As close you could play throughout, there was finally a compelling final on championship Saturday. Villa Angela-St. Joseph hung on to win, 54-52, over Roger Bacon.
Columbus – The talk after the Division II and Division IV title games was…where are the compelling championship games on title Saturday?
Villa Angela-St. Joseph and Roger Bacon were soon to answer in the Division III game, played before a modest crowd, estimated at 8,500.
Villa Angela, seeking its seventh overall state title, led at the half, 22-21. They increased that lead over a dogged Roger Bacon defensive effort in the third quarter, 32-30.
And with Bacon nipping at their heels throughout a desperate finish, the two teams managed to tie (22-22) in the fourth quarter. The Final: Villa Angela 54, Roger Bacon 52.
How close was it?
The lead changed hands 8 times; the score was tied 3 times.
Turnovers were even.
Rebounds were even.
Each team had five steals; and each team had eight assists.
The two teams were nearly even in shooting percentage. VASJ shot 47% – Roger Bacon shot 44%.
Villa Angela leaned on the scoring balance of their big three: Jerry Higgins had 16, Alonzo Gaffney had 12, and Will Butler added 10.
Roger Bacon was led in points by Justin Johnson with 14. James Johnson and Alex Pfriem had 13 and 12, respectively.
The game did mark the third time in four years that Roger Bacon had appeared in the semi-final round, but the Spartans own but two titles in their history – 1982, and their latest in 2002.
To another subject openly debated at this year’s tournament, all three titles in Divisions II, IV, and III have been won by private or parochial schools – Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, Wellington (out of Columbus), and Villa Angela.