CANTON — There are pretty basketball games and there are ugly basketball games.
Wednesday night’s Division II regional semifinal between Buchtel and Poland Seminary was one of the latter.
With an abundance of fouls on both teams affecting the flow of the game, the Buchtel boys persevered to earn a 60-51 victory at the Canton Memorial Civic Center.
Jonthan King totaled 20 points and five rebounds, Ronnell Perie II scored 18 points and Chris Livingston had 10 points and eight rebounds for Buchtel (19-7), which will meet Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph in a regional final at 6:15 p.m. Friday. VA-SJ beat Cleveland Benedictine 66-62 in Wednesday’s other semifinal.
“Hats off to Poland with 18 straight wins,” Buchtel coach Matt Futch said. “I was telling our guys all week that they knew how to win because of that streak. ... That was a really good team. I thought our guys really dug deep and it was a total team effort.”
Futch rattled off the names of T’Kai Coleman, Anthony Hunt Jr., Robert Young-Jones, Juwan Coates, Martavien Johnson, Noah Peeples, Cordell Livingston and Perie as players “who lifted” the Griffins to the win with Livingston and King in foul trouble.
Braeden O’Shaughnessy, a 6-foot-1 senior, paced Poland (23-3) with 25 points. Daniel Kramer, a 6-3 senior, had 15 points and nine rebounds.
Buchtel made 21-of-40 free throws and committed 19 fouls. Perie and Chris Livingston made 10-of-12 free throws in the final 1:37 of the fourth quarter.
Poland made 16-of-24 free throws and committed 28 fouls.
Buchtel put together an 11-0 run to lead 13-6 with 2:53 to go in the first quarter. King, a 6-5 forward, made two 3-pointers and a layup during the spurt.
The Griffins led 16-13 at the end of the first quarter, and extended the advantage to 27-18 with 4:23 remaining in the second quarter. King scored 14 of Buchtel’s first 27 points and finished the first half with 19 points as the Griffins were up 33-29 at halftime.
King and Chris Livingston each picked up his fourth foul in the third quarter, but Perie and Peeples helped Buchtel stay afloat and the Griffins led 41-36 entering the fourth quarter.
“This was a hard-fought game and we are happy to get the win,” said Chris Livingston, a 6-6 guard. “Our teammates held things down when Jon and I were on the bench.”
Livingston returned to the court with 5:21 left in the fourth quarter, and made an impact with two layups and three free throws. Perie also helped close out the win by making 7-of-8 free throws in the final 1:16, and Peeples (nine points, eight rebounds) ended the scoring with a slam dunk.
“We knew we had to turn up a little bit more when Jon and Chris went out of the game,” said Perie, a 6-2 guard. “They are key pieces, so we made sure to stay solid.”
“We fought hard and had to trust our teammates when we went out because of the fouls,” King said.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or email@example.com.