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OCC Weekly: A dive inside of the OCC

By Chintoo Deora, 01/13/22, 10:45AM EST

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A look inside basketball in the Ohio Capital Conference

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The last week in the OCC provided some great games and performances. In this article, I will recap the last week around the OCC and preview the games ahead.

On Saturday, the OCC went 4-1 against the Columbus City League with Olentangy Orange, New Albany, Pickerington North, and Hilliard Bradley all picking up wins. 

There are seven players who average above 20 points per game in conference play. Ajay Sheldon from Dublin Coffman tops the list with 29 ppg. Olentangy’s Ethan Smith is behind him at 23 ppg and Quinn Corna leads Upper Arlington with 22 ppg. Derrick James (Canal Winchester) and Jesse Burris (Deleware Hayes) both sit at third with 21.5 ppg. Dior Conners from Pickerington North is in fifth with 20.5 ppg. Newark’s Grant Burkholder rounds out the list with 20.2 ppg.  

Westerville South is the only remaining undefeated team in central Ohio with a record of 11-0. 

I also want to highlight some notable performances from the last week of games. Ajay Sheldon had 69 points over two games on Friday and Saturday. From Friday’s games: Grant Burkholder had 28 points and Dior Conners had 34 points in their team’s wins. On Saturday, Drey Carter dropped 32 points to keep Westerville South perfect. He has been the leader for the Wildcats on their undefeated run so far. 

Buckeye Division

Newark’s big win over Pickerington Central early in the year could prove to be very important as Wildcats hold a tie breaker over the Tigers. Newark is 11-2 while Central is 9-1 to lead the Buckeye division. Pick Central picked up a massive win over Gahanna last Saturday to become the new #1 in 270 Hoops’ latest power rankings. Newark moved up a spot to #7 after wins over Groveport, Mount Vernon, and Olentangy Berlin. Reynoldsburg has a 7-3 record after a 45-38 win on the road at Dublin Coffman behind Noah Smith’s 15 points. Central Crossing is 6-4 and is led by Sohn McGee’s 15.7 points per game. Groveport Madison and Lancaster are both 5-7 and share last place in the division. Overall, the Buckeye has proven to be tough with the bottom two teams only being two games under .500. 

Capital Division

Westerville South remained undefeated after wins over Westerville Central and Franklin Heights. The Cats have the 5th hardest strength of schedule in Division 1 and come in at #3 in the latest 270 Hoops power rankings. Of South’s remaining 11 games, they have already beaten six of those teams once this year. It will be interesting to see who can slow down Drey Carter and Westerville South. Westerville North is second in the division with a record of 8-3 after they beat Worthington Kilbourne 56-34. North is on a four-game winning streak and will look to stay hot. Delaware Hayes is 8-4 and third in the Capital but has suffered back-to-back losses against Olentangy Berlin and Canal Winchester. Worthington Kilbourne is 5-3 with their last win coming over Franklin Heights, 75-53, on January 7th. Big Walnut and Canal Winchester are both 4-6 and share fifth place in the division. 

Cardinal Division

Dublin Jerome tops the Cardinal division with a 9-2 record which is good for fifth in the latest 270 Hoops power rankings. They moved up one spot after beating Olentangy and St. Mary’s Memorial this past weekend, but will likely drop after falling to Olentangy Orange on Tuesday.Hilliard Darby is three games behind Jerome with a 6-5 record after Cam Gilkerson dropped 14 points in their 52-34 win over Central Crossing. Thomas Worthington is 4-5 and on a three-game skid with their last win coming over Wadsworth on December 27th. 

Central Division

The Central division has four teams in the top 10 of the latest 270 Hoops power rankings. Upper Arlington (10-2) dropped to #6 in the power rankings after losing back-to-back games against Dublin Coffman and Pickerington North. The Bears have missed some key players in both of those games due to injury and are still one of the top teams in the OCC when fully healthy. Hilliard Bradley, Hilliard Davidson, and Dublin Coffman are #8, #9, and #10 respectively in the power rankings. Bradley is 9-3 and on a 7 game win streak dating back to December 19th. Davidson is 8-3 after a commanding 61-29 win over Marysville behind 21 points from Daniel Neidert. Coffman is 6-4 but has dropped back-to-back games versus Africentric and Reynoldsburg. Upper Arlington, Hilliard Davidson and Dublin Coffman are all tied atop the league with a 3-1 record in league play. Olentangy Liberty is 5-6 overall but 2-2 in the division, with those wins coming over both Hilliard Davidson and Hilliard Bradley. Bradley, despite being ranked in the top 10 in the area, is fifth in the league in divisional standings at 1-3, with its only win coming over 0-4 Orange, who registered a top five win over Dublin Jerome on Tuesday. The OCC-Central only has one team with a record under .500 which shows that every divisional game this year will be a dog fight. 

Ohio Division

Pickerington North and Gahanna Lincoln are tied in the division with a league record of 4-0. The Panthers are 9-1 and coming off a great win over Upper Arlington on Tuesday. Gahanna enters at 9-2, dropping two of their last three games against Pickerington Central and Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary. Gahanna dropped to #3 and North moved up to #4 in the updated 270 Hoops power rankings, as these two teams will battle for first place in the league on Friday at Gahanna. New Albany has a record of 8-3 after their 52-43 win over Lancaster where Justin Perry dropped 27 points. Grove City and Westerville Central both have 5 wins this year. 

Looking ahead...

There are games on all four days this weekend with big matchups and big-time events. 

On Friday many teams will look to jump others in the divisional standings. The headliner of the night is Pickerington North against Gahanna where two top teams in the state will square off. Dublin Jerome will travel to Hilliard Darby as the top two teams in the Cardinal division will battle. Hilliard Bradley will host Dublin Coffman and Hilliard Davidson will host Upper Arlington. 

There are also two events happening with games Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Flyin’ to the Hoop in Dayton features some top teams around the country as well as OCC teams such as Pickerington North, Pickerington Central, and Gahanna. The Panthers will play Huber Heights Wayne, the Tigers will play Garfield Heights, and the Lions will play Brush. These three teams have dominated OCC play so far this season and will look to prove themselves against other top teams in Ohio. Battle in the 614 will take place at Ohio Dominican University where OCC teams: Olentangy Orange, Dublin Jerome, Hilliard Davidson, Dublin Coffman, and Westerville Central will play in games that look to be really good. I personally will be in attendance to see Coffman and Westerville Central play on Monday. 

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