Akron Buchtel and Columbus Bishop Ready battled at UD Arena for the right to face Lutheran West for the state championship. And the game didn’t disappoint as the Griffins defeated Bishop Ready, 60-50 Friday afternoon at UD Arena. The game was about runs and defense. And Akron mastered those from the tip.
First Quarter Akron defense!
The first quarter saw the Griffins take a 15-12 lead. Buchtel started out on an 11-2 run thanks to three turnovers and buckets. But Ready quickly answered with an 8-2 run.
The second quarter was a back and forth affair with Buchtel outscoring Ready by a 15-14 margin. Khoi Thurmon and Marcel Boyce played the entire half scoring 18 of the Griffins points.
Defense, Turnovers and points
The key to Buchtel was their defense. They grabbed 7 steals and converted all of them into 14 points. But Ready stayed in the game with their 6-6 shooting from behind the three point arc.
“We have seen the film of Ready. We decided to pack the paint. You have to choose how to play your opponent”, Akron Coach Rayson Dent later said on the 6-6 shooting. That created open looks that Ready’s Charlie Russell and Kayden Schaffer exploited.
Still, Akron held only a 30-26 halftime advantage. It could have been 14 points at least!
Coming out of the half, Akron coach Rayson Dent wouldn’t tell us what he told his players. “I make it a point to keep that with my players.” Khoi Thurmon, the senior guard for Akron was succinct:
“Coach said it was 0-0 at half.”
The third period saw the Akron find Amire Robinson more in the fast break opportunities. In roughly a minute and a half, the big man had five points, two rebounds and a monster dunk to put the Griffins up 43-34 with under two to play in the third.
The 13-8 advantage was huge for Buchtel as they pushed their four point lead to 9 at the end of the 3rd.
The fourth saw Robinson add to his assist total with a dime for an easy layup and the 11 point lead from the first Ready turnover to start the final eight minutes.
Ready fought back to get the lead down to five with a Russell three and Luke Ruth’s tough layup.
Kaleb Schaffer, who was injured in the first quarter by landing on an opponent after contesting a layup, said the ability to get back is a trademark of the team.
“We faced adversity all year. We just fought through it. Non Stop.”
But as Ready needed to foul, Buchtel responded by hitting 11-12 free throws in the second half to close the scoring. And the team and fans rejoiced at a title shot!
Ready ends their season at 28-1, while Buchtel tries to get their first state title. Buchtel scored 40 points in the paint to Ready’s 18. Fastbreak and bench points were big reasons the Griffins will play Sunday!
Dent made it a point to push the folks who made the drive to Dayton! “It’s all about community,” Dent said. “We loved the support [today].”
Steven Diamond 13/3
Khoi Thurmon 12/3 4 steals
Marcel Boyce Jr. 12/5
Amire Robinson 11/5 4 assists
Charlie Russell 19/4
Luke Ruth 12/8 8 assists 4 steals
Kayden Schaffer 12/3
Buchetl faces Lutheran West from Rocky River. Dent said, “We need to get locked in on our assignments Sunday.”
But Dent loves this group.. “We are a different team from last year. Heck we weren’t ranked coming into the season!”
But little does the public know. The entire Buchtel team went to the Hoban/Lutheran West game earlier in the year. Now is the time to bring that knowledge to the floor and bring the trophy home to the West side of Akron!
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