FAIRBORN, Ohio -- The Jarron Cumberland Show entered the Nutter Center Saturday afternoon and did not disappoint.
“We had a fun time,” Cumberland said. “Coach (Mike Noszka) always tells us to have fun.”
The Wilmington High School senior shooting guard had 35 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals as the Hurricane defeated Mason 63-38 in a Division I district final.
Wilmington won the district championship for the first time in Cumberland’s four years. The Hurricane made three consecutive district finals previously.
“I think all our experience makes a difference,” Wilmington coach Mike Noszka said. “It’s not about the district game. It’s more about playing. One of the things we talked about this week is there are eight teams in the district including us and we have played or scrimmaged against six of those seven teams. The only team we didn’t play against was Mason. We are battle-tested.”
Wilmington (25-1) advances to play Moeller or Springfield in a regional semifinal at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Xavier University’s Cintas Center.
Moeller plays Springfield in a district final at 9 p.m. Saturday at Wright State.
Wilmington defeated Springfield this season and the Hurricane’s only loss was to Moeller in January.
Cumberland, a University of Cincinnati signee, passed three players including former NBA player Jim Jackson on the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s career points list.
Cumberland has 2,344 career points – good for No. 18 on the state’s all-time career points list.
Mason (22-2) never led in the game but closed the gap significantly midway through the third quarter. With Wilmington leading 28-27 at the 2:30 mark, Cumberland, the Southwest District player of the year and a Mr. Basketball candidate, rattled off 10 consecutive points to end the third quarter to give Wilmington a 45-27 advantage.
In all, Cumberland scored 18 of 23 during a stretch late in the third quarter to the early fourth.
“I just had to get started,” Cumberland said. “The team really needed me to get started and score the ball.”
Wilmington senior guard Cameron Stewart added 16 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Mason won 22 consecutive games entering Saturday. The Comets hadn’t lost since Nov. 27.
Junior guard Eddie Puisis had 11 points, including three 3-pointers. Senior guard Kyle Lamotte had 10 points and four rebounds. Junior forward Ben Schutte had 10 points and four rebounds.
The Comets won the GMC title outright for the first time in school history and earned the No. 1 seed in the sectional tournament.