COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Saturday's matchups at the Columbus Convention Center are set. Let's take a look at the eight Division I district semifinal matchups from Wednesday.
Not too many people would believe that No.13 Olentangy Orange could knock off the No.1 seed Dublin Coffman, but coach Anthony Calo, his staff, and team did. It showed as Orange slayed the giant 77-67 behind 29 points from senior Bryson Lane.
Both teams got out to a hot start, combing for 21 points in the first three minutes with neither team missing a single shot. Hot shooting continued be a trend, as the quarter was high scoring for both teams. Ryan Cutler’s three at the end of the quarter gave Orange a 22-19 lead after one period.
The second quarter was similar with both teams exchanging baskets. Bryson Lane was the the difference for Orange. He scored another nine points in the quarter, bringing his halftime total to 18 points and giving Orange a 38-33 lead at the half.
The difference in the second half was Coffman going cold. They were getting good looks, but the shots they usually get to fall weren’t going down.
Orange took full advantage of that as they remained hot, taking a ten point advantage into the final frame. They led by as much a 13 in the final quarter with the scoreboard showing 62-49 with 3:53 remaining.
Coffman had one final push in them, but the closest they could get was seven as Orange put on the best late game free-throw this performance I’ve seen all year.
Lane led all scorers with 29 points for Orange. Bryson isn’t the fastest guy, but he has a very crafty handle that allows him to break down his defender and get to the rim with ease. Most impressive was his ability to finish at the rim so consistently for his size. Coffman had no answer for the senior as he gave them all they could handle.
Cutler had a breakout performance, scoring some timely buckets as he added 18 points for the Orange.
Andre Irvin showed why he’s regarded as one of the very best guards in the 2021 class tonight as well. The sophomore played a great game and was phenomenal down stretch at the line. Irvin finished the night 8-8 from the line and added 16 points.
Dom Penn led Coffman in scoring with 18 points.
Olentangy Orange advances to the district finals to take on Newark on Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Columbus Convention Center.
It's tough to beat a team three times. After falling to Hilliard Bradley in their first two matchups this season, Thomas Worthington rode a two point halftime lead throughout the second half to shock the Jags, 46-41.
Sophomore Isaac Settles (13 points) and senior Charlie Mamlin (11 points) combined for 24 points to lead the way for the Cardinals.
Outside of the two, Jalen Sullinger scored eight for Thomas Worthington and Ben Wight contributed six.
Keaton Norris led Hilliard Bradley with 14 points, while Matt Allocco was their only other player in double-figures, contributing 10 in the loss.
Thomas Worthington advances to the district finals to take on Pickerington North on Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Columbus Convention Center.
Nearly one month ago to the day, Pickerington North and Canal Winchester played along Route 33, with the Panthers winning comfortably by 29. Wednesday night’s district semifinal had all the makings of a revenge game, but it was not meant to be for the Indians as they fell 68-36. Ohio State football commit Jack Sawyer had himself a monster game around the rim, scoring a game-high 26 points, 19 of which came after halftime.
Early on, it looked as if the Canal Winchester defense was going to be the difference-maker, controlling the pace and holding the Panthers to just four points in the opening four minutes of the game. That all changed on a monster dunk by Pickerington North’s Chris Scott, giving the Panthers some serious momentum. Another dunk by Hunter Shedenhelm gave the Panthers the lead for good early on.
Even though the momentum changed, the pace and scoring did not trend that way as well. North lead 16-9 midway through the second quarter, and that’s when Sawyer and the Panther defense started to make their presence felt, scoring seven points in the frame. Pressure caused some costly turnovers, leading to consecutive Pickerington North run-outs and easy layups; closing the quarter with a 13-4 Panther run.
Another 6-0 spurt to start the second half made the margin 35-15, and from there on out the Panthers controlled the game. Cole Metzler had seven of his team-high nine points during the frame, but the ability to get consistent scoring for Canal Winchester was severly hampered by the North backline. Sawyer’s ability to score through double teams and on nearly any other post-up made him a nightmare for the maroon and white faithful on the visitor’s side. The future Buckeye nearly outscored the Indians by himself in the second half, losing the battle 23-19.
Pickerington North advances to the district finals to take on Thomas Worthington on Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Columbus Convention Center.
Big Walnut appeared to be on the verge of a possible upset tonight against Pickerington Central after taking a one point lead into halftime following a buzzer beating three-pointer.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, this glory was short lived as the Tigers took control of the game in the second half on their way to a 10 point victory.
Javohn Garcia led the Tigers with 18 points while Cole Landis also contributed 13. Garner Wallace and Jaidon Lipscomb also combined for 16 for Pickerington Central.
Pickerington Central advances to the district finals to take on Reynoldsburg on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at the Columbus Convention Center.
Upper Arlington’s senior star and Penn commit Max Martz has been terrorizing opposing defenses since returning from injury in late January. However, that was not the case tonight, as Reynoldsburg shut down the 20 point per game scorer in order to obtain a 35-33 victory over the Golden Bears.
The Raiders began the game on an 8-0 run, as Upper Arlington burned their first timeout with four minutes left in the quarter. Reynoldsburg stayed in an inverted 2-3 zone the entire quarter, as they always had somebody heavily shadowing Martz at all times.
Upper Arlington ran a ton of sets in the quarter in order to free Martz up for an open look, but the team defensive effort from the Raiders was far too strong and the senior finished with two points in the quarter. The Golden Bears also lost their big man CJ Karsatos to foul trouble late in the quarter, leaving them without a rim protector and losing a decently switchable big. They struggled to find backcourt scoring production.
The Raiders were clicking on all cylinders with a 14-5 lead at the end of the first. Junior Nick Wallace played a major role, establishing himself as a floor spacer on the weak side of the floor knocking down two spot up three-pointers.
Upper Arlington received the guard scoring output that they needed in the second quarter. The guard trio of Sammy Sass, Jake Warinner, and Josh Rushin combined for 10 of the teams twelve points in the quarter. This forced Reynoldsburg out of their zone early in the quarter, but they never shifted their attention away from Martz as he was face guarded in the Raider man to man defense.
Upper Arlington also had a strong defensive performance in the quarter, which was surprising given the speed differential between the two teams and the amount of strong ball handlers on the Reynoldsburg squad. The Raiders still maintained a 22-17 lead heading into the locker room.
The third quarter was incredibly quiet as both teams struggled to score. Upper Arlington cut their deficit to one point when Sammy Sass knocked down a three about halfway through the quarter.
The back half of the quarter belonged to Reynoldsburg senior wing Ben Fort, as he scored all six of his teams points in the quarter, protecting his teams 28-24 lead going into the final frame.
With four and a half minutes left in the game, Reynoldsburg was still holding onto a 31-29 lead. Then, Martz knocked down a fadeaway mid post jumper to tie the game at 31 with four minutes left.
Junior wing Sean Moore answered right back for the Raiders with a putback through traffic to regain the lead, but Martz finished in the low post on the following possession with the game tied at 33.
Reynoldsburg managed the clock in the back end of the fourth, elongating their possessions like their game winner, where they held the ball for nearly two minutes. After Martz gambled the passing lane on the perimeter, Ben Fort drove into the lane and finished at the rim for the 35-33 lead with 11 seconds left.
Upper Arlington called a timeout with four seconds left after getting the ball up the court. Unfortunately, they could not get a shot off on the baseline out of bounds set, falling to the Raiders.
Reynoldsburg advances to the district finals to take on Pickerington Central on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at the Columbus Convention Center.
Death. Taxes. And Jeff Quackenbush in March.
Despite rolling out a brand new rotation and losing not one, but two games in the OCC-Capital throughout the course of the season, Newark will once again play for a district title.
The Wildcats led for all but 52 seconds in a district semifinal showdown again Walnut Ridge, surviving a late game surge from the Scots to hang on for a 62-55 victory.
The Wildcats looked to be rolling two minutes into the fourth quarter, holding a 48-28 lead with 6:07 remaining. Walnut Ridge showed a ton of grit, using full court pressure, open floor steals and second chance opportunities to fuel a 25-8 run over the next five minutes, cutting the deficit to 56-53 with 1:14 to go.
Unfortunately for Walnut Ridge, the Scots couldn't seal the deal, as Newark knocked down clutch free throws in the final minute to pull off the nail-biting win.
Feeling each other out for the first quarter, high pressure defense helped Walnut Ridge establish an early 4-2 lead with 5:44 remaining. Newark responded with a 7-4 run to close the quarter, holding a 9-8 advantage going into the second frame.
Walnut Ridge again struck first in the second quarter, taking a brief 10-9 lead. This was where Newark junior reserve Kadin Robinson made his mark on the game.
Coming down the floor and nailing a go-ahead three, Robinson helped fuel a 16-4 run the rest of the quarter, as Newark held the Scots scoreless for four minutes from the 5:54 mark until 1:46 remained in the half.
Walnut Ridge got within double digits with 1:16 to go but did not see the ball again. Going into four corners mode and playing keep away for the rest of the half, Newark struck with a second remaining, as junior forward Jaden Woods retrieved an offensive rebound and nailed a turn around jumper just before the buzzer to send Newark into halftime with a 25-14 lead.
Holding star Walnut Ridge junior Von Cameron Davis to two points and two fouls in the first half, Newark was in a great spot going into the second half.
The third quarter was all Newark as unlikely heroes Robinson, Woods and sophomore guard Kade Bafford combined for 15 of the Wildcats' 19 points in the period. Bafford and Robinson combined for three major triples, as back-to-back makes from the duo capped off an 8-1 run which put Newark ahead 40-22 with 1:24 remaining in the period.
Going into the final frame sporting a 44-27 lead, Newark was on the verge of busting the game open and riding a blowout into the district finals.
The opposite happened after two Woods free throws put the Wildcats up 48-28 with 6:07 to go.
With Walnut Ridge going into a full court press that rattled the Wildcats, the Scots made things very interesting over the next five minutes.
Attacking the offensive glass and forcing Newark into a litany of turnovers, Walnut Ridge turned in an insane run over five minutes. After scoring 28 points in 26 minutes of action, the Scots proceeded to score 25 points in just under five minutes, as junior forwards Kaveon Ross and Davis combined for 21 in the surge, as two free throws from Davis trimmed the lead to 56-53 with 1:14 to go.
While Newark missed two major free throws on the next trip down, the Wildcats forced Walnut Ridge into a turnover on the next possession, as Robinson went to the line for two crucial attempts.
Knocking down one of two, Robinson was sent back to the line moments later after another missed three from Walnut Ridge. Knocking down both attempts the second time down, Robinson put the Wildcats up 59-53 with 51 seconds to go, topping off a career-high 16 points for the senior.
Surviving in a game that Newark nearly let slip, the Wildcats advance to the district finals to take on an unlikely opponent, as No. 13 Olentangy Orange shocked top-seeded Dublin Coffman on Wednesday.
The Wildcats were led by Robinson's 16 points, as the unsung junior, who barely could shoot from the outside a year ago, went 3-for-3 from deep and added a trio of clutch free throws in the final minute. Robinson aided the Wildcats with tough on-ball defense and was a calming presence when all hell nearly broke loose late in the game.
Outside of Robinson, Bafford pitched in 14 points, 11 of which after halftime. The tough 6-foot sophomore guard was tasked with defending Davis man-to-man in the first half and did an outstanding job, forcing the stud junior into two charges which put him out for most of the second quarter. Bafford knocked down three triples, serving as a reliable perimeter option for Newark.
Woods pitched in 12 points and five rebounds before fouling out, as the 6-foot-4 junior played a tough game and took two charges on the defensive end. A player that always seems to be in the right place at the right time, Woods had a big impact in Newark opening it up in the second half.
Senior forward Keshawn Heard powered the Wildcats in the first half, scoring eight of his 10 points and adding eight rebounds and two blocks. The 6-foot-7 Heard erased several attempts near the rim and knocked down two pretty face-up jumpers from the mid-range area. Growing into a leader this year that has shown more consistency than ever, Heard will be counted on once again in Saturday's district final.
While his box score may not be sexy, junior guard Bobby Crenshaw played an outstanding game, as the super explosive 6-foot-1 guard was the best athlete on the floor. Crenshaw was tasked with defending Walnut Ridge junior guard Qian Magwood and held his own, serving as a stellar point of attack defender. In only his first year of organized basketball, Crenshaw has improved drastically since the opening game of the season, as he is an impactful two-way player with elite athleticism. Crenshaw showed that off in the fourth quarter, meeting Ross above the rim on a fast break and stuffing his dunk attempt, a block that was a microcosm for Wednesday's game.
For Walnut Ridge, Davis bounced back from a dismal first half and finished with 22 points and nine rebounds. The 6-foot-4 forward is a workhorse that never stops competing, as his work on the offensive glass and tough finishing ability nearly powered Walnut Ridge to a major comeback win. After finishing a big-time junior season in which he led the entire City League in scoring and broke the school record for single-game points, Davis enters an important AAU season that could see him add to his already lengthy Division I offer list.
Ross had a terrific 14-point, 10-rebounds showing despite limited usage. The 6-foot-5 forward is a big-time competitor that made his presence felt in the fourth quarter. Ross is a strong finisher and great athlete for his size, which will make him a desirable recruit both in football and basketball.
After being held to four points in the first half, Magwood bounced back in the second half and finished with 14 points, three assists and five steals. The 6-foot-1 guard was a ballhawk in the back of Walnut Ridge's press, coming up with several steals and showing off some of his major athletic tools that have helped him become one of the most sought after football recruits in Central Ohio. Magwood capped off a great tournament run where he played consistent ball and took the Scots to a higher level.
No other player had more than four points for the Scots, as Walnut Ridge missed every single three-point attempt it put up on Wednesday. With Newark knocking down seven triples and building multiple leads of 15-plus points, Walnut Ridge could not get the stops and hit the free throws it needed to complete the improbable comeback.
Newark advances to the district finals to take on Olentangy Orange on Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Columbus Convention Center.
Olentangy Liberty jumped out to an eight point lead after one against Westerville North tonight and nearly doubled it in the second, heading into the half ahead 31-17. They never looked back and rolled to this victory in the second half, really pulling away in the fourth.
Ben Roderick (25 points) Nick Nakasian (19 points) and Mitch Kershner (18 points) combined to score 62 points in the big win.
Lincoln Memorial commit Jeremiah Keene led Westerville North with 23 points, while fellow senior Philip Alston contributed 14 points in the loss.
Olentangy Liberty advances to the district finals to take on Hilliard Davidson on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Columbus Convention Center.
Despite missing his first couple of three-pointers and going scoreless until the 2:25 minute of the third quarter, Hilliard Davidson sixth-man Caleb Stimmel never quit shooting tonight. Knocking down four triples in the last ten minutes of play, including the game-winner, Stimmel’s perimeter presence helped the Wildcats take down Olentangy 57-55 in a classic tournament game.
With the game being within five or less points all night, we were poised for an excellent finish. Dominating the game inside, Hilliard Davidson’s Gage Keys made his presence felt early, scoring 11 points in the first half.
However, Ohio Dominican commit Sean Marks was excellent for the Braves. After Marks answered a three from Jacob Drees to tie us back at 30 late in the third, Olentangy took a 32-30 lead with 3:25 left in the quarter following a transition lay-in from senior Alex Sieve.
With Davidson trailing one towards the end of the third, Stimmel hit a huge three to end the quarter, sending them into the fourth ahead 40-38 and with all of the momentum.
Opening the final frame with a three, Stimmel pushed the Hilliard Davidson lead to 43-38 and ignited the crowd. However, Sieve answered with a huge and-one to cut the deficit back down to two for the Braves.
After a transition score from senior Luke Riedel, Olentangy went ahead 49-47, and later pushed it to 53-50 after two at the line from Marks.
Answering a with a huge and-one, Davidson’s Christian Gillilan tied the game back at 53-53 with 1:09 left to go.
Answering with two big free-throws to go-ahead 55-53, Olentangy senior Caleb Steele put the Braves in good shape with 30 seconds to play.
Unfortunately, the hot shooting of Stimmel killed the Braves one last time, as he knocked down the go-ahead triple with seven seconds to go, putting the Wildcats ahead 56-55.
Marks lost the ball inside on the next possession, and the Braves fouled Stimmel with one second to go. After making the first, he missed the second and the desperation heave from Olentangy was no good.
Leading the Braves with 20 points, Marks was excellent tonight, scoring from all three-levels and consistently getting his teammates involved. While it’s sad to see Sean’s career come to an end, we will be watching him closely as he begins his career at Ohio Dominican next fall.
Keys led Hilliard Davidson with 16 and was dominant in the paint all night. Stimmel scored 13 on four triples, and Drees finished with 11 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and two blocks for the Wildcats.
Hilliard Davidson advances to the district finals to take on Olentangy Liberty on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Columbus Convention Center.
Jayden Boyden scored 20 points and Fisher Catholic blew past Newark Catholic in the second half to power its way to the district finals. Newark Catholic senior forward Heath Jeffries led the Green Wave with 15 points.
Fisher Catholic advances to the district finals to take on Berne Union on Saturday at Ohio Dominican at 1 p.m.
Berne Union advanced to its first district final in more than a decade (maybe ever?) in nail-biting fashion against Shekinah Christian. Junior guard Chase McCartney returned to the lineup for the Rockets, which made a huge difference and ultimately helped Berne Union pull off the big win.
Berne Union advances to the district finals to take on Fisher Catholic on Saturday at Ohio Dominican at 1 p.m. This will be the third matchup between the two MSL-Cardinal rivals, who split the regular season series, each winning at home.