Taft 62, Anna 57 in Division III regional semifinal

VANDALIA, Ohio – Yacco Nelson didn’t start for Taft Wednesday night.

The Taft senior was a big finisher for the Senators, helping the team outlast Anna 62-57 in overtime in a Division III boys basketball regional semifinal at Butler High School.

Taft, 15-4 overall, will play either Springfield Shawnee or Versailles in the regional final 4 p.m. Saturday at Butler.

“It’s all about the team,” Nelson said. “We’ve been telling each other since the summer, when stuff gets hard, we don’t fall apart. We try to keep coming back together. Everybody kept talking to each other. When I started crying, my boys kept my head up.”

Taft forward Yacco Nelson reacts during the win over Anna, Wednesday, March 10, 2021.

Taft sophomore Rayvon Griffith led the way with 28 points.

Nelson, who averages eight points per game, scored 18, including six straight Senator points overlapping the end of regulation and the extra session.

Nelson, a 6-foot-4 forward, averages eight points per game and got more minutes than usual vs. Anna’s small lineup. The Rockets started five guards and had no true post players, limiting the playing time for starting center JaMarco Berry, a 6-foot-6 big man.

Taft guard Rayvon Griffith (3) grabs a rebound during the overtime win over Anna, Wednesday, March 10, 2021.

“Besides Rayvon, he’s our best big guy but I can’t give up twos for threes,” said Taft head coach DeMarco Bradley. “Anna’s a good team. They have a lot of tradition like we do. Everybody on their team can shoot the ball. Yacco Nelson had to go with it. He played more minutes tonight than he probably had all year. He had to step up and guard those guards.”

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