WESTERVILLE — The Danville boys basketball team is heading somewhere it hasn’t been in a while — districts.
The Blue Devils used a strong second half to pull away from Madison Christian, winning the Division IV Sectional tournament final, 71-59, at Westerville North High School on Saturday.
“This is good for us and good for the program,” said Danville coach Doug Selvey. “We beat these guys already in the season. I think for Danville, confidence is a lot. When Danville has confidence, it’s going to be tough to take us down. The more and more we build confidence, the better off we’ll be.”
With the win, the Blue Devils will head to the District semifinals at the Columbus Fairgrounds Coliseum on March 9 at 6:15 p.m. where they will face top-seeded Newark Catholic, an 87-21 winner over Westerville Northside Christian.
Danville (6-15) jumped out to an early start, following the lead of junior guard Nick Stover. Stover scored off an alley-oop pass on the opening play, then added another bucket and three free throws as Danville took a 9-2 lead after three minutes of the game.
“The first half we’re always so timid. For us to get off to a fast start, makes a big difference. I think that was a big key,” said Selvey.
But, Madison Christian was able to right the ship late in the quarter, going on an 8-0 run to finish the quarter tied at 16.
The second quarter as a battle until Robby Moreland and Wes Severns took over. Both scored four points in an 8-2 run that helped the Devils take a 34-29 lead into the locker room.
The Eagles scored the first four points of the third quarter to close the gap, but Danville was able to open it back up, thanks again to the play of Moreland and Severns. Moreland had six of his game-high 20 points in the third quarter, and Severns added another four as Danville took control, leading 50-39 after three quarters.
“I think you’re finally starting to see the real Robby Moreland. He’s gained a lot of confidence as the season’s gone on,” Selvey said.
Danville iced the game at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter, hitting 12 of 14 attempts. The Devils made 19 of 22 overall for the game.
Defense was also a big key for the Devils, especially in the second half. They held Madison Christian to just 12 of 39 shooting from the field in the second half (30 percent).
“We switched up a lot between zone and man. Keeping the kids on their toes, keeping them involved and keeping them understanding what they have to do to win the game,” said Selvey.
One nemeses for the Devils, though, was their rebounding. They allowed Madison Christian to outrebound them 41-34 and gave up 13 offensive rebounds to the Eagles.
Moreland added eight rebounds to go along with his game-high 20 points. Stover finished with 17 points and three assists, while Severns had 12 points, 11 rebounds and three assists. Shaun Durbin added eight points.
Madison Christian was led by Jeremy Callihan, who had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Blake Dolder added 13 points and three assists.
The Devils will face Newark Catholic on Tuesday, March 9, at 6:15 p.m. at the Columbus Fairgrounds Coliseum.
“You’ve got to play them sometime. There’s no better place to play than at the Barn. It’s a real cool place to play. Hopefully, we won’t get star struck,” Selvey said. “We’re going to load up the buses in Danville — come one, come all.”