COLUMBUS, Ohio -- It feels like not too long ago when we had a blonde haired killer wearing number 23 dropping 30 balls in the tournament for Upper Arlington.
That was when current Notre Dame junior Dane Goodwin was tearing up Columbus.
There's a new number 23 doing the same thing for the Golden Bears just a few years later, however.
Going off for 32 points on Tuesday night in arguably the most evenly matched game of the entire slate of Division I games on the night, Corna led No. 21 Upper Arlington to a big 59-48 win over No.23 Walnut Ridge in the sectional semifinals.
Despite the Golden Bears falling behind to Walnut Ridge early, it was the play of Corna that charged them for the final three quarters as he did a little bit of everything in the win.
The junior wing had some tough finishes with both hands at the rim, extended his game beyond the three point line on a handful occasions and did an excellent job of getting things going in transition for the Golden Bears.
A player some 270 fans might not be very familiar with, Corna is one of the more intriguing prospects in the 2022 class as he offers great tools on both ends of the floor and plays with a high IQ.
Following the big win, Upper Arlington advances to the sectional finals where they will travel to No.8 Worthington Kilbourne for a big showdown on Friday night.
When Corna and fellow junior Nick Heath catch fire than the Golden Bears can be a very dangerous team, so I wouldn't even consider it a huge upset if they can pull out another big win in the next few days.
While Corna turned in the most impressive performance in the area on Tuesday night, several other players started off tournament play with a bang, so let's take a look at them below.
Brandon McLaughlin (6'8 PF / Heath / 2022): In a dominant showing on Tuesday night, McLaughlin surpassed 1000 career points as he dropped 29 when as No. 4 Heath defeated No. 21 London 73-59. Scoring it in a variety of ways, the 6-foot-8 McLaughlin showed off his big time upside as he connected on three triples, six two-point field goals and went 8-for-10 from the line. McLaughlin possesses great size and length that allows him to be a force on both ends at the high school level and he is continuing to improve his perimeter skill on the offensive end as well. We expect to see McLaughlin and the Bulldogs make a run in the Division II tournament over the next couple of weeks as he is a matchup nightmare for a lot of teams and seems to put the rest of Heath in rhythm.
Javion Williams (6'4 WF / Briggs / 2021): In the final game of his career on Tuesday night, Williams did all he could as he dropped 26 points while #39 Briggs fell to #37 Independence 69-67 in overtime. Putting together a solid career at Briggs where he turned in some big showings in games that we had the pleasure of covering, Williams always seemed to be a surefire bet to snag a double-double every night in City League South play. He was a force inside again against Independence, scoring all of his points off of two-point field goals and free throws while trying to will his team to win. While we are not sure what is in store for Williams moving forward, we were glad to have the pleasure to follow his development at Briggs over the last few seasons.
Keshawn Harris (6'0 PG / Independence / 2021): An extremely hard-working player who has earned everything that has came his way over the last couple of years, Harris scored 24 points and helped Independence pick up their first Division I home playoff win in over 15 years on Tuesday night as the #37 Sixers defeated #39 Briggs 69-67 in overtime. A gritty two-way guard with a high IQ, Harris does an excellent job of creating offense for himself and others and also isn't afraid to defend the other teams best guard. He is the heart and soul of an Independence team who is helping shift the culture of the program in their second year under a new coaching staff and should have small college programs drooling over him. We wish we could watch Harris play for five more years, but we are glad to see that he led Independence to a huge win for the program on Tuesday with everything on the line.
Ryan Paris (6'3 WG / Hilliard Davidson / 2022): Leading Hilliard Davidson with 24 points on Tuesday night, Paris was a huge part of the reason that the #25 Wildcats hit the road and snapped #15 Licking Heights' 18 game win streak with a 75-55 victory. Shooting over 50% from the field in the contest, Paris buried four triples, connected on two field goals from inside the three-point line and went a perfect 8-for-8 from the charity stripe. Paris is a very intriguing prospect to keep an eye on in the 2022 class as he has added a lot of size and skill over the last year and really seems to be beginning to come into his own for Hilliard Davidson.
Jack Christian (5'10 G / Marysville / 2021): The all-time leading scorer in program history at Marysville, Christian refused to let his career end early on Tuesday night as he poured in 24 points and the #20 Monarchs took down #33 Groveport Madison 53-48. After being held to just four points in the first half and seeing his team trailing at the break, the senior guard turned it up in the final two quarters. Christian scored nine points in the third and 11 in the final quarter to power the Monarchs to the sectional finals. He showed his experience and poise off in the final frame as he connected on 9-of-10 free throws in the quarter to put the game on ice late. We are excited to see if Christian and fellow senior Garrett Taylor can help Marysville put together a run in the tournament after taking care of business in round one.
Maurice Barnes Jr. (5'11 G / South / 2021): Also going for 24 points on Tuesday night, Barnes helped #9 South pick up their first playoff win after moving back to the Division II tournament as they took down #18 Licking Valley 70-55. Connecting on nine two-point field goals and hitting six of seven shots at the free throw line, Barnes got things going in the middle two quarters and really turned it on in the final frame where he scored 12 points to push South to a win late. While the Bulldogs do not have the firepower this season that they have had over the last few years, they are still a major threat in the Division II tournament as coach Ramon Spears always keeps his guys ready.
Alex Coffey (6'1 WG / Grove City / 2021): Doing all that he could to try and keep his season alive on Tuesday night, Coffey scored a game-high 24 points in the final game of his high school career as #28 Grove City fell to #22 Westerville North 59-50. Getting to the rim with ease in the contest, Coffey snuck by defenders and used both hands and his body to put together some impressive finishes near the rim. He also nailed a big three-pointer to tie the game in the third quarter and showed off his active hands by coming up with several steals on the defensive end that he turned into transition points. If he wants to play at the next level then we hope to see a small college program give Coffey a shot, as he can really play and Muskingum was in the building to watch him on Tuesday.