NEWARK, Ohio -- Central District coaches had to submit their seeds by noon on Saturday, but that didn’t stop Newark from making a big statement win just eight hours later. The Wildcats, led by Kadin Robinson’s game-high 18 points, took down old OCC-Ohio division foe Pickerington Central 66-54 in convincing fashion.
All in all the Wildcats hit 11 threes in the game, but none bigger than the four they connected on during the decisive 26-14 third quarter. Robinson buried three of those, helping push an eight-point halftime lead to 20 at the close of the quarter.
While Newark was in control for most of the game, the Tigers came out of the gates strong, leading 8-5 early on thanks to some strong play from guard Conner Maciag. The senior had 9 of his 13 points in the first half, including knocking down back-to-back triples that gave the Tigers an 18-17 lead midway through the second quarter.
An 8-0 run by the Wildcats gave them the lead for good, pushing the margin to 28-20 at halftime.
As mentioned above, the hot shooting for Newark was a big factor all night long, hitting six threes in the opening two quarters of action. That theme did not change much as play opened in the second half, as Robinson's hot streak combined with the excellent play of senior Jaden Woods made the margin 54-34 after three. Woods was solid in both halves, scoring 11 points in the win.
The Tigers did not go down without a fight, however. Using their length to press Newark, Pickerington Central cut the margin down to 12 midway through the fourth. Sophomore Garner Wallace was instrumental during the run, as the multi-sport standout scored 11 of his team-high 15 points during the final quarter.
Newark was able to hold Pickerington Central at bay over the final four minutes, notching all-time win No. 1939 in the process. While the victory may not be reflected in the tournament draw seeding, the Wildcats sent a clear message: Once again, Jeff Quackenbush and Newark are ready for a long February and March.