In the district semi-final, the Irish made some defensive adjustments and took a 28-14 halftime lead and held on for the win.
“At this point, it’s winning and moving forward,” Detling said. “We were quite early in the first quarter and ended up winning by two. We were a little sloppy in the fourth quarter, but all that matters is the final score. We move forward.
At the start of the year, the Irish had set themselves the goal of returning to the district final to play at the UD Arena.
“The last two years we had reached the (district semi-final) and we had been beaten,” Detling said. “Guys are really connected and ready for Tuesday.”
They will face a Jackson Center team making their fourth straight appearance in the District Finals. The Tigers beat Cedarville in 2020 and advanced to the D-IV Regional Finals before the playoffs were canceled due to COVID-19. A year ago, they lost to eventual regional finalist Cedarville in a district final game.
“They don’t have football, so basketball is 365 days for them,” Detling said. “This whole town lives for Jackson Center basketball.”
Jackson Center junior Camdyn Reese hit the winner with three seconds left to lift the Tigers past Fort Loramie 42-41 in a district semifinal game last Friday night in Piqua. The Tigers play in the physical, low-scoring Shelby County Athletic League and play a non-conference schedule that includes several highly talented opponents from the Midwest Athletic Conference.
“They’re doing everything well, especially on the defensive side,” Detling said. “We can’t go down and start throwing quick punches. We have to make every possession count and make sure it’s a good shot. If we drop a few points and don’t get a bucket, an eight point difference can look like an 18 point difference against Jackson Center. That’s how important every possession is.