DAYTON, Ohio — Roger Bacon High School boys basketball coach Brian Neal is in his final season with the Spartans but he's certainly in no hurry to leave the gym this month.
Wednesday's district championship guaranteed another week of practice for Neal and his team.
"It's just been an incredible ride," Neal said Wednesday. "I knew before the season that I was ready for my career to be over, but man I'm glad they're prolonging it because it's been a lot of fun."
Roger Bacon defeated Dayton Carroll 63-38 in the Division II district final Wednesday night at University of Dayton Arena.
The Spartans won their eighth district title in program history under Neal, who is in his 17th and final season as head coach after he announced in early November he would step down after this winter. Wednesday was Roger Bacon's 23rd boys basketball district title overall, according to the athletic department.
"Maybe the most enjoyable experience I've had coaching," said Neal, a 1990 Roger Bacon graduate. "That's exactly what I told these guys tonight. And it's not necessarily about the fact that we won, although I'm sure that makes it a little bit sweeter."
Senior guard Rajere Blanks scored a game-high 17 points while senior guard Andrew Neal — Brian Neal's son — added 11 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
"It's great to see the team playing so well and with so much passion," Roger Bacon athletic director Steve Rossi said. "It's also great to see Brian win one more district title and advance to regionals. This one may mean more since it's his last season and he's finishing up with his son Andrew who has been fantastic. This is a fun team to watch."
Roger Bacon was 8-of-17 from beyond the 3-point arc. The Spartans outscored Dayton Carroll 34-16 overall between the second and third quarters.
"Our guys flat out got it done," Neal said. "It was a total team effort."
Roger Bacon (19-6) advances to play Woodward (22-3) in a Division II regional semifinal at 8 p.m. March 10 at Vandalia Butler High School.
Neal said the leadership of the seven seniors has been instrumental for the Spartans this postseason.
Senior forward Jacob Goyette (eight points, eight rebounds), senior guard/forward Jake Tschida (eight points), freshman forward Jesse Eubanks (eight points) and senior guard/forward Ty Brenner (six points and seven rebounds) were among some of Roger Bacon's other statistical leaders Wednesday night.
"I've been lucky enough to coach some great players and some great young men and had some great teams," Neal said. "But, I told them tonight I've been fortunate to be around some great situations. But, I don't know that I've ever been this happy watching a team do what they did tonight and play as well as they did and earn a district title."