COLUMBUS, Ohio -- After graduating all five starters from last season's team, all of which played a key role in getting them to the state title game in 2019, some people have doubted the new look South Bulldogs this season.
Maurice Barnes Jr. isn't hearing the talk, however.
Exploding for a career-high 33 points on Friday night, Barnes helped will South to a huge win in overtime as the No.9 Bulldogs survived and took down No.10 Granville 75-70 at home.
After being one of the first guys off the bench for South last season, Barnes was ready to step into the starting point guard role for the Bulldogs this season and has been putting together a stellar senior season.
A skilled offensive player, the senior is capable of creating his own shot and making plays for others as he is a talented ball handler who makes the right read in a lot of situations when he doesn't get sped up.
Barnes can get to the rim where he is a tough finisher and can also knock down shots from both the mid-range area and from beyond the arc.
After waiting his turn at South over the last three years, we are glad to see the senior enjoy big time showings like last night.
While the Bulldogs have their hands full in their next game with Des Watson and DeSales, they are very capable of pulling off the upset and making some serious noise in their first season after being moved back down to Division II.
If they can get another big game from Barnes they will be in good hands, as he really helps put their offense in a rhythm when he gets going.
While he had the best individual showing in the area on Friday night, there were several other big time showings in the night's slate of sectional final action, so let's check out some of them below.
Ajay Sheldon (6'1 PG / Dublin Coffman / 2022): Another night, another 30 ball from Sheldon. Dropping 30+ for the fourth time this season on Friday night, Sheldon went for 30 points on the dot as he helped Dublin Coffman survive an upset bid from Olentangy Berlin in a 61-52 victory. Doing what he does best in the contest, Sheldon got it going from deep, scored in transition, finished through contact and got others involved as well. While they were on the brinks of what would have been a big upset on Friday night, Sheldon and Dublin Coffman can really make some noise when they heat up from deep as a team and it all starts with the star junior guard.
Keshawn Harris (6'0 PG / Independence / 2021): Pouring in 29 points on Friday night, Harris was one of the only bright spots for Independence as they were severely overmatched in a sectional final loss to Thomas Worthington. However, Harris proved that he can hang with long, talented and athletic guards by putting together the showing that he did against the Cardinals. Harris is a hard-nosed defender and a talented offensive player who can score it from all three levels and get open shots for teammates at the point guard spot. We are huge believers in Keshawn and know that whoever lands him at the next level will be getting a hard-working, disciplined leader who will do whatever you ask of him. Small college coaches, don't miss the boat on this one!
Tavian James (6'3 WG / Olentangy / 2021): Pouring in 25 points to lead Olentangy on Friday night, James helped the Braves pick up a huge home win over St. Charles in the sectional finals. Doing work from the opening tip, James scored six first quarter points and never slowed down after that. With the game tied at 39 heading into the final frame, the senior willed Olentangy to a win in the final eight minutes as he scored 10 points in the fourth including going a perfect four-for-four at the free throw line. While he is not typically known as a big time scorer, James is clearly capable of being one as he also scored 31 on Thomas Worthington earlier in the season. We will see what he and Olentangy and can do next Wednesday night when they take on Pickerington Central in the district semifinals.
Cortez Freeman (6'2 WG / Canal Winchester / 2024): Turning in yet another big time performance on Friday night, Freeman ended his excellent freshman season in style as he did all he could for Canal Winchester, scoring 24 points in a tough loss to Northland on the road. We have became big fans of Freeman's game ever since watching him at The Intro back in October and are not surprised to see him putting up big time games like this so early in his career. Freeman has good positional size at a young age, is a three level scorer with a high IQ and has impressive athleticism. Keep an eye on him over the next few years as he will blossom into one of the area's top players as an upperclassmen with continued development.
Austin Corley (5'11 G / Olentangy Berlin / 2021): Dropping 24 points on Dublin Coffman on Friday night, Corley left it all on the floor in his final high school game for Olentangy Berlin. Scoring it in a couple of ways, Corley hit shots from the outside and got to the rim along with making a couple of big defensive plays. While his season did not end how he would have liked it to on Friday night, Corley should be very proud of the career he has had as he has been instrumental in helping a new Olentangy Berlin program establish a presence in the OCC for years to come. It takes kids like Corley to do this, as he has always remained bought in, has led his teammates and has reaped the rewards of this as well.
Tag(s): Home Boys Leagues Central Catholic League DeSales Columbus City League North Northland South Independence South Ohio Capital Conference Buckeye Olentangy Capital Canal Winchester Newark Cardinal Dublin Scioto Thomas Worthington Olentangy Berlin Central Dublin Coffman Licking County League Heath