WILLARD — Cade Stover jump-started Lexington’s sputtering offense Wednesday night.
Stover scored 12 straight point during a four-minute stretch in the first quarter and the Minutemen never looked back in a 66-29 win over Edison in the Division II sectional semifinals at Robert L. Haas Gymnasium.
Second-seeded Lexington (18-5) will play Richland County rival Ontario for a sectional title at 8 p.m. Friday at Willard. The Warriors dispatched Galion 67-37 in Wednesday’s early game.
The 14th-seeded Chargers (2-21) led 4-2 midway through the first quarter when Stover took over. The 6-foot-5 senior had a pair of offensive rebounds and cutbacks during the stretch and knocked down two 3-pointers. His second triple gave Lex a 14-6 lead.
“Sometimes when there is that big gap between the seeds, you come out and try to do too much too soon,” Lex coach Scott Hamilton said. “I think the guys were a little bit hyped up because it is tournament time.
“We expected those first few minutes to be a little rough, but once we got settled in we got into some things we wanted to do.”
Leading 18-6 after the first quarter, the Minutemen put it out of reach on the second. Lex outscored Edison 21-7 in the period and took a 39-13 lead to the half.
Stover scored all 20 of his points before intermission and, along with Lex’s other starters, spent much of the second half on the bench. Reserves Nick Stehle and Max Waldruff took advantage of the additional playing time, scoring 12 and 10 points, respectively.
“This was a great starting point for a tournament run,” said Stehle, who was 6-for-8 from the field and grabbed a game-high seven rebounds. “We took care of business and now we’ll prepare for Ontario.”
Lexington was virtually unstoppable in the paint. The Minutemen connected on 26 of 39 field goals inside the 3-point arc and outrebounded the Chargers 39-18.
“We knew they were more of a perimeter team so if we focused on keeping them out there after they shot the ball we would be in good shape,” Hamilton said. “We wanted second-chance points to be a big key as well.”
Lexington grabbed 16 offensive rebounds and scored 22 second-chance points. The Minutemen also scored 31 points off 19 Edison turnovers.
“We tried to work on some things that we’ll do in the tournament with some trapping. That’s not normal for us,” Hamilton said. “We forced them to throw it away a couple times and that led to some easy transition buckets for us.”
Carson Ehrhardt led Edison with 11 points. Larry Kessler added 10.