COLUMBUS, Ohio -- It's theeeeee most wonderful time of the year. Eight more tickets were punched to the Division I district finals on Wednesday. Let's take a deep dive into the action across the area.
Led behind the stellar play of senior lead guard Keaton Norris and his game-high 24 points, Hilliard Bradley beat an upset-minded Westerville South 41-37.
On a night where made shots were a struggle for both teams, Norris was the lone exception and capped off his tremendous performance by scoring all of Bradley's 13 fourth-quarter points.
Despite their offensive struggles, South did a strong job to match Bradley's physicality and limited the Jaguars supporting cast. After a back-and-forth third quarter, the Wildcats trailed by one as they went into the final period.
That's when Norris went from great to elite as he scored seven quick points to give Bradley a small cushion.
South would hang tight and continued to cut Bradley's lead to one or two possessions, but Norris would not let the Wildcats get any closer as he consistently converted at the free throw line, where he scored his final six points to secure the Jaguars win.
In addition to his 24 points, Norris also had a team-high three assists, tied team-high six rebounds and two steals.
Keaton's younger brother, freshman Cade Norris, added ten points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals.
South was led by senior Jaiden Guice and his 13 points, yet only two of those came in the second half as Guice was limited with four fouls.
Fellow senior Will Ortiz had the difficult task of defending Keaton, but still made him earn each basket. Ortiz finished with seven points and led the Wildcats with two assists.
Hilliard Bradley advances to the district finals to take on No. 6 Pickerington Central on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Pickerington Central advances to the district finals to take on No. 3 Hilliard Bradley on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Second-seeded Westerville Central survived a late push from 25th-seeded Hilliard Davidson, winning Wednesday night’s district semifinal battle 44-39.
The Warhawks senior trio of Quincy Clark, Tasos Cook, and Landon Tillman combined for 35 points in the victory. Westerville Central proved they are poised to make a deep tournament run as they went 8-8 from the free throw line and locked down on defense in the final few minutes when the game was on the line.
The win was also head coach Kevin Martin’s 200th career victory in his 13th year overall, third as the leader of the Warhawks.
Westerville Central advances to the district finals where they will host Pickerington North on Saturday, March 6th at 4 p.m.
Pickerington North advances to the district finals to take on No. 2 Westerville Central on Saturday at 4 p.m.
Gahanna Lincoln advances to the district finals to take on No. 10 Reynoldsburg on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
Reynoldsburg advances to the district finals to take on No. 1 Gahanna Lincoln on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
Olentangy Liberty advances to the district finals to take on No. 13 Newark on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
Death. Taxes. Newark in March.
The Wildcats did what they tend to do almost every single year and advanced to the district finals by providing the upset of the tournament. Using a major third quarter, Newark held off Thomas Worthington and upset the defending district champions.
Newark advances to the district finals to take on No. 5 Olentangy Liberty on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.