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Tallmadge boys hoops team advances to district play

Published: March 1, 2014 9:12 PM

Another tournament game, another last-second thriller.

Such is life for the Tallmadge boys basketball team.

And the Blue Devils are loving every minute of it.

Tallmadge advanced to Division II district play for the first time since the 2008-09 season after posting a come-from-behind 41-39 win.

The Division II sectional title contest took place March 1 at James O. Maddox Court.

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With the win, the Blue Devils earned a date with the Cleveland Central Catholic-Cleveland Benedictine winner in a district semifinal game, which is scheduled for March 5 at Stow-Munroe Falls High School. Game time is set for 7 p.m.

Tallmadge scored the last 11 points of the game.

The Rockets scored their final points with 6 minutes, 25 seconds left when Devin Rencher converted a layup off the dribble.

The Blue Devils, who were trailing 39-30 at the time, did the rest.

Streetsboro had five turnovers, including a some costly ones down the stretch, in the fourth quarter.

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Tallmadge took advantage and when Nate Bickar buried a 3-pointer from the left side, the game was tied at 39 with 1:10 left.

Andrew Francesconi made two foul shots to make it 41-39 with 3.4 seconds left.

The Blue Devils then forced a turnover and Francesconi went to the line again with 2.5 remaining.

Francesconi missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity, but Daniel Sapp's heave from near the midcourt line went wide as the buzzer sounded.

While Tallmadge scored critical baskets when it counted, it went frigid in the third quarter.

Streetsboro (15-8) took control with a 13-0 run in the second half to take a 39-30 advantage.

Francesconi led the Blue Devils with a game-high 22 points and Bickar finished with 10 points.

Daniel Sapp led the Rockets with 10 points and Rencher and Paul Jenkins each added eight points for Streetsboro, which trailed 26-21 at halftime.

For more, see the March 9 edition of the Tallmadge Express.


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