UPPER ARLINGTON, Ohio -- The 2020-21 COVID-19 high school basketball season has the feel of an AAU tournament with games taking place just days after being scheduled.
Tonight was another example of the innovation of this unpredictable season, as Upper Arlington came fresh out of quarantine and hosted neighborhood rival Wellington in a rare Sunday game in the Central District.
While close for a few minutes, Upper Arlington ran away with the game in the middle quarters, dominating Wellington in a 70-37 victory. The Golden Bears were led by the high volume scoring of junior guard Quinn Corna, who exploded for 29 points in a dominant showing.
Corna and classmate Nick Heath powered the bulk of the Golden Bear offense, combining for 43 points and a barrage of three-point field goals and athletic finishes. Wellington came out in a 2-3 zone which Upper Arlington feasted on, knocking down an array of bombs from three in the first half.
While Wellington got as close as 9-8 midway through the first quarter, Upper Arlington went on a 24-3 run that spanned several minutes and opened the game up.
For Wellington, the Jags were led by 17 points from senior guard Marcus Stewart. No other Jags player added more than six points on Sunday, as Wellington really struggled to knock down three-point shots and were not able to find many high percentage looks around the rim.
Upper Arlington, led primarily by a junior class that went undefeated at the freshman level in 2018-19, showed a ton of chemistry and continuity on Sunday. Corna looked dialed in and confident, putting together arguably the best performance of his career.
Heath is the x-factor for the Golden Bears, as the 6-foot-3 junior is a plus-level athlete that rebounds, passes and shoots it as well as anyone on the roster. In a loaded OCC-Central conference where all six teams have appeared in district finals since 2018, four of which (UA, Hilliard Bradley, Dublin Coffman and Olentangy Liberty) winning district titles since 2017, the Golden Bears will be challenged each night out.
Missing its first weekend of league action due to quarantine, Upper Arlington was cleared to go on Sunday and looked like a team that has not lost a step while off. The Golden Bears will return to the floor on Dec. 29 when they host Newark Catholic and will open up OCC-Central play the day after at home against Olentangy Orange.
For Wellington, the Jags will look to get in the win column on Tuesday when they host Bishop Hartley.
Quinn Corna (6'3 WG / Upper Arlington / 2022): Corna came out smoking out of the gates for Upper Arlington, scoring the Golden Bears' first eight points. The 6-foot-3 guard scored a career-high 29 points, shooting a very high percentage from the field. Corna scored it from three and especially at the rim where he had a couple eye-popping creative finishes. One of the more talented scorers that you can find on the wing in Columbus, Corna kicked off his junior season in a major way on Sunday. We love the quick trigger that Corna has on the perimeter, as he is a bonafide zone killer that can also attack a close out and finish strong through contact. We loved the intensity that Corna brought on the defensive perimeter, as he drew the assignment of Stewart and really made him work for his points on Sunday. Wearing the same number that Upper Arlington's all-time leading scorer Dane Goodwin donned from 2014-18, Corna is the next go-to scorer on the wing for the Golden Bears, as he and his classmates will look to return the program to a district-title competing level once again.
Nick Heath (6'3 WG / Upper Arlington / 2022): Heath is going to be one of the top breakout players in the junior class this season for Upper Arlington. The 6-foot-3 wing is a rapidly improving athlete that had some impressive finishes attacking the rim. Heath is a talented passer with an excellent feel, as he created several opportunities for teammates off the dribble. The 6-foot-3 guard shoots the leather off the ball and has a very versatile offensive game. The Golden Bears continue to pump out big guards with game and Heath is the next one in the line for Upper Arlington. It would be smart for scholarship programs to familiarize themselves with Heath, as he has a game that will translate to the next level. If you're looking for a guy who can really contribute outside of scoring but can also get you a bucket whenever you need it, Heath is that guy.
Marcus Stewart (6'5 WG / Wellington / 2021): High volume shooter that was Wellington's only consistent scoring threat on Sunday. Stewart drew a lot of contact on Sunday and made it to the free-throw line nine times. Knocking down three triples off the dribble, Stewart showed the ability to create his shot and keep defenders off balance. The senior guard has great size on the wing and is a very streaky scorer who can put up points in a hurry. At a school in Wellington where its academics are as good as they come in Ohio, Stewart should be a high priority for high academic programs looking for bigger wing guards who can score it.