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Ajay Sheldon's big fourth quarter powers Dublin Coffman over Upper Arlington

By Zach Fleer, 01/10/20, 9:30PM EST


Dublin Coffman sophomore Ajay Sheldon powered the Rocks to a huge rivalry win

DUBLIN, Ohio -- The Sheldon's have scored plenty of buckets inside Rock Arena. While Dublin Coffman all-time great Jacy Sheldon was a 2,000 point scorer for the Rocks' girls program, her younger brother Ajay Sheldon got his first taste of the big time on Friday.

Going for a team-high 19 points and hitting two big-time threes in the fourth quarter, Sheldon powered Dublin Coffman (9-4, 4-1) to a much-needed rivalry win over Upper Arlington (5-6, 3-2). 

With Upper Arlington senior Max Buckley setting the world ablaze with his six threes and career-high 24 points, the Bear senior struck gold a few minutes into the fourth quarter. Drilling his fifth three and being fouled on the play, Buckley's four-point play gave Upper Arlington its first lead of the game with 5:49 to go.

This was where Sheldon entered himself into the game. Responding with two big triples, Sheldon's latter of the two came on a cold blooded pull up from a few behind the volleyball line which gave Coffman its final lead of the game at 55-52 with 3:45 to go.

From that point forward, Upper Arlington never came closer than four points, as Sheldon's three big steals in the final frame limited any type of rally from the struggling Bears. Scoring 11 of his 19 in the second half, Sheldon, combined with senior Keaton Turner and junior Nash Hostetler gave the Rocks the offensive outburst it needed to put away a Golden Bears team that was awoken in the second half.

While the second quarter was a bit of an eyesore with both teams combining for 12 total points and Coffman leading 27-14 at the break, it seemed like the first team to hit 40 might win the game. That proved to be far from the truth in the final 16 minutes, as the teams combined for 76 points in the second half. 

The key to Upper Arlington's rally was the high octane scoring of Buckley, as the 6-foot-1 senior went absolutely crazy from behind the three-point line. Coming off screens and burying triples off movement all night, Buckley hit five threes in the second half alone, scoring a career-high 24 points. Buckley's ability to hit shots off movement was extremely impressive, as he faced tight off-ball pressure all night and showed big-time confidence.

The scrappy play of the Golden Bears was nearly enough to get the job done, however, the three-point marksmanship of Sheldon and Turner in the Rocks' 9-3 backbreaking fourth quarter run.

Sheldon hit five threes, a few of which from NBA range to finish with 19 points. The sophomore was a pest on defense, coming up with four steals and causing havoc against Upper Arlington's ball handlers both on and off the ball.

Turner had a rather difficult night, as Upper Arlington's Geoffrey Schoeny and Fred Wilkes took turns defending him and forced him into tough shots. The senior finished with 17 points, six rebounds and four assists, going a perfect 6-for-6 at the free-throw line.

Hostetler started off hot and hit three triples to score 11 of his 13 points in the first half. We saw the emergence of 6-foot-5 intriguing freshman Gavin Headings of Coffman, as he came off the bench and finished with six points and 10 rebounds. Headings is a lengthy and wiry wing who can handle, pass and shoot, as he was a great boost off the bench for the Rocks.

For Upper Arlington, Buckley's 24 points were a career-high, as he made it rain from behind the arc and hit six threes off movement. Sophomore Quinn Corna finished with 10 points and four rebounds, while no other Golden Bear added more than eight points. Senior David Robbins had an inspiring effort for Upper Arlington, adding a game-high 10 rebounds and playing tough team defense all night.

With a big win under its belt, Dublin Coffman will hit the road and pay a visit to Toledo Scott on Saturday before resuming OCC-Central play next Friday against Hilliard Davidson.

Upper Arlington will look to bounce back and end its current three-game losing streak on Tuesday against Bishop Hartley. The Golden Bears have another winnable matchup next Friday against Central Crossing to begin the back half of OCC play. 

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