DAYTON, Ohio - Tad DeBord hugged everyone in sight while Indian Hill teammate Bryan Walker stood alone, gasping for a fourth or fifth breath.
The duo combined for 61 points as the Braves answered every challenge from Dayton Christian en route to a 93-86 victory over the Crusaders in the Division III regional championship game at the University of Dayton Arena.
Indian Hill advances to the Division III state semifinals at 9 p.m. Thursday, meeting Massillon Tuslaw at St. John Arena in Columbus.
It will be the Braves first appearance in the state semifinals. ''We bent but we never folded,'' Indian Hill coach Dale Haarman said. ''I never thought about slowing it down. We attacked all season, and I don't think we are capable of slowing it down.''
Haarman, who played at St. Bernard under coach Jerry Radtke, will be making a second appearance in the state final four.
''Dale scored 32 points in the regional championship game to send us to the final four,'' said Radtke, who is St. Bernard's coach and attended the game.
''He got in foul trouble in the state semifinals and only scored 15. We lost to Indian Valley South that was coached by Bob Huggins (UC coach).''
Six times during the game, Dayton Christian made runs. But DeBord, Walker, Walter Davis, Josh Cooper and Brenden Flood answered each time.
Dayton Christian's final run came late in the fourth quarter. The Crusaders erased an 82-75 lead to tie the score at 82-82 with 1:14 remaining.
Then DeBord stole the ball from Dayton Christian center Cedric Davis, passed the ball to Walker and broke down the sideline.
He took a perfect pass from Walker and drove in for the basket. Fouled on the play, DeBord sank the free throw.
''Tad was 'all-world' tonight,'' Haarman said. ''He's only 6-3 but is so much quicker than most big men he plays against. He knows how to use his talent and played an exceptional game.''
DeBord came up with another steal and scored on a layup with 35.6 seconds remaining for an 89-82 lead. Grant Collinsworth and Walker followed with two free throws each to lock it up.
A dejected Dayton Christian coach Dave Jackson looked to the final minute as the key in the game.
''We worked so hard to tie the game and we controlled our own destiny,'' Jackson said. ''But we commited three consecutive turnovers at this point which was the game.''
DeBord was motivated by several comments made by students at school.
''When Dayton Christian took the floor the other night, they were so big our students thought it was the University of Dayton's team coming out to warm up,'' DeBord said.
''Their two inside guys (Dante DuBose 6-6 and Cedric Davis 6-6) are six inches combined taller than me. This motivated me because I like a challenge like this.''
Walker, who has suffered from chronic shoulder injuries since the 1997 baseball season, left the game with one minute remaining before halftime, holding his left shoulder.
''We popped the shoulder back in at halftime,'' said Walker, who scored a career-high 30 points. ''The only problem I had in the second half was dribbling with the left hand.''
Fast-and-furious was the name of the game from the outset with DeBord scoring 12 points in the first quarter, propelling Indian Hill into a 25-19 advantage.
Walker came through with 11 points in the second quarter before departing with the injury as the Braves clung to a 44-39 lead at the halftime intermission.
DAYTON CHRISTIAN (86) - DuBose 12-15 5-7 31, Dingeman 2-4 0-0 4, Davis 6-11 0-2 12, Johnson 0-6 0-0 0, Williams 7-19 2-2 20, Beatrice 1-5 0-0 3, Jackson 5-10 1-2 13, Snaufer 1-4 0-0 3. Totals 34-74 8-13 86.
INDIAN HILL (93) - Walker 10-17 8-10 30, Flood 3-7 0-0 6, DeBord 12-21 7-7 31, Davis 2-3 3-5 8, Cooper 3-9 5-6 12, Collinsworth 0-2 2-2 2, Welch 2-3 0-0 4. Totals 32-62 25-30 93.
Dayton Christian 19 20 20 27 - 86
Indian Hill 25 19 22 27 - 93
Three point field goals: DC (10-35) Dubose 2-3, Johnson 0-5, Williams 4-15, Beatrice 1-3, Jackson 2-6, Snaufer 1-3. IH (4-12) Walker 2-4, Davis 1-2, Cooper 1-4, Collinsworth 0-2. Rebounds: DC (33) DuBose 14, Davis 10. IH (41) DeBord 9, Cooper 9. Assists: DC (13) Johnson 4, Williams 4. IH (16) Cooper 6, Walker 5. Steals: IH (9) Walker 4, DeBord 2, Cooper 2. Records: DC 22-2, IH 19-6. Attendance: 2,500.