COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Central Ohio High School fall league is beginning to hit its stride, with the name of the game this week being pressure, the teams that brought the most defensive pressure prevailed. The young players that took the floor today were focused and ready to get the job done on Sunday. Let’s take a look at the young men that stood out during the third week of the Central Ohio Fall League.
Kevin Gallagher (Grove City): Gallagher had a very effective afternoon on Sunday, making good decisions with basketball in his hands and making some amazing passes as well. The guard played at his own pace and wasn’t able to be sped up by any defender. He used a quick first step to get in the lane almost at will, being able to consistently finish at the rim. His nice and-1 finish helped his team increase and keep their lead. On defense, Gallagher was always in the right spot to force turnovers and contest shots as well. He stayed on the hip of ball handlers and never got blown by. His play during both games helped his team go 2-0 on Sunday afternoon.
Ethan Payne (Northridge): One of the most physical players in the entire building on Sunday, Payne is built like a defensive end and he threw his weight around like one in both games. He was a matchup issue for teams because of the way he was able to swiftly move in the paint. The young man overpowered and shot over smaller players while being too sudden for bigger players. He was money when he was drifting to his left and hitting floaters, and around the rim in general during both games. Payne was one of the more consistent players on Sunday afternoon, helping guide his team to a 2-0 record.
Carter Mallernee (Northridge): Showed that he has range for days in the both games on Sunday afternoon, draining multiple three’s from beyond the college three-point line. He moved well without the ball, finding spaces in the defenses where he would be open. His quick release was key as well, getting his shot off before defenders could get a hand up. Mallernee wasn’t only a shooter, he was able to put the ball on the floor and get to the rim when defenders closed out too hard. His sharpshooting helped his team finish with two victories on the day.
Devin Brown (Olentangy Orange): One of the biggest reasons his team went perfect on the day, Brown showed an ability to run the offense when called upon and made good decisions when the ball was in his hands. He made plays off the dribble for himself and his teammates too, feeding them the ball in spots where they could score and being able to break down defenders on his own. Not only did he control the offense at times, but he also stepped way behind the three-point line and knocked in a couple triples from the college three-point line. Brown was really good in transition, racing past defenders and even throwing down a dunk on the break. A solid showing on Sunday keeps his teams as one of the most dangerous in the building.
Marco Mattucci (New Albany): Marco was solid all afternoon, doing a little bit of everything on the court in route to his team winning both games going away. His length and quick hands on the perimeter made it really difficult for opposing ball handlers, allowing him to get deflections and his team to get in transition. Mattucci got to the rim and had some athletic finishes at the basket. The wing shot the ball efficiently, getting to his spots and rising above defenders to get buckets. He impacted the game on both ends of the floor on Sunday, and along with his team, they showed that they will be tough to beat.
Jay Agrawal (Olentangy): Another lethal shooter that was in the building, always letting it go with confidence and the belief that the ball is going in the basket. His length and quick release gives him the ability to shoot over the defense at any moment. He moved well without the ball and was always ready to shoot when he caught it. Even though he was a sharp shooter, Agrawal did not force bad shots and was unselfish with the basketball. He knocked in a three at the buzzer to tie the game and send it to overtime, ultimately winning the game as well. His shooting was a big part of his taking both games on Sunday.
Ulysses Ponder (Olentangy): The tone setter for his team, Ponder constantly pushed the pace and put stress on the defense with the way he ran the show. He was one of the better rebounding guards during the afternoon, crashing the glass and getting upcourt in a hurry to find teammates for easy scores. Even off made baskets, Ponder still pushed the ball up the court and made smart decisions when he got in the paint. Despite the high speed he played at, Ulysses never got ahead of himself and continued to make crisp passes from wherever he was on the court. The guard scored when he needed to, but he truly controlled both games with his tempo.
Derek Goodman (Olentangy Berlin): Undoubtedly one of the best guards in the area, Goodman and his team have flown under the radar after dropping their first two games two weeks ago. Since that first day, they have been rolling and on Sunday Goodman got them started. He scored the first five points in the opening game to get everything going and did not stop from there. Goodman continued to score on every level, finishing at the rim, draining mid range jumpers and stepping behind the three-point and showing why he’s one of the elite scorers in Central Ohio. He caught an oop to show off some bounce and threw an absolute dime to a cutting teammate in transition. Goodman and his team is clicking right now.
Rohoun Hardy (Africentric): His two dunks in transition turned heads, but how he controlled the paint defensively kept eyes on him this past Sunday. The sophomore showed to be a bouncy athlete that was able to effect shots that were taken around him and really fly in transition. Hardy also put his versatility on display defensively as well with him not only dominating in the lane but also getting out on the perimeter and forcing bad shots.
Luca Filia (Olentangy Berkshire): His back-to-back steals in the opening moments of the first game that lead to points, scoring himself and dishing an assist, got his team off to the races. The pure point guard was always looking to get his team involved, keeping his eyes down court and getting the ball to his guys in easy places to score. Whether it was a sweet upcourt pass for a layup or a nice pass to his big man from a baseline drive, Luca knows how to feed others. When he looked for his own offense, Luca did not settle for jumpers and drove the ball against smaller guards and finished over them.
Jaxon Rollins (Ridgeview MS): Did much of the dirty work for his team in both games, helping them finish unbeaten on the day. Out hustling others for loose balls, getting on the floor and fighting for everything on the court. He kept possessions alive with his offensive rebounding ability, giving his team different chances to score. The young man made plays for himself off the dribble, getting into the paint or creating space for good looks at the basket. Rollins defended at an excellent level as well, guarding full court, staying attached to his man and forcing turnovers from ball handlers as well. His grit and toughness was a key in his team finishing 2-0 on Saturday.
Evan Allgood (Grace Christian): Another excellent week of basketball for one of the best and most consistent point guards in the building. He started off with three three’s in the opening game that helped his team open up a huge lead that they held onto for the remainder of the game. Allgood also showed off his tremendous court vision with a full court bounce pass on the money to a teammate streaking down the court and a laser from an inbounds pass that led to another easy layup. He saw the floor extremely well and played with a pace and never allowed defenders to speed him up. His team is consistently a tough out and Allgood is a big reason for that.
Eli Hatton (Liberty Christian): Possibly the best defender on his team, Hatton was the steady hand on defense for Pitt on Saturday, smothering ball handlers all morning long. His 94-feet aggressive style of defense helped his team build a huge lead they held onto in game 1 and escape in a nail biter in game 2. His active hands made ball handlers pick up their dribble before they wanted and forced turnovers when they drove in his area. The young man picked up multiple steals on the day as well as numerous deflections of the ball. Hatton was also a reliable hand on the offensive side, being able to drive the lane and make plays for teammates without the ball sticking in his hands for too long.
Keegan Tamulonis (Worthington McCord): The big man was a vital piece for his team, despite them dropping both games in the morning. On the defensive end of the court, Tamulonis had a couple of blocks in the opening games and was able to disrupt the offense early in the game. He was able to make a couple plays for himself and his teammates off the dribble, getting into the paint numerous times. Keegan showed a nice handle of the ball for a big man, being able to put pressure on the defense using his size while trying to be physical.
Bryce Sims (Lakeview Junior High): One of the most dynamic young men in the building on Saturday, Sims was a huge reason that his team finished 2-0 on the day. An athletic, slashing wing, Sims got out in transition and lived at the rim, showing off a soft touch around the rim and multiple ways to finish at the basket. He stretched the floor and knocked down perimeter shots consistently when the defense dared him, proving to be a threat at every level on the court. His rebounding was very impressive, attacking the glass on both the defensive and offensive side of the court. Defensively, he got his hand in the middle of things to cause turnovers and get his team out on the break. A breakout day for this young man made his team one to watch out for in the coming weeks.
Drew Harris (Big Walnut MS): He made so many timely plays for his team all morning long, whether it was a great inbound pass to a cutting teammate or a big rebound that led to an easy score, Harris continued to make big time plays for his team as they finished the morning unbeaten. He kept offensive possessions alive for his team with the way he fought for and grabbed offensive boards. He moved well without the ball in his hands, never standing still and continuously cutting to the basket. His layup gave his team the 1-point lead that they ultimately held on to in their first game of the day. He made hustle plays in the second game that helped his team get out in transition for buckets as well.
Michael Sellers Jr. (Olentangy Berlin MS): A versatile young man that displayed his versatility in both games in the morning, with his team coming within one point of going 2-0 on Saturday morning. He punished smaller guards that defended him and blew by the bigs that tried to defend him as well. Sellers had an impressive steal that led to a run out in the first game. On the defensive end of the court, he was able to be effective in guarding multiple players and contesting every shot that went up around him. His physical play was a key to both games, being able to force offensive players into uncomfortable positions on the court. The way he worked on Saturday, his team will be a tough out for any team.