, TM 62 - Davis mid range
4:53 - SHS 68, TM 64 - Davis transition
4:35 - SHS 68, TM 66 - Davis layup
4:17 - SHS 68, TM 68 - Huguely score
4:04 - SHS 68, TM 70 - Huguely steal and score
3:55 - SHS 70, TM 70 - Barton score
3:45 - SHS 73, TM 70 - Simington steal and And-1 score
3:38 - SHS 73, TM 72- Blanton score
2:41 - SHS 73, TM 73 - Anderson FT
2:17 - SHS 73, TM 75 - Blanton FTs
:8 - SHS 73, TM 77 - Huguely layup
Date: March 27 and 28, 2019
Time: 6:30 - 9:30 PM
Location: Olentangy Orange High School