Feb. 21—MANSFIELD — For the first time in three seasons, the South Central girls basketball team is back in the district tournament.
The No. 5 seed in the Willard district, the Trojans led throughout Saturday's Division IV sectional championship game at No. Mansfield Christian, posting a 51-41 win to improve to 12-10 overall.
With the win, South Central advanced to Thursday's 7:30 p.m. district semifinal against state-ranked and top-seeded Buckeye Central (21-2) at Robert L. Haas Gymnasium.
The first game on Thursday will feature No. 2 Seneca East (18-5) vs. No. 3 St. Paul (18-4) at 5:30 p.m. The two winners will return on Saturday night in the district title game.
In Saturday's game, the Trojans led 17-11 after one quarter, then took control by outscoring the Flames (17-4) by a 14-3 margin in the second quarter for a 31-14 halftime lead.
South Central maintained the double-digit lead throughout the second half, and went ahead 41-23 with 2:19 left in the third before the Flames pulled within 41-27 entering the fourth.
Mansfield Christian pulled to within 46-38 in the fourth quarter, but Ashley Copus converted a three-point play and Kendyl Beverly scored to push the lead back up to 52-38. The Trojans led by 13 points for most of the final four minutes before the Flames trimmed the final margin to 10 points.
Copus led the Trojans with 13 points, followed by Beverly with 11 and Kennedy Deppen with 10 points.
South Central last appeared in the district semifinals in the 2017-18 season, and have won four sectional titles in the past nine seasons dating back to 2012-13.
SOUTH CENTRAL (12-10)
Kendyl Beverly 5-1—11; Kennedy Deppen 4-2—10; Angela Williams 2-1—5; Grace Lamoreaux 3-0—6; Claire Osborn 2-0—4; Ashly Copus 5-1—13; Ivy Ott 1-0—2. TOTALS 22-5—51.
MANSFIELD CHRISTIAN (17-4)
A. Malyer 3-0—6; A. Sparks 3-2—8; E. Schmitz 4-3—11; A. Ruppel 3-2—8; N. B K. Jones 4-0—8. TOTALS 17-7—41.
So. Central 17 14 10 10 — 51
M. Christian 11 3 13 14 — 41
3-point FGs: (SC) Copus 2