In the 80's, one of the top movies was Trading Places. While the movie was a comedy, the Division I title game was far from a laughing matter.
Toledo St. John's expected to play a Southwest Ohio team in the finals when the tournament started, it just wasn't Hamilton they expected, The Big Blue traded places with Moeller, in this years final.
During the game, both teams traded places in the first and second quarters. Toledo St. John's would score 14 points in the 1st. Hamilton tallied 12. The junior duo of B.J. Raymond and Zach Hillesland put the Titans ahead, while Brandon Lampley would keep the Blue within a buckets reach.
In the second, the two teams "Traded Places" the Big Blue would tally 14 and the Titans 12. Both teams shot 50.0% from the field, on 11-22 shooting. And the scoreboard showed a 26-26 tie.
Lampley paced Hamilton with 8 points, while Zach Hillesland posted 9 for the Titans. I'm sure the locker rooms were filled with instruction for the stretch run and the hardware that would follow.
The 3rd and 4th quarters would prove who ruled Division I in Ohio for 2004. With a chess match design, both teams would claw and scratch for every basket. The officials allowed aggressive play early in this game, but by the 4th, every bump and slap seemed to draw a call.
Scoring for the Big Blue would even out, Adam Meyers-White, Jason Miller and senior guard Derrick Huff each picked up much needed points. With the Big Blue crowd in a frenzy, Titan fans looking for points. Hamilton went ahead and would keep its advantage. Williams would hit a foul shot and Titans guard Brian Roberts would try a 2 and miss with 51.1 left on the clock. Upon his release, Roberts was fouled and went to the line for the chance to cut into the Hamilton margin. Hitting both, Roberts cut the score down to 46-42, on the inbounds; Hamilton pushed the ball down and looked to run the clock. St. Johns was forced to foul Lampley and by hitting both, Blue looked cool with a victory in sight.
The Titans would turn the ball over, and foul Williams, he hits one of two and Roberts takes the ball and hits a three with .18 left on the clock. St. Johns calls time, and is forced to foul Lampley. He hits 1 of 2 and Roberts takes the ball and hits a 2 with the foul. He makes good on the free throw and cuts Hamilton down 50-48. Foul shots will make the difference; Lampley is sent to the line and misses the first of two. The Titans call time and Lampley gets ready for the shot of his life. He hits and Hamilton goes up 51-48 with 5.4 left in the game.
Hamilton calls time and the Titans draw up a 3-point play. Hamilton fouls Roberts, and he misses from the line, the Titans would then foul Huff, he misses both and Roberts takes the ball and before he can release the horn sounds. The Hamilton Big Blue is D-I Champions in 2004 with a 51-48 victory over Toledo St. John's.
With this, my partner is right again. The D-I crown belongs in Southwest Ohio for another year. Ozie you made the call, JS and I will have to listen in the future.