Last year, Stivers was a sub-.500 team when it clashed with Deer Park in the district championship game at UD Arena. Deer Park prevailed, 72-63, on the way to a perfect season and the school’s first state championship.
Fast forward to Sunday. Stivers entered the district finals rematch against Deer Park with a 19-4 record and a high-octane offense that helped it secure a Dayton City League title. A balanced scoring attack, with help from Deer Park’s 15-for-36 mark (41.7 percent) at the free throw line, catapulted the Tigers to a 76-62 victory and a berth in the Division III regionals.
Deer Park was paced by Southwest District Division III Player of the Year Mark Wise scored a game-high 24 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, but the junior missed all 13 of his second-half shots and was 2-for-15 from the stripe.
Stivers’ Trevon Ellis recorded his second consecutive triple-double with 17 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. Da’Juan Allen poured in a team-high 19 points and sophomore guards Allen Latimore and Antonio Aubrey reached double-digits in scoring.
Deer Park trimmed the Stivers’ lead to 39-33 with 3:36 remaining in the third quarter, Wildcats to within six at 39-33 with 3:36 left in the third, but Stivers responded and ended the quarter with a 52-42 advantage.
Stivers meets top seed Anna at Trent Arena on Wednesday at 8 p.m. Anna improved to 24-2 with a 68-57 victory over Clark Montessori. Purcell Marian faces Versailles at 5:30 p.m. in the other regional semifinal. The winners play in the regional finals Saturday at 7 p.m. at Trent Arena.