COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Tournament time is here! With the Division I sectional semifinals tipping off on Friday, let's take a look at all the action in the area.
Saturday's opening round matchup between No. 7 Thomas Worthington and No. 36 Marion Harding was a dominant team effort by the Cardinals as they ran impeached the Presidents, 59-22.
Marion Harding’s first possession of the game lasted one and half minutes and it became clear that their game plan was to play at a slower tempo. It worked out early on as the game was tied at five with two minutes remaining in the first quarter.
After one, Thomas led 11-7. In order to change the tempo, Thomas opted to apply some full court pressure and they went on to outscore Marion Harding 49-15 over the next three quarters. They led by as much as 37 and initiated a running clock, which is a new feature of the district tournament that was implemented last season.
For Thomas Worthington, junior guard Jalen Sullinger led all scorers with 13 points, while juniors Tyrese Hughey and Omari Effiong combined for 17 points.
Thomas Worthington moves on to play No. 32 Olentangy next Friday at 7 p.m. in the sectional finals.
Keaton Turner did what he does tonight, scoring 26 points and leading Dublin Coffman to a blow out win over Hilliard Darby 74-51.
The first half was a completely different story than the final result. Hilliard Darby’s Cam Gilkerson’s mental toughness and positivity on the floor had an effect on his teammates as they brought it to within one midway through the frame, but a 14-9 run to end the quarter helped Dublin Coffman regain control before the the second.
After Gilkerson hit a shot from half court at the halftime buzzer, Darby cut the deficit to just 29-23 heading into the locker room.
It was back and forth to start the second half, but Hilliard Darby’s Nick Skelskey hit back to back triples to trim Coffman’s lead to three midway through the third.
In the end, Dublin Coffman was too much to handle for the Panthers tonight due to some hot shooting from Turner and Nash Hostetler, who combined to hit five triples.
Dublin Coffman moves on to play No. 31 Dublin Jerome next Friday at 7 p.m. in the sectional finals.
In a game that was never really in doubt, Grove City used a hot first quarter to race past Licking County League champion Watkins Memorial, 60-51, ending an 11-game win streak for the Warriors.
Behind a hot shooting night from junior guard Alex Coffey, the Hounds jumped out to a 17-10 lead after a quarter of play. While Watkins Memorial kept the game close due to its scrappy play and toughness, the Warriors could never sustain a run for an extended period of time, as the Hounds struck back at every opportune time.
Coffey's 23 points were a game-high while junior guard Brock Waits added 22 points on 12-of-13 shooting at the free throw line.
For Watkins Memorial, senior forward Marcus Peaks was a force on the interior, finishing with 22 points and 14 rebounds. Senior guard Reece McNeeley finished a breakout season with 13 points, as the senior class for the Warriors goes out with a conference title and decade-high 17 wins.
Grove City moves on to play at No. 13 Westerville Central next Friday at 7 p.m. in the sectional finals. The Greyhounds raced past the Warhawks 52-43 on Nov. 30 in the second game of the season.
The winner of next Friday's sectional final will more than likely match up with No. 3 South, who looks as strong as anyone right now.
In what looked to be one of the best matchups of the day on paper, Canal Winchester and Upper Arlington lived up to the hype as Indians' senior Bilal Sow gave Canal Winchester the lead with a minute left after connecting on a tough floater and then iced the game down the stretch with three big free throws to help push them to a 60-55 home victory.
After an extremely competitive first quarter, Upper Arlington used an early second quarter run capped off by an impressive sequence from sophomore Geoffrey Schoeny where he hit a three, grabbed a steal and dropped a dime in transition to give them a 24-17 lead with 2:55 left in the half.
Canal Winchester did not waver, however, as senior guard Avery Musick scored a big eight points down the stretch in the second quarter to trim the deficit to just 28-27 at halftime.
Senior big man Cole Metzler then stepped up to begin the second half for Canal Winchester, scoring six points to charge an 8-2 run and give them a 35-30 lead with 4:41 left in the third.
Schoeny then stepped up big for Upper Arlington again, going on an 8-0 run by himself in the final four minutes of the third quarter to give his squad a 40-37 lead heading into the final quarter of play. He and fellow sophomore Quinn Corna were excellent for the Golden Bears all night, as they did everything they could down the stretch to try and grab their team a win.
After Abdoullaye Diallo hit a big three in transition to give Canal Winchester a 53-48 lead with 2:32 to go, Upper Arlington responded right away, using a triple from Schoeny and a tough finish from Corna to tie it up at 53 with about 1:15 to go.
This is where Sow took the game over, as the senior forward finished off a tough floater on the very next possession and then nailed three free throws in the final minute to help the Indians seal it late as they shut down Upper Arlington on their final few offensive possessions.
For Upper Arlington, Corna had a game-high 24 points, while Schoeny scored 18 and nobody else tallied more than seven points for the Golden Bears.
For Canal Winchester, Sow led the way with 21 points, while Musick scored 14, Metzler scored 12 and Diallo chipped in with nine of his own.
Canal Winchester moves on to play No. 22 Whitehall next Friday at 7 p.m. in the sectional finals.
Mr. Basketball? It's certainly looking that way for VonCameron Davis.
The City League's all-time leading scorer made more history on Saturday as he hit a career-high eight threes and scored 37 points to power Walnut Ridge over Westland in a blowout win.
The Scots jumped out to a 22-8 lead and never looked back, racing past the Cougars and hitting 12 threes as a team.
Outside of Davis' 37 points, Walnut Ridge was aided by 13 points from senior Kaveon Ross and 10 points from junior Myles Garrett.
For Westland, junior guard Derrick Bogay led all scorers with 12 points.
Walnut Ridge moves on to play No. 49 West next Friday at 7 p.m. in the sectional finals.
The junior class has been the story all season for Olentangy Liberty and that was the case again this afternoon as Ty Foster (24) and Henry Hinkle (18) combined for 42 points in a 86-51 blowout win over Mifflin.
The first quarter was played tight as the Patriots only led by three points heading into the second. Much of that was due to Jakai Watts who finished with 11 and Kenderick Frempong who knocked down two threes in the first half and finished with 10.
A 31-11 second quarter for the Patriots is what allowed them to gain the separation they needed over Mifflin, as they rode this lead to the finish line and cruised to this win in the second half.
While Foster and Wade both had big days for Olentangy Liberty, Cam Barcus also added 10 and Andrew Wade had seven.
Olentangy Liberty moves on to play No. 29 Northland next Friday at 7 p.m in the sectional finals.
In a rematch of their January 11th matchup, Pickerington North got the job done again by proving that they are one of the top teams in the Central District with a victory over Logan 73-46.
Pickerington North's balanced approach resulted in three guys scoring in double figures. Sophomore Dior Conners had a team high 15 points, junior Casey George provided four three pointers and 14 points, and senior Hunter Shedenhelm added 11 points.
Logan’s sophomore Tegan Myers ended today’s bout with a game-high16 points. Senior Justin Wolfe added 10 points.
Pickerington North moves on to play No. 42 Hilliard Davidson next Friday at 7 p.m. in the sectional finals.
Reynoldsburg moves on to play at No. 15 New Albany next Friday at 7 p.m. in the sectional finals.
Gahanna moves on to play No. 46 Independence next Friday at 7 p.m. in the sectional finals.
Behind some knockdown shooting and high-level ball pressure, Pickerington Central rolled over Mount Vernon, defeating the Yellow Jackets 76-48.
While Mount Vernon showed fight early on by taking a 4-2 lead, Pickerington Central quickly answered, dominating the rest of the first half behind five second quarter triples from Tahleik Walker in order to cruise to a comfortable 43-21 lead at the break.
Behind the hot shooting of Walker and Conner Maciag, who combined to knock down 11 triples in the contest, Pickerington Central had no problems in the second half, going on cruise control for the final 16 minutes.
Maciag led the Tigers with 23 points, while Walker added 17, Garner Wallace scored 14 and Sonny Styles chipped in with seven.
For Mount Vernon, Blake Meyer and Connor Fisher each scored 10 a piece in the loss.
Pickerington Central moves on to play No. 37 Licking Heights next Friday at 7 p.m. in the sectional finals at home.
St. Charles starts tournament play out the right way, with a commanding victory over Big Walnut by a score of 49-29.
Big Walnut had a solid start to today’s game by ending the first frame with an 11-10 lead.
After the first quarter, St. Charles controlled the rest of the game with a strong defensive showing. They started the second quarter on an 11-0 run and held Big Walnut to just 18 points in the final three quarters.
Sophomore Jared Frey had a game high in points and rebounds by providing 17 and eight for St. Charles. They also got scoring production from a pair of their seniors, Victor Searls with 11 and Spencer Martin with eight.
Big Walnuts sophomore Jared Kreager added eight points in the loss.
St. Charles moves on to play No. 18 Delaware Hayes next Friday at 7 p.m. in the sectional finals.
After eight days off, Hilliard Bradley needed a little jump start in Saturday afternoon’s sectional semifinal. Sophomore wing AJ Mirgon helped provide that spark, scoring a team-high 18 points as the Jaguars rolled to a 51-26 win over visiting Central Crossing.
After a slow but efficient opening 12 minutes, Hilliard Bradley led the 41st-seeded Comets just 18-15. From that moment on however it was all Jags, as a 12-2 run, capped by a Matt Allocco steal and dunk, gave Bradley a double-digit lead for good. Allocco also finished in double figures with 12 points on the day.
Playing in his final game as a Comet, senior guard Matt Reed had a team-high 12 points, including a couple big and-ones that kept the Comets in the game early on.
Hilliard Bradley moves on to play No. 39 Lancaster next Friday at 7 p.m. in the sectional finals.
Saturday's opening round matchup between #11 Westerville South and #30 Groveport was lopsided as Westerville South raced past Groveport 73-50.
The Wildcats looked like a classic Ed Calo team, as they played sensational half court defense. Tabari Howard and Stephan Saint-Cyr set the tone defensively and everybody else followed.
They forced turnovers and got out in transition often for easy fastbreak opportunities. After leading by 17 at the half, they never looked back, extending their lead to as much as 27 in the third quarter.
For Westerville South, they had four double digit scorers. Howard and Peter Podrozo both scored 15 points while Saint-Cyr had 12 and Drey Carter chipped in 10 points.
For Groveport, Scotty Lomax led with 12 points and Devin Singleton added 11 points.
Westerville South moves on to play No. 26 Briggs next Friday at 7 p.m. in the sectional finals.
While Teays Valley looked to play spoiler against Newark this afternoon and had the deficit cut to just five points after three quarters, the Wildcats used a huge fourth quarter to shut down the Vikings, winning the matchup 61-47.
Teays Valley started out strong with an and-one and a spot up three from the top of the key. They continued this hot streak by getting an assist on every bucket in the quarter.
Newark came into the second with a trap and locked the Vikings down, coming up with five steals in the frame. Newark continued to grow their lead throughout the second half, all started by an insane putback dunk from Bobby Crenshaw.
Teays Valley’s final chance at a comeback was thwarted by a tremendous block from Jaden Woods down the stretch.
Newark moves on to play No. 33 Worthington Kilbourne next Thursday at 7 p.m. in the sectional finals.
Ryan Nutter is built for this. In his first game back after a long bout with mononucleosis, the freshman Nutter's game-winning offensive rebound and free throws with 1.2 seconds to go lifted Dublin Jerome over Olentangy Orange in sectional semifinal play, 45-44.
In a game that Jerome trailed for the majority of the way, the Celtics made their run toward the end of the third quarter. Trailing 32-23 with 3:28 to go in the third, it looked like the game was slipping away from Jerome as Orange continued to flex its muscle behind the play of junior wing Jason Foster.
Responding with an 8-0 run to end the quarter, Jerome launched sophomore wing CC Ezirim at the top of its 1-3-1 press which caused havoc for Orange.
Senior guard Dan Lee rose to the occasion in the midst of a 13-0 run for the Celtics that lasted until the 6:21 mark of the fourth quarter, as a three from the senior extended Jerome's lead to 36-32.
An Ezirim score moments later gave Jerome its largest lead of the game at 43-37 with 3:31 remaining.
This is where things got interesting.
Going the rest of the game without a field goal, Jerome nearly choked the game away as Orange responded with a 7-0 run that culminated with two free throws from Foster with 14 seconds remaining.
On Jerome's final possession, Lee rose up for a game-winning jumper with just a few seconds remaining. As Lee's attempt missed long, Nutter outworked his opponents, coming from the weak side to secure an offensive rebound where he was fouled moments later by Orange senior Ryan Cutler.
With 1.2 ticks left on the clock, Nutter showed ice in his veins, burying the game-tying and game-winning free throws on the road, powering Jerome to its first tournament win since 2016 when the Celtics were a district runner-up.
Dublin Jerome moves on to play the winner of Dublin Coffman and Hilliard Darby next Friday at 7 p.m. in the sectional finals.
If Jerome does indeed match up with Coffman, it'll be the third time in four years that the Celtics take on the Rocks in the sectional round. Losing the last two matchups in 2017 and 2018, Jerome will be looking for revenge following a gutsy win on Saturday that took everything they had.
Holding Westerville North without a field goal for all but two seconds of the first quarter, Marysville used that dominant start and blew the Warriors out in a 29-point win.
Behind 36 combined points from the star junior trio of Jack Christian and Garrett Taylor, Marysville won its first tournament game since the 2015-16 season. Christian lit it up from the perimeter while Taylor was a force on the block, as Marysville got widespread production on Friday.
Seniors Joey Duke and Gabe Schaeffer provided valuable contributions, as Marysville played its most complete game of the season in blasting a Westerville North team that beat them earlier in the year.
Christian led all scorers with 20 points, while Taylor had an extremely efficient showing with 16 points. Duke did a terrific job facilitating by adding a game-high eight assists and Schaeffer was the toughest player on the floor, providing the Monarchs with high-level grit on both ends of the floor.
Westerville North struggled to find offense for the entire game, being held to three points in the first quarter and going 11 minutes without a field goal in the half court. Sophomore guard Noah Lawrence led the Warriors with nine points in a tough loss.
Marysville moves on to play at No. 16 Chillicothe next Friday at 7 p.m. in the sectional finals.
In a game that stayed close for about the first five minutes, South used a big run towards the end of the first to take down Franklin Heights 79-41.
While it was tied 7-7 three minutes in after a free throw from Franklin Heights senior Mo Fofana, South used a 13-0 run to head into the second ahead 20-9 and dominated the entire game after that.
Trevell Adams led the Bulldogs with 17 points, while Taquan Simmington added 11 and Marcus Johnson scored 10.
Fofana led Franklin Heights with 13 points in the loss and Jae’den Johnson scored 12.
South moves on to host No. 48 Whetstone next Friday at 7 p.m. in the sectional finals.