WILLARD — Jayden Jacobs’ energy was contagious.
Ontario’s senior forward scored eight of his 16 points in the first quarter as the eighth-seeded Warriors thundered to a 67-37 win over No. 12 Galion in the Division II sectional semifinals Wednesday at Robert L. Haas Gymnasium.
The 6-foot Jacobs scored eight of his 16 points on offensive rebounds and putbacks.
“Jayden is our energy guy. It’s always been that way,” said sophomore Griffin Shaver, who connected on five 3-pointers and scored a game-high 21 points. “He’s the guy who gets us started and we kind of follow his lead.”
Jacobs got going early as the Warriors (15-8) raced out to a 15-4 first-quarter lead. His first three baskets all came on offensive rebounds.
“Galion likes to play behind the posts, so me and Parker (VanArsdalen) thought we might have a big night,” Jacobs said. “I felt pretty good down there tonight.”
Jacobs scored 12 points in the first half as the Warriors built a 32-18 lead. The Tigers (8-15) scored the first bucket of the third quarter on a Jack McElligott steal and layup to make it 32-20, but Ontario outscored Galion 23-2 the rest of the period to put it away. The game was played with a running clock after the Warriors extended their lead to 57-22 on another Jacobs offensive rebound and stickback with 7:08 remaining in the fourth quarter.
“We really didn’t do anything differently defensively in the third quarter,” Ontario coach Joe Balogh said. “We told them to be more aggressive in the passing lanes and make everything they were trying to do difficult.”
Galion’s Isaish Alsip, the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference’s leading scorer at 21.3 points a game was limited to four points. The junior sharpshooter didn’t score in the second half.
“Our emphasis tonight was try to make it difficult for Alsip,” Balogh said. “Our kids have had really good focus here the last month of the season … and its kind of paid dividends for us.”
Shaquan Coburn backed Shaver and Jacobs with 11 points. Ethan Keller, who missed more than a month with injury, added eight points.
McElligott was the only Tiger to reach double figures, scoring 13 points. Gage Lackey added seven.
Ontario will play No. 2 seed Lexington for a sectional title at 8 p.m. Friday at Willard. The Minutemen, who beat Edison 66-29 in Wednesday’s second game, knocked off the Warriors 50-43 in late-December.
“I missed the first game because I was sick,” Jacobs said. “It should be fun.”