COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Taking in two CCL versus OCC showdowns on Saturday afternoon, we watched Pickerington North pick up a double overtime win over St. Charles before racing over to Worthington Kilbourne to check out the Wolves on senior night against Bishop Watterson.
In the first game, it was a three-pointer from Jerry Saunders at the end of regulation to tie it coupled with 28 points from Casey George which propelled Pickerington North to a 64-61 win at home.
In what was a game of runs, the Panthers ended the first on a 9-0 spurt to take a 20-14 lead into the second, however St. Charles never flinched.
Behind the play of junior guard Derrick James, who was excellent all afternoon, the Cardinals answered with a 12-2 run of their own to close the second quarter and take a 30-29 lead into halftime.
Pickerington North finally regained the lead late in the third as they put together a 7-0 run to increase the margin to 40-36 with 3:02 left in the frame.
St. Charles ate this punch as well, however, as James went on his own 5-0 run to end the third quarter and give St. Charles a 41-40 lead heading into the final eight minutes.
While a three from Ryan Utt put the Cardinals up 50-41 with 4:15 to go, George refused to go out lightly.
Nailing his second three in a two-minute span, George trimmed the deficit to just 53-51 with 1:01 left on the clock.
After St. Charles hit a pair of free throws to increase the lead to 57-54 with eight seconds to go, Pickerington North ran a beautiful inbound set to open up Saunders for a deep, contested three which he buried at the buzzer to send the game to overtime.
After neither team scored in the first overtime due to Pickerington North holding the ball for most of the extra period, they traded blows in the fourth and Chase Walker tied it at 61 for St. Charles with less than 10 seconds to go.
George then raced down the floor, was fouled on a triple with .02 seconds left, made all three shots and sent the Panthers home victorious.
George and Saunders were excellent in the win for Pickerington North, while James and Walker both shined for St. Charles.
The second game of the day was played much slower as Worthington Kilbourne survived a late run from Bishop Watterson to take down the Eagles 45-40 on senior night.
While Worthington Kilbourne led 31-17 late in third, Bishop Watterson put together a 5-0 run to end the frame followed up a 6-0 run midway through the fourth to cut the lead to 36-33 with 4:38 to go.
While the Eagles got as close as one, stellar free throw shooting from Worthington Kilbourne paired with continued offensive struggles from Bishop Watterson helped the Wolves come out on top.
Senior Ian Schupp impressed for Worthington Kilbourne in the win while Travis Mecklenburg had a decent showing as well.
Casey George (6'0 PG / Pickerington North / 2021): Man, I missed watching Casey George play basketball. Doing what he has done all season for Pickerington North on Saturday, George dropped 28 points to lead the Panthers to a win. George is a physical, high IQ guard who plays at a great pace and doesn't make many mistakes. Continuing to show off his improving strength, he made excellent use of his body inside to create space for tough finished. George also hit a pair of three's off the dribble and converted a short corner jumper from the mid-range area. The senior is a hard-nosed defender on the other end of the floor as well as despite not being the quickest, George has enough foot speed to hold his own and certainly won't be pushed around by any guards. An excellent leader who plays with a ton of emotion, we were glad to get our eyes back on George on Saturday.
Derrick James (5'9 PG / St. Charles / 2022): James is another guard who we love to watch and Saturday was no different as he battled with George and Pickerington North's tough guards all afternoon and did all he could to try and lead St. Charles to victory. A dynamic ball handler with excellent end-to-end speed, James got inside for some crafty finishes, got his teammates involved and got things going from beyond the arc against Pickerington North. James is also a very talented defender despite being a little undersized as he has very active hands, quick feet and overall a great motor on that end. While his height may be deceiving, don't look past James as he is one of the best pound for pound guards anywhere in the area.
Jerry Saunders (6'1 WG / Pickerington North / 2022): Another extremely talented Pickerington North guard, Saunders turned in an impressive 19 point performance against St. Charles and saved the day with a huge three to send it to overtime. Saunders has good size on the wing, is a capable ball handler and plays with a high IQ. He nailed three triples on Saturday, had a couple of tough finishes through contact and got involved on the defensive side of the ball. After taking a step up last year and playing a key role for Pickerington North, Saunders is one of the Panthers top guys this season and is consistently playing like it every night.
Chase Walker (6'8 C / St. Charles / 2023): Doing some work on the inside on Saturday, Walker turned in an impressive showing against Pickerington North. Using his size to his advantage, he got a ton of good looks inside and was fouled on multiple occasions where he converted at a high rate at the free throw line. Walker is a really tough matchup for any team as you usually have to double team him in order to slow him down but he is the best passing big man in the area who always finds his teammates in the right spot when he attracts defensive attention. College coaches should continue to keep an eye on Walker as he will be a coveted prospect if he can continue to shed weight and get into better shape, which we are confident he can do.
Ian Schupp (6'5 WF / Worthington Kilbourne / 2021): One of the only players who really caught our eye in Worthington Kilbourne's win over Bishop Watterson, the senior continued his stellar season with a 15 point showing to lead the Wolves. Schupp is a force inside as he can really move guys around and create clean looks inside. He is uber athletic and moves well also as he can more than hold his own on the defensive perimeter and interior. Schupp is an intriguing college prospect to keep an eye on as he would really be deadly if he can add a consistent jump shot to his arsenal. We are excited to see what new heights he can lead Worthington Kilbourne to in the playoffs as they are enjoying their best season in school history thanks large in part to the play of Schupp.