Simpson, Spartans advance over Cumberland, ‘Cane


By Blake Haley - WNJ Sports Writer



Lima Senior’s Xavier Simpson, left, and Wilmington’s Jarron Cumberland, right, were AAU teammates this past spring. On Friday night, they were opponents in the state semifinals in Columbus.


In the battle between the top two players in Ohio, at least according to this past week’s Mr. Basketball ballot, Friday night’s showdown at the Schottenstein Center was the classic tale of two halves.

Ohio Mr. Basketball Xavier Simpson had Lima Senior in high gear in the first half, especially in the second quarter when the Spartans outscored the Hurricane 23-11.

Simpson had it going midway through the second, shaking and baking, and hitting stepback jumpers on consecutive trips. The University of Michigan commit put up 11 in the quarter, 15 in the half and it looked like a Spartans blowout at 35-19.

On the other side, it wasn’t like Wilmington’s Jarron Cumberland was getting shut down. He totaled eight points at the half, but unlike Simpson, was yet to tickle the twine from the outside with a jumper.

In fact, as a team, Wilmington was 0-for-6 from beyond the arc at the half.

The second half was a different story.

Well, not right away, as LS scored four quick points to make it a 20-point advantage.

That’s when Cumberland went into attack mode. He drove hard to the rim. Foul. And one.

After a Beaugard and-1, a Cumberland block and rebound sparked another break.

Cumberland’s outside jumper finally found bottom. A trey with under two minutes left in the third gave WHS its first three-pointer of the game. However, the Hurricane finished just 3 for 16 beyond the arc.

On the other end, things weren’t as easy for Simpson anymore.

He scored only six points after the half and the Spartans turned the ball over nine times in the final two quarters as a team. While Cumberland had the ‘Cane on the comeback trail, it wasn’t all perfect. Especially at the free throw line. At one point he missed a pair at the charity stripe during the rally and finished the night 12-for-17.

However, late in the game, the University of Cincinnati commit had ice water in his veins. He sank three straight, then watched as Simpson missed two on the other end before a game-tying heave fell short.

Cumberland finished the night with 25 points and 9 rebounds on 6-of-15 from the floor.

Simpson finished with 23 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists, but also committed 6 turnovers.

Lima Senior’s Xavier Simpson, left, and Wilmington’s Jarron Cumberland, right, were AAU teammates this past spring. On Friday night, they were opponents in the state semifinals in Columbus.
http://wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/web1_BBK_jarron.xavier-1.jpgLima Senior’s Xavier Simpson, left, and Wilmington’s Jarron Cumberland, right, were AAU teammates this past spring. On Friday night, they were opponents in the state semifinals in Columbus.

By Blake Haley

WNJ Sports Writer

Reach Blake via email [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @BeeLakeH

Reach Blake via email [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @BeeLakeH

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