COLUMBUS, Ohio -- We bring back Friday Night Predictions as a full slate awaits in Central Ohio. With league action tipping off in the OCC and City League, among other leagues, there is no shortage for great basketball action in Columbus.
A big battle in the OCC-Ohio tips off between Pickerington Central and Reynoldsburg. The Tigers are coming off a huge win at No. 1 Westerville South, which will vault Pickerington Central to the top ranking in the area if they are to win on Friday. Waiting in the wings is a deep and talented No. 5 Reynoldsburg team that has scored by committee this season, with no one player consistently dominating. If senior Reece Strohm can get hot with the rest of the Raiders roster stepping up like they have all season, Reynoldsburg could have a chance to win on the road. If not, look for Pickerington Central to remain unbeaten.
A big game tips off in the OCC-Buckeye at Olentangy Liberty on Friday. The Patriots are looking to notch its first signature win of the year and will have to do it against a Westerville North team that has won seven-straight games. The Warriors have been red-hot behind guards Julius Brown and Jeremiah Keene, who will need to come up big once again on the road. For Liberty to win, it will need big performances from Ethan Novy and Ben Roderick, who have been the Patriots' most reliable scorers this season. Roderick will have a test on his hands with the athletic wings of Westerville North, including seniors Malik Sammons and Austin Bennett. We could see this one going down to the wire.
First place in the City League North is on the line at Northland on Friday. Linden has a huge test on its hands with a Northland team playing great basketball. If the Panthers are to pull the shocker, it will be the first Northland home loss in the City League North in 11 years. With that being said, we see the Vikings cruising to a big league win.
CCL play continues on Friday as Hartley hosts DeSales in a key matchup. In the teams' first matchup last year, DeSales held Hartley to 15 points total, as the Hawks are looking to vastly improve on that. There are a lot of great matchups in this one, including in the post with DeSales' senior center Caden Sanchez and Hartley senior center Grant Smith. On the wings, DeSales senior wing Luke Hippler faces off against Hartley junior wing Garrett Tipton. Two sophomores could make a huge impact in this one as well as DeSales has a good one in Kayin Derden, while Hartley's most improved player has been Morgan Safford. Expect this to be a war.
Delaware Hayes is looking to steal a big one on the road in OCC-Cardinal play, as the No. 15 Pacers head to No. 6 Hilliard Bradley. This game will include a ton of three-point shooting, as both teams have shot the three ball well this year. We love the matchup between Bradley junior Isaiah Speelman and Delaware senior Will Yoakum, who have been two of the area's top scorers this season. If Bradley knocks down outside jumpers and locks up defensively as it has all season, look for the Jaguars to hold Delaware under its average and remain undefeated in league play.
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