RICHWOOD, Ohio -- With his father and North Union head coach Brian Terrill out sick on Tuesday, North Union assistant coach Austin Terrill entered his first game as a head coach on the road at defending Central Buckeye Conference champ London.
The younger Terrill, who is only six years removed from being a player himself for North Union, ended up leading the Wildcats to a huge win on the road. A win which was orchestrated by another member of the Terrill family, senior guard Connor Terrill, whose dribble drive, head fake and assist for Harley Day's game-winning bucket kept North Union unbeaten at 11-0.
The Wildcats have picked up various quality wins this season already, none bigger than its 58-47 win over Marysville on Jan. 4. While the Monarchs are on top of a very weak OCC-Central conference, you rarely ever see Division III teams knocking off possible OCC champions, however, with the way this season has gone, anything is possible and North Union is proving that with each game.
The best team in Union County so far this season, North Union moves the ball with purpose, plays together as a collective unit and are clearly built for pressure-packed situations, as they never panicked despite facing a three-point deficit on the road with a few minutes left on the clock against London on Tuesday.
They also have a few gifted players in junior wing Preston Crabtree and sophomore big man Zach Vernon, a duo that combined for 21 of the Wildcats' 39 points on Tuesday.
North Union could possibly be the top seed in Division III if they are to run the table. The only possible hiccup we forecast is on Friday, Jan. 24 when the Wildcats take on Springfield Northwestern. Outside of Tuesday's one-point win, Northwestern is the only team to give North Union a scare, as the Wildcats held on to defeat them in overtime 60-58 on Dec. 13.
If they can pass that test, however, North Union will have a strong chance to remain perfect and roll to a CBC title in the Mad River division.
Let's now transition and take a look at some of the best matchups in the area on Tuesday.
In a battle between two City League North powers, Beechcroft (7-4, 5-2) proved to be too much for Northland (5-6, 5-2) as the Cougars relied on 23 points from sophomore JJ Simmons to race past the Vikings on the road, 58-53. Beechcroft used a 24-8 first quarter to jump out to a lead that it maintained for the rest of the way.
With its win on Tuesday, Beechcroft created a three-way tie for second place in the City League North with Northland and Linden-McKinley, as all three programs are sitting at 5-2 in league play. For Northland, the Vikings are in unusual territory this late in the season under .500 and losers of five of its last six games.
Eastmoor (7-5, 4-3) got senior guard Julian Binford back from injury on Tuesday (5-7, 3-4) and went on the road and knocked off Africentric in a much-needed win for the Warriors. Senior center Da'Lon Keaton continued a breakout season with 13 points to lead the way. Cali Davis led the Nubians with 16 points.
With senior guard Domenic Farley out with a concussion, Briggs (9-4, 5-2) avoided an upset and held off Marion-Franklin (2-9, 1-6) on the road, 69-64. Five players scored in double figures for the Bruins, led by senior guard Orlando Pratt's 15 points. Dorson Butler led the Red Devils with 16 points in the loss.
Out to its best start in the last decade, Briggs can notch its 10th win of the season on the road at rival West on Friday.
VonCameron Davis did what VonCameron Davis does and went for 31 points, while Kaveon Ross added 29 in Walnut Ridge's blowout win at Independence (1-9, 1-6), 92-62.
The Scots (9-2, 7-0) have won it last four games and will be tested in back-to-back games this weekend against Africentric and Cincinnati Woodward, the latter game at Trent Arena in Kettering for Flyin' To The Hoop.
Linden-McKinley (6-6, 5-2) kept its hope alive for a City League North division title by racing past Whetstone (2-11, 2-5) on Tuesday, 66-42.
The Panthers can force a tie for the divisional lead on Friday at home against North leader Mifflin. The positive for Linden is that they'll get home matchups against Mifflin, Beechcroft and Centennial to end City League North divisional play.
Mifflin hasn't won a share of the City League North division title since 1987. The Punchers are in their best position in decades to win the division, as they are now alone at the top and thanks to City League tie breaker rules, they virtually have a two-game lead over everyone else in the league. Mifflin (9-5, 6-1) took care of business on Tuesday in a home win over International (0-13, 0-7), 77-41.
On Tuesday, three players scored in double figures led by 15 points from Jakai Watts as the Punchers advanced through the first half of league play with only one blemish.
In a battle between two teams with a combined record of 23-1 heading into Tuesday, Chillicothe (12-1) proved to be too much for Fairfield Union (12-1) as the Cavaliers handed the Falcons their first loss on the season.
At 12-1 with its only loss coming to back-to-back defending state champion Cincinnati Moeller, Chillicothe is a major threat in the Central District.
While the Cavaliers only play three teams this season from the area (St. Charles, Upper Arlington and Canal Winchester), they'll likely be a top five seed in the district come tournament time, as they've won all 12 games by double figures this season.
In a matchup between two programs dealing with a ton of inexperience, Bishop Hartley (5-7, 0-4) got the best of Upper Arlington (6-8, 3-2 in overtime, as Alex Blaine and Kylan Kortokrax hit big free throws in the extra period to power the Hawks. The victory also marked win No. 300 for longtime Hartley head coach Randy Kortokrax.
Sophomore Amari Gaston led Hartley with a career-high 17 points. For the Golden Bears, they've now lost four-straight games, while the OCC-Central has lost its second game to D2 CCL competition with Marysville going down at Bishop Watterson last Saturday.
Henry Hinkle went for a career-high 31 points as Olentangy Liberty (8-4, 3-2) raced past Delaware Hayes (6-7, 3-4) on the road, 66-58. Hinkle was a maestro at the free-throw line, going 10-for-11 to power the Patriots to its third-straight road win.
Nate Griggs led the Pacers with 28 points in the loss.
Liberty moves on to a difficult weekend slate with home matchups against rival Olentangy Orange on Friday and defending state champion Harvest Prep on Saturday.
Buckeye Valley (10-1, 5-0) went on the road and took down former MOAC rival River Valley (8-4, 4-3) in a non-conference battle, 73-68. Dylan Thompson hit six threes and had a team-high 19 points as he continued a breakout sophomore season.
For River Valley, the Vikings fought valiantly without its leading scorer Dylan Johnson, who was out with an illness. Junior guard Ethan Bell hit one more three than Thompson and finished with 27 points in the loss.
Buckeye Valley continues to roll with its only loss coming in overtime to a good Bishop Watterson team. The Barons hold the top spot in the MSL-Ohio and could extend its divisional lead to two games on Friday at Whitehall.
In his first season as head coach since coming over from Northmor, Rodney Brown has done a great job with the Vikings as they can pick up another signature win against defending MOAC champ Clear Fork, who they've already beaten once this season, on Friday.
Cooper Davis went for 17 points as Reynoldsburg (8-5, 2-3) picked up a good win over Whitehall (6-5, 4-1). The Raiders will get a big test on Friday when undefeated Gahanna comes to town.
For Whitehall, the Rams can force a tie atop the MSL-Ohio when first place Buckeye Valley pays them a visit on Friday.
Tasos Cook went for 22 points and Westerville Central added another quality win on the road at Groveport. The Warhawks (10-3, 3-2) used a 36-22 second half to pull away from the Cruisers (8-5, 3-2), as juniors Quincy Clark and Landon Tillman also finished in double figures, combining for 24 points.
Tymire Jones led Groveport with 16 points in the loss.
Central has a big league test on the road on Friday at Westerville North while Groveport will host Franklin Heights.
Desmond Watson scored 21 points and DeSales picked up a quality win. Read our scouting report on the game here.
Gavin Foe had a breakout game with 22 points as Johnstown (7-4, 4-2) added a quality road win at Columbus Academy (5-6, 2-3), 58-48. Foe and Caleb Schneider combined for 39 points in the win. For the Vikings, Carter Warstler led all scorers with 18 points.
Johnstown can make things interesting in the LCL on Friday when they travel to unbeaten Heath. For Columbus Academy, the Vikings host Worthington Christian on Friday in a difficult MSL-Ohio showdown.
Carter Jones and Hayden Hankinson combined for 25 points as Centerburg (10-2, 6-1) picked up a great non-conference win over Pleasant (6-8, 2-5). The Trojans are rolling at 10-2 and will be tough to stop in Division III this March.
Vic Searls went for a career-high 28 points as he continues a breakout season in leading St. Charles (8-5, 3-1) to a quality win on the road over Dublin Jerome (5-9, 1-6).
Searls has been a bit of a revelation this season, as his weight loss has turned him into the senior class' most dominant post threat. The Ashland signee took over the game late in the second half and powered the Cardinals to the win.
St. Charles will hit the road and visit Logan on Saturday before hosting Chillicothe in a big-time non-conference matchup on Monday.
For Dublin Jerome, the Celtics continue to skid as they've now lost seven-straight games after a 3-0 start to the year. The Celtics will look to pick up its first win in a month when they host Worthington Kilbourne on Friday.
Tag(s): Home Conferences Central Catholic League DeSales Bishop Hartley St. Charles Columbus City League North Beechcroft Centennial East International Linden Mifflin Northland Whetstone South Africentric Briggs Eastmoor Independence Marion Franklin Walnut Ridge Ohio Capital Conference Buckeye Westerville Central Olentangy Liberty Capital Groveport Cardinal Dublin Jerome Delaware Hayes Central Upper Arlington Ohio Pickerington North Licking County League Granville Johnstown KMAC Centerburg Mid State League Buckeye Fairfield Union Ohio Columbus Academy Whitehall MOAC Buckeye Valley Pleasant River Valley Central Buckeye Conference London North Union Others Chillicothe