WORDEN – Jayce Griffith wasn’t going to let it end here.
The Roundup senior, trying to lead the boys basketball team to its first state tournament berth since 2006, scored 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting Friday to lead the Panthers to a 57-32 comeback win over Columbus in a District 4B semifinal.
Columbus, which upset Huntley Project in Thursday’s opening round, came out firing. The Cougars led 16-9 after the first quarter, but Griffith and the Panthers opened the second on a 9-0 run to steal the lead.
That was just the beginning. Roundup won the quarter 21-2 to take a commanding 30-18 halftime lead. Griffith scored 11 of the 21, carrying the team as fellow star senior Kelson Eiselein was held scoreless in the first 16 minutes.
The win moves Roundup to 17-1 this season and into the 4B championship against Joliet, which defeated Shepherd 61-56 in the second semifinal Friday.
The J-Hawks led 28-24 after a back-and-forth first half. Shepherd won the third quarter 16-7 to take a five-point lead into the fourth, but Joliet outscored the Mustangs 26-16 over the final eight minutes to move on.
Rylan Olson scored 24 points and Taylor Rowlison scored 23, the two accounting for 77 percent of the J-Hawks’ scoring. Rowlison was incredible at the free-throw line, finishing 17 of 18 in the game.
Griffin Butsch led the Mustangs with 18 points, while Jake Trotter chipped in 14 and 12 rebounds.
The championship between Roundup and Joliet is scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday night. The winner clinches a spot in the Southern B Divisional tournament, while the loser could be challenged by the third-place finisher if those two teams haven’t yet met at districts.