COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Third time's a charm.
Behind a dominant second half, Pickerington Central ended Dublin Coffman's season for the third-straight year in a 58-38 victory at Ohio Dominican.
Despite going into halftime trailing 21-20, Pickerington Central dominated Dublin Coffman in the final 16 minutes, outscoring the Rocks 38-17 after the break.
Pickerington Central junior guard Javohn Garcia was the difference, as he controlled the game on both ends of the floor and found a way to get into the lane at will. Garcia's seven points and four assists in the third quarter led a 16-9 charge, as the Tigers took control of Thursday's game.
Central's pressure defense paid dividends, as the Tigers made it tough for Coffman sophomore point guard Dominiq Penn to get much of anything going, holding the Ohio State target to zero field goals after halftime. When Penn is off, Coffman typically struggles, as that was the case on Thursday.
Going up by as much as 20 points midway through the fourth, Central cruised in fashion, ending the Rocks' tournament hopes on the floor of Ohio Dominican once again.
Garcia led the way for the Tigers with 15 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and two blocks. Having another breakout showing, Garcia was the imposing force for the Tigers, as the junior guard is playing his best basketball at the moment.
The Stony Brook target Garcia made it easy for Central senior forward Adrian Nelson, dishing off to the Detroit Mercy signee on a variety of big slams in the second half. Nelson finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds, as he dominated the glass, limiting Coffman to plenty of one and done possessions.
Sophomore guard Josiah Fulcher added 10 points while senior forward Juan Elmore pitched in eight points off the bench. Senior guard Juan Woods put in productive minutes, adding six points on two three-point field goals, the final one coming within the first minute of the fourth quarter to put the Tigers up 41-30.
Despite only scoring two points, sophomore guard Tahleik Walker was terrific in all other facets of the game, adding three rebounds, four assists and great perimeter defense.
Advancing to the regional final for the second-straight year, Central moves on to play against a tough Hilliard Bradley team that gave the Tigers its last loss on Jan. 27. In that last matchup, Bradley rolled to a 54-33 win on the same floor that Saturday's regional final will be played on. However, Bradley will face a much different Central team this time around.
Winning 10-straight games, Central is clicking on all cylinders, as the Tigers are playing its best basketball of the season. Saturday's regional final will be played at 4 p.m. at ODU.
For Coffman, junior guard Luke Bartemes led the Rocks with 11 points, knocking down three triples. Bartemes was Coffman's only source of offense after halftime, as no other Rocks player scored more than four points after the break.
Senior forward Nick Carlson added 11 points as well, scoring nine of the Rocks' 21 points in the first half. Penn was limited to just six points on two field goals, as Central threw a variety of big, athletic guards at him, which made it difficult for the sophomore to create.
Junior forward Derek Van Vlerah had an all-around productive game, finishing with six points, six rebounds, four assists and three blocks, but went out in the fourth quarter with an apparent leg injury.
Coffman ends its season in a disappointing way after an emphatic district final win over rival Upper Arlington. Returning several key contributors including Penn, Van Vlerah and junior guard Will Hunter, Coffman will be in the mix once again for another district title next season.