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Central Ohio Middle School Fall League - Championship Day

By Mark Francis, 10/11/22, 10:45AM EDT

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - - The Central Ohio Fall League, powered by Nova Village, had its final games on Saturday morning and it was another exhibition between some of the best young talent in the area. The future of Central Ohio gathered at Reynoldsburg - Summit Campus to showcase their skills and win a Fall League title. There was a classic, double-overtime ballgame that determined who went to the championship game and young stars that shined, check out what happened on Saturday morning and what teams won a Fall League Championship.

In the first games of the morning on the 7th and 8th grade side, Duke took down NC State behind the sharpshooting and playmaking ability of Remy Trautner, as the guard was able to help stretch the lead for his team and they never looked back. Virginia Tech topped Notre Dame to advance in the playoffs and take on Duke in the second game of the consolation round. In a total team effort, Duke easily defeated Notre Dame by a score of 61-28 to win the consolation championship bracket. 

 

The Stumph brothers, Big Walnut Middle School representatives, ripped three after three as they battled with a highly athletic and super talented Florida State opponent, beating them by a score of 53-45 to continue their march to a fall league championship. Meanwhile, an undermanned Louisville team was beaten by Virigina 30-18 to advance, although Louisville would not be done for the day just yet. Next, Luca Filia led his North Carolina team to an easy win over Wake Forest which set them up for a clash with the Georgia Tech team that shot the lights out against Florida State. 

 

Action continued with North Carolina taking down Georgia Tech in another lopsided affair, winning 55-30 to advance to the championship game. In the other semi-final game, Louisville had a double-overtime thriller against a really talented and together Clemson squad. After Travis Woltz sent the game to overtime, the contest ended after Eli Jessup hit the sudden death shot to give his Louisville team the 34-32 victory. 

 

With a Fall League championship on the line in the 7th and 8th grade division, North Carolina was able to use a hot start to withstand the tenacity and fight of the undermanned Louisville team. Eli Jessup and Kayden Woltz led their team with solid play all afternoon, but it was the skill and energy brought by North Carolina that catapulted them to a 54-20 win and a championship. 

 

Championship game MVP went to Luca Filia, who led his team the entire morning with his vision and the multiple ways he scored. His consistency over the course of five weeks helped his team get into this position and when they had the chance to close the door on the opponent, Filia playmade his way to a title. The lefty was a three-level scorer, splashing deep three’s, knocking in mid-range shots and finishing at the rim with both hands. He got his bigs involved by giving them some nice passes in the paint where they could easily put the ball in the basket. Luca controlled the pace of the game and never gave Louisville a chance to get back into the game once his team built a significant lead. This young man put on a tremendous display of a leadguard while leading his team to a title, proving he’s one of the best guards in his class. 

 

On the 5th and 6th grade side the Ohio State team advanced by defeating a tough Michigan State team. Also, the Pughsley brothers, Da’Loni and Zander led their Illinois team to a rout over opposing Indiana. Da’Loni was especially hot in the first game, draining shots from all over the court while his younger brother Zander took on the task of defending the other team’s best perimeter scorer and made the day tough for him. Their team moved on to the second round of the playoffs where they would take on the Minnesota team that took down Iowa in their first game of the day. 

 

Nothing changed in the second game for the white hot youngsters, they ran through their next opponent setting up a championship game between two unbeaten teams in Illinois and Wisconsin. 

 

When the championship was on the line, it was Zander’s open court speed and ball pressure along with Da’Loni’s smooth shooting and playmaking abilities that allowed Illinois to overcome an early deficit and pick up the win and collect a Fall League championship, winning by a score of 61-39. 

 

Championship game MVP went to Da’Loni Pughsley, who was nothing short of special the entire morning and put the entire gym on notice to one of the next great Central Ohio players. Loni was different with his ability to get a bucket at any time his heart desired, whether it was shooting over the top of his defender or getting to the cup. He drained a triple from the volleyball line in the second game of the morning that sent an excited hush over the crowd because they realized, at that moment, they were watching a young man that is going to be a superstar. Pughsley got after it on the defensive end, defending any and everybody who got their hands on the basketball, guarding the post effectively and shutting down the perimeter. Loni was also one of the most respectful young men in the building, taking time out to speak and thank every person that congratulated him. The Gahanna area is loaded with talent, Pughsley is high on that list.

 

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