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Division I boys basketball state championship game from Ohio State University's Value City Arena.
Jackson vs. Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller
JACKSON IS DIVISION I STATE CHAMPIONS
-- Jackson defeats Moeller 57-34.
``We're state champs,´´ said Jackson coach Mike Fuline, who high-fived everyone on the bench during the final seconds of the game and then hugged members of his family.
``I am really happy for our guys. This is a happy ending. How many teams get to end their season on a win? We leave on a win. This could not have happened to a better group of kids and parents.´´
Senior forward Mark Henniger led the Polar Bears (25-2) with 21 points and 12 rebounds on Saturday night at Ohio State University's Value City Arena before 12,920 fans.
``Defense was the key to winning this game,´´ said Henniger, a 6-foot-8 Kent State recruit. ``We had so much adrenaline pumping and went after it [during the third quarter].´´
Junior guard Michael Shull (17 points) and senior guard Brad DuPont (11 points, five assists) also scored in double figures for Jackson, who took control of the game with a 16-0 scoring run to open the third quarter.
``That team has a prototype guy at every spot,´´ Moeller coach Carl Kremer said of Jackson. ``It was difficult for us to score. It was a perfect storm.´´
Senior Griffin McKenzie, a 6-foot-9 center and Xavier University recruit, scored nine points for the Crusaders (22-5).
Jackson made 23-of-39 field goal attempts and Moeller made 13-of-51 of the field goals. The Polar Bears also made 8-of-11 free throws and had a 38-20 rebounding advantage.
``When you defend you give yourself a chance to win,´´ Fuline said.
Jackson came out firing in the third quarter and extended its lead to 36-15 with 2:41 to go in the quarter. DuPont made a layup and a 3-pointer, Shull followed with a jumper and 3-pointer, Henniger converted two layups and senior forward Josh Egner made a short jumper.
``We came out strong and did not want to let them score,´´ said Shull. ``This is one of the craziest games I have had.´´
The Polar Bears extended their lead to 44-18 with 55 seconds to go in the quarter following an Egner two-handed dunk and baskets from Shull, DuPont and Henniger. Jackson held a 44-20 advantage after three quarters.
``Coach looked at us at halftime and he said to us when we go out there the first three or four minutes [of the third quarter] is going to be the game,´´ said Egner, a 6-foot-7 University of Akron recruit that finished with four points, 10 rebounds and two blocks. ``He told us to look at the fans who came out to support us.´´
Moeller, which was making its fifth appearance in the state tournament and the holder of three state titles, struggled in the first half, converting just 6-of-24 shots from the field.
``We came out with intensity and they could not match it,´´ said DuPont a 6-foot Wheeling Jesuit University recruit.
Senior guard C.J. Julian and junior forward Tyler Graening each scored two points for Jackson, which was making its third appearance in the state tournament. James Feller, Nathan Kanam, Steve Griffin and Dave Devine also contributed for Jackson.
-- Jackson is well on their way to winning a state title. The Polar Bears lead 44-20 after three quarters.
Jackson came out firing in the third quarter and extended its lead to 36-15 with 2:41 to go in the quarter. Senior guard Brad DuPont made a layup and a 3-pointer, junior guard Michael Shull followed with a jumper and 3-pointer, senior forward Mark Henniger converted two layups and senior forward Josh Egner made a short jumper.
-- Jackson leads 20-15 at halftime.
Senior forward Mark Henniger and junior guard Michael Shull each have eight points to lead the Polar Bears. Henniger also has six rebounds.
-- Jackson leads 9-8 at the end of the first quarter.
Senior forward Mark Henniger leads the Polar Bears with four points and five rebounds.