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Tuesday's upsets prove that Division I is still wide open

By Zach Fleer, 01/10/18, 12:15PM EST


Olentangy knocked off AP #1 Upper Arlington on Tuesday

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Parity in sports is a beautiful thing. For enthusiasts that like to see diversity among the top of the standings, Division I in Central Ohio hasn't always been the best area for that. In the last five district tournaments alone, three programs (Pickerington Central, Upper Arlington, Northland) have dominated, winning 10 of the 19 possible district titles.

As new waves of talent move into the area, programs on each side of the outerbelt have benefited. While Pickerington has been a hot bed for high-end talent over the last few years, especially with North becoming the area's best team this season and Central leading all area programs with four district titles since 2013, other parts of town have been just as hot.

Going into Tuesday's loaded slate, the usual powers remained at the top. Upper Arlington entered a road matchup at Olentangy undefeated at 10-0 and ranked No. 1 in the latest Associated Press Division I basketball poll. 

Pickerington Central came in with momentum at 6-3 and ranked No. 4 in the latest 270 Hoops Division I power rankings before a home matchup against unranked Westerville South.

Despite boasting multiple Division I signees and prospects on both rosters, Upper Arlington and Pickerington Central went down on Tuesday to underdog opponents in the OCC-Buckeye division.

Olentangy and Westerville South hardly have any players above 6-foot-3, and to date, neither program has a player with a full-ride basketball scholarship at any level. Both matchups seemed highly unlikely.

It didn't matter.

Olentangy relied on a game-high 18 points from junior guard Sean Marks, who has been a hero as of late for the Braves. Marks outscored Upper Arlington himself in the fourth quarter, going for 10 points in the period as Olentangy went on an 18-9 rally in the final eight minutes to pull away for a massive 68-60 win over what was considered the top team in the state.

Without a player taller than 6-foot, Westerville South took care of business at Pickerington Central in a shocking 54-52 victory for the Wildcats. Relying on yet another stud junior guard from the OCC-Buckeye division, Westerville South got a game-winning bucket from Jordan McMillian with 4.7 seconds remaining to upset a Pickerington Central team that had three players on the floor with Division I offers.

Tuesday's upset specials showed that it doesn't matter how many stars are next to your name, how many offers you have or how tall your front line is - anybody can win on any given night, especially in Central Ohio this season. 

Tuesday's Top Performers

  • Jerome Hunter (6'7 Sr. F, Pickerington North) scored a career-high 48 points as Pickerington North survived a triple overtime thriller at Dublin Coffman. Hunter added 15 rebounds in the win.
  • Taevion Kinsey (6'5 Sr. G, Eastmoor) went for a career-high 32 points in a win over Marion-Frankin.
  • Julius Brown (5'11 Sr. G, Westerville North) went for 28 points in a road win at Marysville. Brown, the top-ranked unsigned point guard in the area, added five rebounds, four steals and three assists, while managing zero turnovers. When Brown is on the floor and healthy, Westerville North can play with just about anyone.

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