WESTERVILLE, Ohio -- In a game that looked to possibly be a bit lopsided on paper heading into it, Westerville North gave it everything they had on Monday night, nearly pulling the biggest upset of the young season before losing control late and falling to crosstown rival Westerville Central 56-51.
Behind a hot start from junior guard Noah Lawrence, Westerville North matched the Warhawks bucket for bucket early on before a buzzer beating three-pointer at the end of the first extended Westerville Central's lead to 18-14.
Slowing down the Warhawk offense and piecing together a 9-2 run, Westerville North captured a 23-20 lead with 3:52 left in the half after a second chance tip in from Caleb Iheukwu.
Closing the half on a quick 7-2 run, Westerville Central knotted things up at 27-27 heading into the locker room for halftime.
Getting contributions from several players in the third quarter, Westerville North established a 44-41 lead after three thanks to their hot shooting and the offensive creation of Lawrence.
While it looked like they may pull off the upset, Westerville Central locked in during the final eight minutes, forcing a handful of turnovers that they turned into a 13-0 run which closed the game for good.
They were led by 19 points from Cook, while Landon Tillman scored 12, Donovan Hunter had 11 and Quincy Clark had 11.
They improve to 2-0 and have their toughest test yet tomorrow night when they take on Thomas Worthington.
For Westerville North, Lawrence led the way with 13 points while Semaj Council scored nine and Camden Ledford scored eight.
They fall to 0-2 after the loss and are back in action on Wednesday when they travel to Wellington.
Landon Tillman (5'11 WG / Westerville Central / 2021): A huge reason that Westerville Central came back in the second half, Tillman had a major impact on both ends of the floor tonight. The senior guard used his good handle and quick first step to get by defenders for a couple of tough finishes inside andshowed off his smooth stroke by hitting catch and shoot triples. His impact was felt equally as much on the defensive end as well as he forced a handful of turnovers and applied consistent pressure to the Westerville North ball handlers, coming up with a big steal and score late in the fourth to tie things up. When Westerville Central gets contributions like they have from Tillman the last two games they are really hard to beat, as he is as quality of a role player as you will find in the area.
Tasos Cook (6'1 WG / Westerville Central / 2021): Continuing to impress after a 27 point showing in his season debut, Cook led all scorers once again tonight. The senior continued to show improvement shooting the ball as he buried two smooth triples, one off the dribble and one off the catch, and also got to the rim for a handful of athletic finishes. For more on Cook, check out our scouting report from Westerville Central's win over Olentangy last Wednesday here.
Noah Lawrence (6'0 PG / Westerville North / 2022): The key that made the Westerville North offense go on Monday night, we were really impressed with the showing that Lawrence put together on that end of the floor. The junior guard hit a tough mid range jumper off the dribble to start the game, buried a three off the catch and used his impressive handle to weave into the lane for several crafty finishes with both hands. Lawrence also showed off his IQ on Monday night by dishing out several assists, showing off great anticipation and putting his teammates in good positions to score. While he is not a lockdown perimeter defender, he is certainly capable of getting the job done on that end, as he came up with a big steal and transition finish late in the game for the Warriors. On a team where he is heavily relied upon to create a lot of offense, we expect Lawrence to piece together a solid junior campaign.
Quincy Clark (6'1 PG / Westerville Central / 2021): While tonight was not the best showing that we have ever seen from Clark, he was still impressive nonetheless. Scoring in multiple ways offensively and getting his teammates involved, Clark finished with 11 points and several assists while also coming up with a couple of steals on the defensive end. For more on one of the best unsigned senior point guards in the state, refer to our scouting report from Westerville Central's win over Olentangy last Wednesday here.
Donovan Hunter (6'7 WF / Westerville Central / 2023): Finishing with 11 points and a handful of rebounds, Hunter showed off more layers to his game tonight. The sophomore stretched the floor by knocking down a catch and shoot triple from the top of the key and also hit a mid-range off the catch from the short corner. With the ability to play inside, handle the ball and hit shots at 6-foot-7, Hunter is an intriguing prospect who you can read more about here.
Camden Ledford (6'4 WF / Westerville North / 2021): Providing Westerville North with great energy and two-way contributions off the bench, Ledford was a big reason the Warriors nearly pulled the upset on Monday. Nailing a three off the catch, hitting two tough fading mid range jumpers and assisting on a couple of buckets, the senior took care of the ball and made the most of his touches. He also cleaned up the glass and played solid team defense, certainly doing his part in trying to secure a big win.
MJ Davis (6'4 WG / Westerville Central / 2021): While he only scored two points on Monday night, Davis made his impact felt as always. The senior banged around inside to create second chances and clean up the defensive glass and forced several big turnovers late in the game to shift the momentum and help the Warhawks take home the win. On a team looking to win championships, you must have guys like Davis, as he is completely bought into his role and always does his part to help contribute to winning.