Wednesday, February 03, 1999

Springboro wins battle of unbeatens

Enquirer contributor

        LEBANON — Springboro's regular-season winning streak, which reached 46 games Tuesday night with a 65-53 win over previously undefeated Lebanon, is nice. The victory the Panthers are most interested in, however, is the one for which Tuesday may have served as a dress rehearsal.

        That would be the big tournament game, the test that, after losing last year, Springboro's players can't wait to retake.

        “I think tonight shows we can come together under high pressure situations,” said Springboro star Seth Doliboa, who scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to help lead his team to victory “We even talked about it a little, that this gets us ready for the big (tournament) games.”

        A capacity crowd of 1,600 packed Lebanon's gym to wit ness two unbeaten schools seven miles apart square off.

        “ I think 'Boro has a shot at going all the way this year,” said Lebanon coach Dave Merchant, whose team had won more than 30 straight games at home.

        Springboro, No.4 in Division II, put five players in double figures.

        “The thing I liked most tonight was (Lebanon) made several plays in a row in the fourth quarter and we called a timeout and talked about poise,” Springboro coach Troy Holtrey said. “We went back out and did exactly what we wanted to do.”

        Holtrey was talking about the only stretch all night when the outcome of the game seemed truly in doubt. Trailing by 10 going into the fourth , Lebanon scored the first six points of the period to pull to within 50-46 with 6:14 to play.

        Following Springboro's timeout, the Panthers scored nine straight points to push the lead back to 13. Doliboa later had a sensational follow dunk from off the baseline after a missed shot that ended any Lebanon hopes with 3:20 to play.

        Key efforts also came from guards Chip James and Damon Francis. James helped slow Lebanon's Brady Merchant for most of the night, while Francis had 15 points, nine assists and five steals.

        SPRINGBORO (65) — James 4 1 10, Anderson 4 2 10, Francis 6 2 15, Sullivan 5 1 13, Doliboa 7 2 17. Totals: 26 8 65.

        LEBANON (53) — Merchant 7 3 17, Testerman 4 1 11, Walker 2 0 4, Gottfried 0 1 1, Jones 4 0 8, Alexander 5 2 12. Totals: 22 7 53. Springboro 15-17-18-15-65 Lebanon 7-13-20-13-53

        Three-point goals: S - James, Francis, Sullivan 2, Doliboa; L - Testerman 2 . Records: S 14-0, L 11-1.


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