WESTERVILLE, Ohio -- While every other area game was postponed or cancelled due to inclement weather, that did not stop Canal Winchester and Westerville North from playing, as a 12:30 p.m. tip helped the OCC-Capital foes get a game in.
Canal Winchester remained hot, winning their seventh game in nine tries in a 62-54 road win at Westerville North.
Canal Winchester (10-6, 8-3) controlled from the opening tip, using a 15-11 first quarter and ensuing 12-2 run to lead by as many as 14 points in the second quarter.
Westerville North (8-8, 5-5) struck back with a 7-0 run to end the first half, trimming the deficit to 27-20 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Canal began to open the game up as the Indians got hot from three to take a 43-33 lead into the final frame. From that point forward, it was all Indians as Westerville North got no closer than four points, never being able to tie or take the lead. With one of its top leading scorers in Noah Lawrence out on Monday, North struggled to score consistently in the game.
For Canal, its scoring came from all over, as senior guards Kevian Poindexter and Anthony Milner combined for 35 points. Poindexter added 10 rebounds, impressive considering his 5-foot-10 stature. Junior big man Andrew Miles added 12 points and nine rebounds, while freshman Cortez Freeman added most of his 11 points in the second half.
North was led by junior forward Caleb Iheukwu, who put down two impressive dunks and finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Junior guard Andrew Scurlock pitched in 11 points off the bench, as no other Warriors player added more than seven points.
Canal will be busy this week with five games in a span of six days, as they’ll head to Zanesville on Tuesday, before hosting Westerville South and Teays Valley on Wednesday and Friday, then rounding out the week with a road matchup at Delaware Hayes on Feb. 20. With Westerville South’s COVID-19 shutdowns delaying the OCC season, the Indians will round out their conference slate with a rare game that’ll take place after its first tournament game (Feb. 23) against Westerville South on Feb. 27.
Westerville North will be just as busy, as they’ll play on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday this week. The Warriors will take on Worthington Kilbourne on Saturday, a must win game for the Wolves who could guarantee an OCC title with a win.
Kevian Poindexter (5’10 PG / Canal Winchester / 2021): The leading scorer on the Canal roster, Poindexter is an absolute bucket who plays with elite energy and effort. Despite being the smallest player on the floor, Poindexter finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two steals. The senior has elite quickness and speed in the open floor, as he took two steals and finished on the other end of the floor. We like how unselfish Poindexter is, as he made the correct reads on offense and helped set his teammates up for scores. If you’re looking for a two-way guard who will defend with passion and get you buckets, Poindexter is a guy to put on your radar.
Caleb Iheukwu (6’5 WF / Westerville North / 2022): Iheukwu is one of the longest players in the area, as the 6-foot-5 wing is a defensive nightmare that can guard multiple positions. While Ihekwu is raw offensively, he makes his impact with second chance boards and in transition where he’s a strong finisher. Iheukwu is a relentless finisher inside and seemed to get stronger as the game went on Monday. Finishing with 21 points and 10 rebounds, Iheukwu put it all together in a really strong performance for the junior. Breaking out this year and leading North in scoring, the junior wing is one of the best athletes in the OCC and will be a big piece for a Warriors team that could really blossom next season.
Andrew Miles (6’7 PF / Canal Winchester / 2022): The 6-foot-7 Miles was the best prospect on the floor on Monday as his intriguing length, finishing ability and post skill stood out. Miles keeps the ball high inside, is a big threat to rebound the ball on both ends and offers intriguing defensive versatility, as he spent much of the first half defending point guards on the perimeter. Miles is slim, mobile and has a classic post game where he can finish over either shoulder. Miles had a strong showing, finishing with 11 points, nine rebounds and two blocks. As he adds weight and gets stronger, Miles is a late blooming post player who offers great impact on both ends of the floor.
Anthony Milner (6’1 G / Canal Winchester / 2021): On a young team that did not return much of any production from last year’s squad, Milner has been relied upon heavily for leadership this season. He has performed excellently in that role, as he had another strong performance on Monday to help the Indians win another important league game. Milner is a talented scorer that can get to the basket at will, as he finished with 17 points and was a perfect 6-for-6 at the free throw line. The senior pitched in three assists and two steals, making an impact on both ends of the floor. Poindexter and Milner set the tone with their effort and toughness on defense, which seems to trickle down to the rest of the roster. Canal would not be in a position to still possibly tie for an OCC title without the contributions of Milner, as his two-way toughness has had a major impact this season.
Semaj Council (6’2 G / Westerville North / 2023): Council is a big guard who has a very confident game. The sophomore got to the line at will on Monday, using his big body to get into the lane and create contact. He knocked a corner three in the third and showed the ability to create offense whenever he wanted off the bounce. Council is the nephew of the late Henry Smith, aka ‘Coach Bob,,’ who is revered in Ohio basketball circles.
Cortez Freeman (6’2 WG / Canal Winchester / 2024): Freeman is one of few freshmen in the OCC making a major impact, as he is just a few decimals away from being the Indians’ leading scorer on the season. The 6-foot-2 wing guard is a highly confident freshman with a really smooth game. Freeman has a high IQ, really knows how to weave his way through traffic to the rim and has a reliable outside jumper to help him stretch the floor. We are really impressed with Freeman’s level of poise and comfort on the floor, as he played flawlessly within Canal’s offense, delivering the correct passes and using the threat of his flashing ability to open up looks for his teammates on the perimeter.
Andrew Scurlock (6’3 G / Westerville North / 2022): Coming off the bench and finishing with 11 points, Scurlock had a strong showing for the Warriors. The 6-foot-3 junior knocked down two three-point jumpers and had two others finishes near the rim. On a Warriors team stock full of young talent, Scurlock is a player that we got our eyes on for the first time on Monday, as we were impressed with what he gave North in limited minutes off the bench. Monday’s outing tied a career-high in points for Scurlock, who will be relied upon more heavily with the absence of Noah Lawrence.