WEST CHESTER TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Mason senior guard Landen Long couldn’t hide his euphoria after Friday night’s Division I sectional boys’ basketball final.
The Comets defeated Milford 60-50 at Lakota West, and Mason will return to the district final for the third time in four seasons next weekend in Dayton.
“It’s extremely special,” said Long, who scored all of his team-high 14 points in the second half. “I’ve been playing since I was young all the way through the program. These coaches mean everything to me, and this team means everything to me, and to get back there is something I can’t even describe.”
Long was a varsity and junior varsity player in 2017 when the Comets won the district title and played in the regional tournament. Mason seniors like him know the significance of playing this deep into the tournament in March.
Long made three 3-pointers in the third quarter Friday night to help the Comets against Milford.
Mason was also led by junior forward Mitchell Greer with 12 points and four rebounds. Junior forward Jack Cooper had nine points, five rebounds and three blocks.
“These guys got a lot of heart and a lot of desire,” Mason coach Greg Richards said. “They are really fun to coach.
Mason led 23-18 at halftime, and Richards’ directive was to stay consistent in the second half. Mason led most of the game except for a 33-second stretch in the fourth quarter when it trailed by one point.
“We thought coming in they were a lot like us, so it was going to be a battle to the end,” Richards said. “Fortunately, we got off the right end of it today.”
Milford (13-11) was led by senior guard Steven Huxell with 13 points alongside senior guard Jake Ayers with 12 points and five assists.
The Eagles started the season with a 7-10 record but won nine of their final 13 games, including two in the tournament.
“After the Turpin game we had a little explosion in the locker room, all rightfully so,” Milford coach Joe Cambron said. “But, from that moment on I will remember how they responded to the adversity of our season not going the way we thought it was going to be.”
Cambron said the seniors led by example to aid the Eagles.
“Just the mental toughness that they showed and belief in each other that allowed us to turn around second half of the year around,” Cambron said.
Mason (18-4) plays Centerville (20-5) at 3 p.m. March 9 at University of Dayton Arena.