COLUMBIANA -Springfield's boys basketball team had been itching to win a league title for quite some time coming into this season.
That time frame was six years. In Tiger terms that's an eon.
Ron Rogers hit seven-three pointers on his way to a game-high 26 points as the Tigers clinched at least a share of Tier 1 of the Inter-Tri County League with a 63-35 victory over Columbiana on Tuesday.
The championship is Springfield's first since the 2006 Inter-County League title and ended the longest title drought since the Tigers went without one from 1979 to 1985.
"We've always have been known as a basketball school and we've had success in the past," Springfield senior Joe Ohlin said. "But you look back on the last year and the baseball team went to state and the football team made the playoffs. We wanted to carry it on to basketball."
The Tigers improved to 15-2 and 12-1 and can clinch the title outright on Friday at home against East Palestine. Columbiana fell to 1-16, 1-12.
For Ohlin, who scored 11 points against the Clippers, this season has meant more to him than just winning.
He said that he didn't play last season because of "stupid reasons" and was glad to get back on good terms with everyone in the basketball program.
"Coach put a lot of faith in me and I really appreciate the coaching staff taking me back in," Ohlin said. "They really let me contribute to the team like I know how to."
Ohlin is part of a senior class of five which also includes Rogers, Nick Russell, Tom Mastran and Ryan Stacy.
"For the past four years we worked on bringing Springfield back up," Mastran said. "We wanted to be where they were in the past."
Springfield coach Eric Fender has been with the Tigers for four seasons and has seen the senior group grow into a championship squad.
"From wherever you come from in the area if you know anything about basketball, you know Springfield basketball has been good basketball," Fender said.
"I told the guys it has been six long years and that now we have at least a share of the ITCL title. I think that means something to them and it means something to us as coaches and it means something to the community."
Rogers said the team was close last season, but just didn't do enough to get the job done.
"Last year we thought we had a good shot at it, but we had to scoreboard watch and it didn't go our way," Rogers said. "This year we just came out and won just about every game."
Rogers had no trouble in putting on a show against the Clippers. He scored 20 points in the first half (Columbiana only had 17 as a team at the break) and left the game at the end of the third quarter with 26 to Columbiana's team total of 23.
"They're a really good team," Columbiana coach Jason Baker said. "In my opinion they have the player of the year in the league in Rogers. He showed it tonight. I thought we did a decent job of contesting shots, but good players make good plays."
Jake DeJong sparked the Clippers with 13 points. Eight of those came in the first quarter.
Springfield won the jayvee game 59-28. Brandon Chamberlain scored 19 for the Tigers. Austin Huffman and Anthony Zocolo had eight points each for the Clippers.
Columbiana hosts South Range on Friday.
SPRINGFIELD SCORING: Ron Rogers 8-3-26, Tom Mastran 2-0-4, Joey Ohlin 5-1-11, Ryan Stacy 2-1-5, Eoghan Bees 3-0-8, Jared McTigue 2-0-4, Mark Schuler 0-0-0, Joe Caraballo 2-0-5, Joe Johnson 0-0-0, Joe Wrask 0-0-0, Jake Ohlin 0-0-0, Alex Wharry 0-0-0, Brandon Chamberlain 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 22, 5-7: 63.
COLUMBIANA SCORING: Bryce Franken 1-0-2, Kyle Bryan 4-0-10, Natah Garofalo 1-0-2, Joe Munyon 3-0-7, Jake DeJong 6-0-13, Austin Miner 0-0-0, Devin Rice 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 15, 1-4: 35.
THREE POINTERS: Springfield 9 (Rogers 7, Bees, Caraballo), Columbiana 4 (Bryan 2, DeJong, Munyon).