By Ozie Davis, Esq.
Herald Sports Editor
”Play smart, play hard, and play together,” has been the rallying cry for Taft Coach Demarco Bradley since the Ohio State Athletic Association Division III Championship Tournament began. Sunday, in front of a packed house at University of Dayton Arena, the Senators closed the door on the “Revenge Tour” and won the championship over Ottawa-Glandorf 48-45.
“I always tell the guys offense sells tickets but defense wins championships” said Coach Bradley. “Nobody scored more than 50 throughout the entire tournament” he said speaking to how proud he was of the Senators defensive effort.
Senior Mekhi Elmore led the Senator’s with 18 points, 4 assists, and 3 steals. It was certainly redemption for the kid from Dayton, who the OHSAA limited to eight games his junior year! “To win it all in my hometown means everything,” said Elmore.
Rayvon “The Vibe” Griffith was exceptional on defense against the Elks’ “Jimmy Chitwood,” Colin White. White, who had 31 points in the tournament semi-final was held to 18 on 6-15 shooting in the finals. White, a sophomore, is very talented and showed his elite status from the start. A fierce slam on the head of Senator star Rayvon Griffith gave the Elks a 7 point lead and lit a light on the Senators. “We have all been dunked on and have dunked on others, but that definitely turned us up,” said Griffith. Mekhi Elmore went on a 5 point run, then Ray hit a jumper, and we were all tied up within a minute. Taft really took control of the game at that point.
Taft’s Eian Elmore, Brandon “Atl” Cromer, Hudson Norton, Johnny “Groove” Cotton, and James “Baby J” Burnett were too much support system for the Elks. Especially with the coming out party of freshman Kieran Granville-Britten. Britten showed why he is one of the top players in the class 2025, averaging 10 points and 8 rebounds over the Final Four.
Taft Nation showed up, too.
With 2:46 left in the game, a Mekhi Elmore layup put the Senators up six and Coach Bradley called a timeout. The intermission music was “turned down for what?” Taft Nation went bananas. Those determined Elks fought to make it close at the end, but it was much to do about nothing as the Senators closed out their quest for supremacy.
What is so special to me about Coach Bradley and his Taft Senators is THEY ARE COMMUNITY. And Brad is Fairmount. So, where does he go with the offers of Ruby’s, Montgomery Inn and others? He goes to the park. He has the nets around his neck, and WE’RE ALL PROUD. That’s community. That’s Love. Rest in peace Sticky.
The Senators will celebrate at Wing Champ Monday 6-8 p.m. during the SpiritofsportsTV Live Podcast. Both Purcell Girls and Taft Boys will take part in “free wings for the champs at Wing Champ” initiative created by Ozie Davis and Associates and restauranteur Liz Rogers.