COLUMBUS, Ohio -- For the first time since 2015, Harvest Prep will play for a state championship.
Using a crucial 9-1 run in the final two minutes of Thursday's Division III state semifinal against Purcell Marian, Harvest Prep edged out the Cavaliers to come away with a 48-41 victory.
While it appeared Purcell Marian was poised to make its final run trailing 39-38 with 2:04 to go, Harvest Prep saved its best for last. Holding the Cavaliers without a field goal for from the 3:14 mark until there was three seconds remaining in the game, Harvest Prep's 9-1 run in crunch time made all the difference.
While star junior guard CJ Anthony powered the vast majority of the Warriors' offense, it was senior reserve forward Raymond Robertson who stepped up the most in the run. While two free throws from Purcell senior Javonte Lyons trimmed the HP lead to a single point with two minutes remaining, Robertson struck back with a clutch three 32 seconds later, giving Harvest Prep some breathing room with a 42-38 lead.
Despite Purcell star senior Alex Dotson knocking down one of two free throws on the following trip, which were his first points of the game, Harvest Prep got another clutch score from Robertson, who streaked to the basket to extend the Warrior lead to 44-39 with 58 seconds remaining.
Purcell did not score again until the game was already decided with three second remaining, as Harvest Prep advances to the Division III state championship after passing a major test against a talented Cavalier squad.
Anthony led the Warriors with 17 points as Harvest Prep overcame a 13-9 deficit after a quarter of play. Anthony scored four key points in an 8-3 run in the final five minutes of the first half which tied the game at 20 at the break.
Anthony's pull up jumper 44 seconds into the third quarter helped Harvest Prep take its first lead since 6:37 in the first quarter, a lead the Warriors did not relinquish the rest of the way.
Anthony, the Division III state player of the year, hit 6-of-15 shots from the floor and had a few important transition finishes in the fourth quarter which helped Harvest Prep maintain its lead. The junior guard plays with great toughness and stayed out of foul trouble after picking up his second foul early on in the second quarter.
Robertson added eight points, all of which in the final nine minutes of the contest. Each Robertson bucket came at important points in the game, as Harvest Prep badly needed someone to step up outside of Anthony. Senior guard Brandon Beavers added seven points, while senior Soul Hines pitched in five points, including a clutch three early on in the fourth quarter which extended Harvest Prep's lead to 35-31 after it appeared Purcell was on the verge of taking back the lead.
Senior forwards Andrew Tate and Elijah Glenn each added four points, as Glenn battled foul trouble for stretches in the second half. Tate's energy and effort on the offensive glass made a difference, as he had three of the Warriors' 12 offensive rebounds on the afternoon.
For Purcell, Lyons was the only consistent scorer in Thursday's game, as he finished with a team-high 15 points on an efficient 6-of-10 shooting. Dotson, the district player of the year in Cincinnati, had a rough showing, finishing with three points and not logging a field goal until there were three seconds remaining.
Senior post Bryan Warah added nine points and seven rebounds, while no other player finished with more than five points. After Purcell abused Harvest Prep with nine offensive rebounds in the first half, the faucet was turned off in the final 16 minutes, as the Cavaliers logged just one more rebound on the offensive end for the duration of the game.
Purcell shot 43.6 percent from the field and 20 percent from three, while being out-rebounded 29-23 and finishing with just four team assists. Purcell had eight rebounds in the second half, as Harvest Prep established a rhythm and never looked back.
Harvest Prep knocked down three triples in the second half, while enjoying a 15-8 advantage on the glass in the final two quarters.
Taking down a tough Purcell team that won 24 of its last 26 games, Harvest Prep advances to the Division III state championship on Saturday at 10:45 a.m. at Value City Arena on the campus of The Ohio State University.
The Warriors will take on the winner of Lutheran East and Oregon Cardinal Stritch. If Harvest Prep can cut down the nets on Saturday, it will be the first time since 1998 that a Division III program in Central Ohio won a state championship.
8:00 - HP 0, PM 0
6:37 - HP 2, PM 0 - Glenn rebound and score
6:17 - HP 2, PM 2 - Baldock mid range two
5:03 - HP 2, PM 5 - Baldock 3
4:24 - HP 2, PM 7 - Lyons inside score
3:56 - HP 4, PM 7 - Glenn off reb, score
3:29 - HP 6, PM 7 - Tate transition
3:03 - HP 6, PM 9 - Lyons off reb, And-1 score
1:31 - HP 6, PM 11 - Warah off glass
1:00 - HP 6, PM 13 - Lyons off reb, putback
:41.8 - HP 9, PM 13 - Duncan 3
8:00 - PM 13, HP 9
6:17 - PM 13, HP 10 - Anthony FT
5:45 - PM 15, HP 10 - Warrah off reb, putback
5:24 - PM 15, HP 12 - Anthony inside score
5:03 - PM 17, HP 12 - Warah And-1
4:50 - PM 17, HP 15 - Beavers 3
4:09 - PM 17, HP 18 - Anthony FTs
3:54 - PM 20, HP 18 - Hoover 3
3:36 - PM 20, HP 20 - Anthony inside score
'20 PG CJ Anthony: 8pts
'19 PF Elijah Glenn: 4pts, 4reb, 2ast
'19 PG Brandon Beavers: 3pts, 2reb
'19 G Avonti Duncan: 3pts
'19 WF Andrew Tate: 2pts, 3reb
'19 PF Bryan Warah: 6pts, 4reb (3 off)
'19 PF Javonta Lyons: 6pts, 3reb (2 off)
'20 G Jared Baldock: 5pts
'21 G Zach Hoover: 3pts
8:00 - PM 20, HP 20
7:16 - PM 20, HP 22 - Anthony pull up
6:46 - PM 20, HP 24 - Tate tip in
6:26 - PM 22, HP 24 - Garrett tip in
6:13 - PM 22, HP 26 - Hines off reb, put back
4:38 - PM 22, HP 29 - Anthony 3
4:19 - PM 24, HP 29 - Lyons inside score
3:40 - PM 26, HP 29 - Jefferson inside finish
1:17 - PM 28, HP 29 - PM inside score
1:07 - PM 28, HP 32 - Robertson And-1
:45.3 - PM 29, HP 32 - Warah FT
8:00 - HP 32, PM 29
7:22 - HP 32, PM 31 - Warah score
6:33 - HP 35, PM 31 - Hines 3
5:55 - HP 35, PM 33 - Lyons off glass
4:00 - HP 37, PM 33 - Anthony transition
3:14 - HP 37, PM 36 - Lyons 3
2:24 - HP 39, PM 36 - Anthony transition score
2:04 - HP 39, PM 38 - Lyons FTs
1:28 - HP 42, PM 38 - Robertson 3
1:11 - HP 42, PM 39 - Dotson FT
:58 - HP 44, PM 39 - Robertson inside
:27.8 - HP 46, PM 39 - Beavers FTs
:10.1 - HP 48, PM 39 - Beavers FTs
:3.4 - HP 48, PM 41 - Dotson score
Date: March 27 and 28, 2019
Time: 6:30 - 9:30 PM
Location: Olentangy Orange High School