Antwerp High School's student body celebrates the boys basketball team's victory over Toledo Christian, 45-44, in the OHSAA Division IV district semifinal on Tuesday, February, 28, 2023. (Photo/Adam Papin)

DEFIANCE – It took a little luck but the Antwerp Archers moved on to the district championship with a 45-44 victory over Toledo Christian in Division IV action at Defiance High School Tuesday evening.

The blue and white took the 45-44 advantage on two Landon Brewer free throws with 14 seconds remaining but the drama was far from over.

Following a Toledo Christian timeout with four seconds on the clock, the Eagles missed their opening shot but Kalon Butler grabbed the offensive rebound and was fouled on the second attempt just prior to the final buzzer blaring.

After a lengthy delay, Butler was awarded two free throws but missed them both off the back iron as Antwerp celebrated the victory following the second miss.

The Archers jumped in front early in the contest, opening a 10-6 advantage following a pair of Carson Altimus three-point field goals.

However, Silas Mickel converted a three-point play and Butler added a basket prior to the first-quarter buzzer to give the Eagles an 11-10 lead at the end of one period.

With Toledo Christian leading 16-15 midway through the second quarter, a Camden Fuller two-pointer and a trey by Brewer put Antwerp on top 20-16.

Two Karter Koester free throws for the Eagles were offset by a pair of Brewer foul shots to give Antwerp a 22-18 halftime advantage.

Toledo Christian opened the third quarter with a pair of baskets by Xandyr Hesson along with a bucket and two free throws by Koester put Toledo Christian on top 26-25.

Antwerp, though, would answer.

Buckets by Fuller and Reid Lichty as well as four consecutive Brewer free throws put the Archers on top 33-28 late in the third quarter before a Toledo Christian basket by Hesson kept the Eagles within 33-30 entering the final stanza.

In the fourth quarter, Brewer and Lichty scored back-to-back baskets in pushing the Archer advantage to 37-30.

With Antwerp on top 41-34, Brewer gave the blue and white its biggest lead with a basket to extend the margin to 43-34.

The Eagles, though, had one final run.

Koester ignited the spurt with a three-point field goal followed by baskets from Butler and Hesson pulled the Eagles within 43-41.

Toledo Christian then went in front with 26 seconds remaining in the contest as Butler converted an old-fashioned three-point play to put the Eagles on top 44-43, setting the Brewer heroics and the final shots.

Brewer led the Archers with 25 points in the contest while recording a double-double with ten rebounds. Altimus chipped in eight markers despite battling foul trouble most of the night while Lichty recorded six points and four boards.

Fuller picked up a pair of baskets for Antwerp, which improves to 20-4 on the season, and dished out four assists. Parker Moore had the remaining Archer bucket and hauled down five rebounds.

Koester topped Toledo Christian with 18 points and seven rebounds while Butler recorded nine markers and eight rebounds. Hesson chipped in ten points for the Eagles, who close their season with a record of 16-9.

Mickel aided the Eagle cause with three points and Tyler Ryan aided the Toledo Christian cause with two points, four rebounds and three assists. Charlie Duck IV picked up the last Eagles two-pointer.

Antwerp moves on to play Patrick Henry in the Division IV district championship game on Friday. The Patriots defeated Ayersville 36-27 in the second district semifinal Tuesday night. In a matchup on Saturday, January 21, the Archers defeated the Patriots 41-40 in Henry County.