ATHENS, Ohio -- A scoreless quarter for a team in basketball usually spells trouble for that squad in regards to the outcome of the game. Unless you're Harvest Prep (26-2), that is.
Despite going 0-for-11 from the field in the second quarter of Saturday's regional final with previously undefeated Wheelersburg (26-1), Harvest Prep never lost focus, clinching their second straight trip to the Division III final four with a 52-38 win.
A tough and-one score from Harvest Prep junior CJ Anthony put the Warriors up 2-0 immediately off of the tip, setting the tone for the first. The teams went up-and-down the floor at an extremely fast pace, and a three-pointer from Pirate senior Tanner Holden tied it at 11-11 with 5:01 left in the first.
Locking down Wheelersburg for the remainder of the quarter, the Warriors exploded onto a 10-1 run to end the frame. After a three from Anthony coupled with a triple from senior big man Elijah Glenn, Brandon Beavers hit a tough floater to increase the Warrior lead to 21-11 with two minutes left in the first.
The Pirates mustered a free throw to end the frame, heading into the second down 21-12.
After shooting 9-for-12 in the first, Harvest Prep appeared to be their usual self in this one. The second quarter is where this changed.
With the Warriors electing to hold the ball for two long possessions in the frame, they did not play at their typical pace. They also struggled to hit shots in the quarter, which added up with the stalling to amount a zero point second for them.
Wheelersburg hit several tough shots in the quarter, winning the period 6-0 and heading into the break down just 21-18.
The pace of the game picked up again in the third, as Harvest Prep was adamant on getting the ball out in the open floor.
However, Holden had an excellent quarter, as the Wright State commit scored nine points on three triples in the period. He hit back-to-back three's midway through the frame, going on his own 6-0 run to tie the game at 29 with 3:09 left in the third.
Glenn scored on a tough post score followed by a pair of free throws from Anthony to help Harvest Prep regain the lead at 33-29 with 2:21 left in the third quarter. This score held going into the fourth as neither team scored in the last two minutes of the period.
Anthony began the fourth with a putback followed by a rebound and score from Holden, keeping the margin at four with Harvest Prep ahead 35-31. The Warriors dominated from this point on.
Finding plenty of clean looks around the rim, they exploded onto a 13-1 run to begin the final frame.
After a dime from Anthony on the baseline led to an and-one from senior Andrew Tate, the Warriors led 42-31 with 4:39 to go and looked primed to make another trip back to the final four.
They answered seemingly every Pirate basket after this and hit plenty of big shots at the stripe, helping them take down Wheelersburg for the second straight year and win back-to-back regional finals.
They were led by Anthony with 16 points on a night where they did not put up their typical point total. He was excellent off the drive, constantly getting by his defender. He also finished through traffic with excellence, using his brute strength and bruising frame to bully defenders inside.
Glenn also scored 14 for the Warriors in an impressive offensive showing. Glenn showed great ability as a stretch four, hitting two triples and also showing off a few nice post moves.
Tate also scored nine points, while fellow senior Soul Hines scored seven and Beavers contributed six points to go along with eight rebounds.
For Wheelersburg, Holden finished with 19 points in the final game of his outstanding high school career. The lefty is a true three-level scorer with an outstanding package of moves and great natural feel for the game. We are excited to follow him at Wright State.
Harvest Prep advances to the OHSAA Division III final four where they will take on the winner of Cincinnati Purcell Marian and Anna on Thursday at 12 p.m. at The Schottenstein Center.