COLUMBUS - Leipsic gave it their all against number two ranked Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph in the Division IV state championship game Saturday.
The Vikings attempt to stay with the ultra quick and long VASJ Vikings went well for two and a half quarters. Midway through the third quarter Villa Angela-St. Joseph took control of a tight game to pull away from Leispic for a 87-63 win at the Schottenstein Center before 10,294 fans.
The VASJ Vikings win the Division IV state title with a 25-4 mark, while Leipsic closes out their best ever season at 25-5.
Midway through the third quarter of the Division IV state title game VASJ had a 41-39 lead on Leipsic after two Austin Brown free throws that capped a 7-0 Leipsic run. In the next two minutes, Villa Angela-St. Joseph went on a 12-2 run that started to break Leipsic just a bit.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Simon Texidor IV extended the VASJ lead out to eight before Brown answered back for Leispic with two free throws.
VASJ scored the next six points of the game as Brian Parker hit two free throws, followed by baskets from Demonte Flannigan and Derek Pardon. VASJ didn't stop there as they closed out the quarter with an 11-4 run as they had a 64-47 lead going to the fourth quarter.
"They are pretty good," Leipsic coach Scott Maag said. "We didn't back down. I felt the speed of our game affected them some, but their athleticism and height affected us. That last half of the third quarter and the fourth quarter, their height and athleticism really affected us and caused us problems."
"Those three's were huge. We knew he was a shooter. He was 3 for 5 from three-point range and they only had four for the game. They were killing us inside and we were doubling down to help cover and they brought him in and he hit a couple of big three's," Maag added.
With a 64-47 lead after three quarters, the VASJ Vikings finished off their win with a 23-16 scoring margin in the fourth quarter.
Duane Gibson, Jr. paced the VASJ Vikings with 22 points and eight rebounds, while Parker and Flannigan both had 15 points. Texidor IV finished with 11 points and Carlton Bragg added 10 points. Flanigan had a double-double for VASJ with 12 rebounds.
Devin Mangas paced Leipsic with 18 points, while Brown had 16 points and nine rebounds. Caleb Barrera finished with 10 points.
The game marked the final time the 10 seniors that have been a big part of the Vikings success this season will play. Coach Maag expressed his gratitude for all the hard work the 10 players put in this season to help the program have their best year ever.
"This was a great group of kids," Maag concluded. "They never quit fighting. To their credit they kept battling the whole game."