By DAVE HANNEMAN
BOWLING GREEN — Mansfield St. Peter’s ended the second and third quarters with buzzer-beating 3-pointers on Tuesday.
The long bombs had mostly a collateral effect, though.
The real damage had already been done.
“That 3-pointer to end the first half was huge, but I wouldn’t say that was the back-breaker,” McComb coach Nick Latta said after the Panthers fell 68-50 to St. Peter’s in the second of two Division IV regional semifinals matchups at the Stroh Center.
“We fought back in the third quarter. But if the score had been closer, we could have fought a little bit more.”
St. Peter’s (22-4) advances to face No. 1-ranked Lincolnview (25-1) at 7 p.m. on Friday in the regional final. A spot in next Friday’s Division IV state semifinals at Value City Arena in Columbus will be on the line. Lincolnview edged Fayette 36-29 in Tuesday’s regional opener at Bowling Green State University.
McComb ended its season at 14-11.
A young team with three sophomores and a junior among its top six players, St. Peter’s nonetheless established the pace, the style and the impact it wanted in building a 15-9 edge in the first quarter and 31-19 lead by the half.
A bit tentative from the start, McComb committed five turnovers in the first quarter and eight in the first half. St. Peter’s used those mistakes for a 10-0 advantage off first-half turnovers. The Spartans also outscored McComb 16-6 in the paint in the first two periods.
One buzzer-beating dagger came with St. Peter’s running out the clock in the second quarter.
On a set play, 6-foot-2 sophomore guard Jared Jacubick popped outside — way outside — and drained a 28-foot 3-pointer as the horn sounded.
Drew Siferd shouldered McComb’s comeback hopes in the third quarter, scoring 10 points on an offensive put-back, a fast-break lay-up and a variety of daring drives to the basket.
Siferd capped three small McComb rallies with baskets, the last trimming the deficit to 46-32.
St. Peter’s again ran the clock going for the final shot, and this time Ryan Payne, one of just two senior starters for the Spartans, drained a 3-pointer from the right corner.
McComb would get no closer than 14 points the rest of the game.
“It kicked in toward the end of the third quarter that this could be it for us,” said Siferd, one of eight seniors on the McComb roster. “Whatever I could contribute to the team I was going to do.”
Siferd finished with a team-high 14 points. Drew Bryan had nine points and six rebounds and Chas Shoop six points and eight rebounds.
Kyle Osgar,a 6-3 senior had 13 points and six rebounds for St. Peter’s. Sophomores Jared Jacubick (16), Mason Campbell (14) and sixth-man Elijah Cobb (14) combined for 44 of St. Pete’s 68 total points.
St. Peter’s overall youth concerned head coach Joe Jacubick. In the end, it wasn’t a factor.
“We seem to be one of the few teams up here that is mostly underclassmen. With a young team, you never know how they will respond,” Joe Jacubick said.
“This is the first time in the regional for these guys, but I thought they showed great composure. We had very good balance, we shared the ball, we did a good job defensively … that’s pretty indicative of how we play.”
Latta had hoped to take advantage of St. Peter’s youthfulness.
“We knew they could get to the basket, so we were going to give them some space, maybe give them some (outside) shots, and hope their young guys would fold. They didn’t,” Latta said.
“Those guys made their shots.”
St. Peter’s was a deadly 50-percent from both 3-point range (6-12) and overall (23-46). The Spartans also converted 16 of 19 free throws. McComb was just 1 for 10 from the line.
McComb struggled through the second half of the regular season. But rebounded in tournament play to earn the school’s first regional bid since the 2010-11 season.
“I think it was after the Riverdale game, assistant coach Glenn Miehls said, ‘Let’s have a team meeting, a senior team meeting.’ We sat down, had some food and talked about their expectations for the tournament,” Latta said.
“They realized that, ‘Hey, we can win the district.’ There were some good teams along the way, but I give these guys a lot of credit for buying into that concept and making it happen.”
MANSFIELD ST. PETER’S (22-4)
Campbell 4-11 5-6 14, Payne 1-4 0-0 3, Osgar 4-5 4-4 13, Jakubick 7-10 0-0 16, Kent 2-6 0-1 5, Rall 0-1 0-0 0, Cobb 5-8 4-4 14, Gurski 0-1 3-4 3. TOTALS: 23-46 16-19 — 68.
Kasmarek 1-6 0-0 2, Shoop 2-8 0-0 6, Siferd 7-17 0-0 14, Bryan 4-7 0-4 9, Abbott 0-1 0-0 0, T. Schroeder 1-2 0-0 3, Longberry 2-4 0-0 6, Wasson 0-0 0-2 0, Case 1-1 0-0 2, Gustwiller 1-1 0-2 3, Grubb 2-4 0-0 4, C. Schroeder 0-0 0-0 0, DeLaCerda 0-0 1-2 1. TOTALS: 21-51 1-10 — 50.
Mansfield St. Peter’s 15 16 18 19 — 68
McComb 9 10 13 18 — 50
3-POINT GOALS: Mansfield St. Peter’s 6-12 (Jakubick 2, Campbell, Payne, Osgar, Kent); McComb 7-17 (Shoop 2, Longberry 2, Bryan, T. Schroeder, Gustwiller).
REBOUNDS: Mansfield St. Peter’s 30 (Payne 7); McComb 27 (Shoop 8, Bryan 6).
TURNOVERS: Mansfield St. Peter’s 8, McComb 12.