COLUMBUS, Ohio -- We're now at the stage of the season where teams in the OCC are facing each other for the second time. That allows us to get further clarity on who should emerge as league champions and boost their tournament resume.
Let's take a glance at how teams fared this past week and what games to keep an eye on over the next seven days, as every team has two league games.
The Week That Was: Pickerington Central and Reynoldsburg had the most notable action. Both teams had out-of-region games on Monday, as the Tigers grabbed a win against Parkersburg South (WV) while the Raiders had another close defeat, this time to Oak Ridge (FL). They then squared up against one another on Friday, a classic game that saw the Raiders pull away in overtime as they picked up their first win at Central since 2013. It was also a pivotal game that keeps the Raiders in the hunt for the Buckeye division with Newark. Perhaps fatigued from the night before, both teams had let downs on Saturday at the Play By Play Classic as the Tigers were upset by Africentric and the Raiders struggled to keep up with Garfield Heights, one of the best teams in the state. Meanwhile Central Crossing grabbed their first league win with a one-point edge over Groveport Madison and Newark had a double-digit victory against Lancaster.
The Week Ahead: It's a double feature of league games that begin on Tuesday and pick up again on Friday. Tuesday's top game is when Newark hosts Pickerington Central, while Reynoldsburg travels to Groveport and Central Crossing does the same against Lancaster. The game of the week then is Friday when Newark travels to Reynoldsburg, as the Wildcats can potentially wrap up the division with another win against the Raiders. The Tigers take on the Comets and Groveport plays Lancaster. On Saturday, Newark caps a competitive week with a home game against Hilliard Bradley and the Cruisers play Logan.
The Week That Was: Delaware Hayes and Westerville North continue to lead the division and did so as Hayes pulled off another close win against Big Walnut on Friday, while Westerville North had a very comfortable victory on Tuesday against Franklin Heights. Westerville South stays just a game behind those two in the standings after a win against Dublin Scioto. Central Crossing nearly got their first league win, but came a point short to Worthington Kilbourne. In notable non-league action, Hayes had a big second half to defeat Olentangy, North beat Akron Buchtel and Kilbourne became the latest OCC team to fall to DeSales.
The Week Ahead: The Capital also has a double feature of league games that take place on Tuesday and Friday. None bigger than a showdown between Delaware Hayes and Westerville North on Tuesday, as the winner will move into sole possession of first place in the standings. Westerville South can stay in the hunt if they pull off a win against Big Walnut. Worthington Kilbourne will look for revenge against Scioto and Canal Winchester will try again for their first league win when they travel to Franklin Heights. On Friday, the battle of Westerville takes place as South visits North. Hayes will be at Kilbourne, Scioto will be at Canal and Big Walnut visits Franklin Heights. The Golden Eagles follow that game at Bishop Watterson on Saturday, while Scioto and Kilbourne both square against neighborhood rivals, Dublin Coffman and Thomas Worthington, respectively.
The Week That Was: Marysville remains at the top of the division and undefeated in league play after they beat current runner-up, Olentangy. Dublin Jerome defeated Hilliard Darby and Olentangy Berlin did the same against Thomas Worthington. The Monarchs also picked up an impressive win against Upper Arlington on Saturday, while Berlin fell to Bishop Hartley.
The Week Ahead: Another dose of two league games this week that begin on Tuesday and end on Friday. First up, Marysville travels to Darby, Jerome hosts Thomas and Berlin visits cross-town rival Olentangy. The Monarchs will look to stay undefeated in the Cardinal when they host Jerome, Darby visits Berlin and Olentangy travels to Thomas. The Braves then have another cross-town rival match on Saturday, when they welcome Olentangy Liberty.
The Week That Was: It's shaping to be a two-way race between undefeated Olentangy Orange and Hilliard Bradley. The Pioneers picked up a three-point win over rival Olentangy Liberty while the Jaguars overcome a halftime deficit to beat Dublin Coffman. Hilliard Davidson picked up their first league win against Upper Arlington, which was one of three losses for the Golden Bears as they also fell victim to Tri-Valley and Marysville. Liberty and Orange also snagged wins at the Play By Play Classic, as the Patriots beat Imani Christian (PA) and the Pioneers comfortably defeated Walnut Ridge.
The Week Ahead: Similar to the other divisions, it's a double header of league play on Tuesday and Friday in the Central. Coffman will travel to Liberty, Bradley visits UA and Orange hosts Davidson, all on Tuesday. Then on Friday, Coffman takes on Orange, Bradley plays district rival Davidson and Liberty heads to UA. As mentioned in the Buckeye recap, Bradley's visit to Newark on Saturday highlights one of the top games to watch.
The Week That Was: While most divisions have mostly become two-team races, the Ohio continues to be wide open. Grove City is still the standalone leader and picked up an easy win against Westland. Just behind them is New Albany, Westerville Central and Gahanna. The Eagles, winners of eight straight, sandwiched a league win against the Warhawks along with victories against Heath and Independence. Gahanna picked up a two-point victory over Pickerington North, who have lost four straight, three of which are by a combined eight points.
The Week Ahead: We should see some movement in the standings as each team has two league games this week. On Tuesday, Westerville Central visits Pickerington North, Westland hosts Gahanna and New Albany will challenge Grove City with hopes of getting into a first place tie. On Friday, the Eagles will travel to Gahanna, Grove City hosts Westerville Central and Pickerington North takes on Westland. The Lions also are in action on Saturday, an intriguing non-league game against Walnut Ridge.