Thanks to foul trouble, Aamir Solomon was a nonfactor in the first half of his team's most important game to date.
Let's just say he was a much bigger factor after halftime.
Solomon scored all of his team-high 21 points in the second half as second-seeded Buchtel ended the Tallmadge boys basketball team's season after earning a 74-61 victory in a Canton Division II sectional title game.
The contest took place March 3 at the John R. Buchtel Community Learning Center in Akron.
The Griffins, who defeated the Blue Devils 71-65 Feb. 21 at James O. Maddox Court, improved to 18-5. Tallmadge, which was the sixth seed, finished 13-9.
The Blue Devils closed the third quarter on a 13-4 run to cut their deficit to 44-42.
But Tallmadge didn't have a chance the rest of the way, thanks to Solomon.
The junior guard scored the first six points of the period. Two of those scores were extremely difficult shots in traffic with hands in his face.
Late in the period, Solomon delivered the exclamation point when he knocked down a no-hesitation 3-pointer from the left side.
That dagger gave Buchtel a 62-49 lead and it all but locked up a berth in district play.
Solomon ended up scoring 14 points in the pivotal fourth quarter. His performance overshadowed a game for the ages by another junior on the opposing side.
Blue Devils' guard Matthew Francesconi almost single-handedly kept his team in the game by draining a variety of jumpers both inside and and outside.
Francesconi, who buried five 3-pointers and was 9-of-13 from the free throw line, scored 16 points in the third quarter, which included a 3 from the left corner as the buzzer sounded off a feed from junior guard Jake Rensel.
That bucket cut the Griffins' advantage to 44-42 heading into the final eight minutes.
Tallmadge never got closer as Buchtel scored 30 points in the fourth.
Francesconi finished with a career-high 38 points for the Blue Devils, who raced out to an 8-2 lead.
But the Griffins responded with a 7-0 run and despite having several players in foul trouble, led 34-22 at halftime.
Despite all of the free opportunities, Tallmadge struggled with its shooting touch and was ineffective at the free throw line. The Blue Devils also committed 12 turnovers in the first half.
And if there was a ball that flew through the air, Buchtel usual chased it down.
The Griffins seemed to get every loose ball and had a decisive edge on the glass.
While Francesconi was unstoppable for much of the game, he didn't get enough support from his teammates.
Junior guard/forward Zach Boyd added 9 points for Tallmadge and sophomore guard Sam Seeker and senior guard Josh Taylor each had 6 points.
Buchtel had plenty of scoring punch from a number of players.
Post player Tariq Vinson scored 16 points for the Griffins and guards Justin Craig and Chris Robinson added 10 and 9 points, respectively, for Buchtel.
Neither team was particularly sharp from the charity stripe. The Blue Devils made just 12-of-22 and Buchtel finished 14-of-26. Tallmadge had a 7-4 edge in 3-pointers, but the Griffins made 24 2-point field goals compared to just 14 for the Blue Devils.