COLUMBUS, Ohio -- When he stepped on the floor facing a 41-34 deficit heading into the fourth quarter of Friday's Division III district final, Harvest Prep senior guard CJ Anthony shook his head as if he was saying there was no chance his career was ending in the next eight minutes.
The Harvest Prep legend added another moment to an endless reel of prestige when he powered the Warriors to a 15-6 fourth quarter to eek by Worthington Christian, 49-47.
With the ball in his hands with just seven seconds remaining, Anthony made a winning play, forcing a foul on a three-point field goal with just 0.7 seconds remaining.
The senior guard calmly hit two of three free throws, sinking Worthington Christian's chances of winning its first district title in three years. To add insult to injury, Anthony even snatched the ensuing inbounds pass, all but slamming the door shut on a legendary career in the Central District where Anthony has won 97 games and lost just 12.
While Friday's performance wasn't his most efficiency, Anthony would not be denied. Helping Harvest Prep overcome a 17-4 first quarter deficit where he went the entire period without a field goal, the area's all-time leading scorer woke up in a major way to end the first half.
Helping trim the deficit to three points in the second quarter, Anthony began to impose his wall, attacking relentlessly off the drive.
Trailing 28-23 at the half, Harvest Prep began the second half with a furious rally. Taking a momentary 34-32 lead, Worthington Christian responded with a 9-0 run to end the period, as the play of sophomore guard DJ Moore shined to push the Warrior lead to 41-34.
In the final frame, Harvest Prep went on a 9-2 lead as two free throws from Anthony tied the game at 43 with 5:19 to go.
Worthington Christian quickly took the lead back on a crafty score from Moore, however, Harvest Prep did not trail for long as a transition bucket from Malachi Henry tied the game once more at 45 with 4:37 remaining.
Less than a minute later, Worthington Christian took the lead once more on an impressive athletic finish from Tyler Kindberg to take a 47-45 lead with 3:40 to go.
Unfortunately for the No. 2 Warriors, they would not score again.
After a few tough possessions that resulted in either a turnover or forced shot, Harvest Prep struck gold in the form of a Mario Davis layup that tied the game at 47 with 1:56 remaining.
Worthington Christian was unable to convert on its next trip down the floor, allowing Harvest Prep to hold for the final shot with more than a minute left on the clock.
Taking two timeouts to draw up a sideline out of bounds play, Harvest Prep went to Anthony for the final shot. Using a hesi dribble move to get Kindberg off his feet, Anthony drew a foul on the final shot, going to the line for three with 0.7 seconds to go.
Knocking down two of three attempts and stealing the ensuing inbounds pass, Anthony led Harvest Prep to its third-straight district title and trip to the Athens regional.
The Harvest Prep senior had a rather tough evening, scoring 23 points with the majority of which coming at the line.
For Worthington Christian, senior guard Derrick Hardin, Kindberg and Moore each finished in double figures in a strong showing for the Warriors. Going scoreless in the final three minutes proved to be the final nail in the coffin for a Worthington Christian team that led for a great majority of Friday's nightcap at Ohio Dominican.