Columbus Grove’s Blake Reynolds (2), looks to pass the ball after his path to the basket was blocked by Maumee Valley Country Day’s J.R. Lumsden during their Division IV regional semi-final contest Tuesday night. (DHI Media/Charlie Warnimont)
Columbus Grove’s Blake Reynolds (2), looks to pass the ball after his path to the basket was blocked by Maumee Valley Country Day’s J.R. Lumsden during their Division IV regional semi-final contest Tuesday night. (DHI Media/Charlie Warnimont)
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BOWLING GREEN - For three quarters, Columbus Grove went toe-to-toe with Maumee Valley Country Day during their Division IV regional semi-final.

In the fourth quarter, the Hawks Zeb Jackson, a 6-3 junior, took over. Jackson scored 13 points in the final quarter to help power the Hawks to a 58-48 win in the first of two regional semi-finals at the Stroh Center on the Bowling Green State University campus.

MVCD (19-7) advances to the Division IV regional finals Friday night to play the Crestview/Hicksville winner at 7 p.m. The Bulldogs saw their season end at 19-6.

Columbus Grove took a 36-34 lead to the fourth quarter before Jackson, a Division I recruit, took over.

Jackson scored the first seven points of the final quarter that rallied his team from a two-point deficit to a three point lead at 41-38. Columbus rallied to tie the game at 41-41 on a Blake Reynolds free throw and a Grayson Flores basket.

Unfortunately that would be the Bulldogs final push as Country Day went on a 10-0 run to take a 51-41 lead with 1:17 left. J.R. Lumsden and Jackson both had four points for the Hawks in that run.

“He (Jackson) is a nice player, there’s no doubt about that,” Columbus Grove coach Chris Sautter said. “He has a little bit of everything in his arsenal. He can get to the rim, he has that nice mid range pull up jumper and range out to 24-25 feet. There’s a reason he’s being recruited by D-1 schools and the Big Ten for a reason.

“Our kids battled. They did everything we asked of them. We had the lead by two going to the fourth quarter and that’s where we said we needed to be. We played five guys pretty much the second half, those shots we normally hit in the fourth quarter were a little short because of tired legs.”

The Bulldogs were unable to use their normal rotation after junior Evan Hopkins went down with an apparent ankle injury with two minutes left in the first quarter.

While the Hawks were in a tussle with the Bulldogs, coach Rob Conover was somewhat happy with how his team played late.

“Columbus Grove had a great defensive game plan,” Conover said. “There weren’t a lot of chances early to drive the lane,which created some sloppy play by us. We had some kids step up big in the second half, like Jackson. In the fourth quarter, points in the paint were critical and our defensive stops were critical. Zeb in that fourth quarter did everything a coach loves to see. It was really a team effort as we had guys coming off the bench and giving us some key minutes.”

MVCD scored 34 of their points in the paint, while the Bulldogs scored 24 points. But when Grove needed points in the fourth quarter, the Hawks defense stepped up and contested the Grove shots in the paint.

Columbus Grove went over four minutes of the final quarter without a point before Blake Reynolds scored on a put back. Meanwhile the Hawks were busy sealing the game at the free throw line as they were 11-of-12 at the line in the final quarter. They were 14-of-16 at the line for the game.

Jackson lead four Hawk players in double digits with 25 points and he grabbed eight rebounds. Lumsden added 11 points, while Dez Jett and Stephen Coleman both had 10 points. Coleman grabbed eight rebounds for MVCD.

Reynolds had a double-double for the Bulldogs with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Tayt Birnesser added 12 points and Gabe Clement had eight points.

Despite the loss, coach Sautter was pleased with what he has seen from his young team this season. The Bulldogs only had one senior that saw a lot of playing time Tuesday night.

“We have absolutely nothing to hang our heads about,” Sautter said.”We play only one senior quite a bit and where we came from in the three years since I have been here, going from nine wins to 11 wins and a sectional (title) and now winning 19 games and being a runner-up in one league and co-champs in the other, I have nothing but great things to say about this group of kids and the season we had.”

Maumee Valley Country Day 21-52 14-16 58: Jett 2-5-10; Jackson 10-4-25; Coleman 5-0-10; Lumsden 3-5-11; Chatman 1-0-2; Fankhauer 0-0-0.

Columbus Grove 18-46 6-8 48: Reynolds 5-5-15; Birnesser 4-1-12; Hopkins 0-0-0; Clement 3-0-8; Flores 2-0-5; Mason 0-0-0; Schneider 4-0-8; Johnson 0-0-0; Halker 0-0-0; Watkins 0-0-0.

Country Day 14 16 4 24 - 58

Columbus Grove 11 14 11 12 - 48

Three-point goals: MVCD 2-8 (Jett 1, Jackson 1); Columbus Grove 6-17 (Birnesser 3, Clement 2, Flores 1).

Rebounds: MVCD 33 (Jackson 8, Coleman 8); Columbus Grove 27 (Reynolds 13).

Turnovers: MVCD 7, Columbus Grove 10.