PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- The second installment of this season’s Battle for the 256 gave us just as great of a game as the first. Despite Pickerington Central being without senior transfers Jay Rodgers and Sam Towns this time around, they still came out victorious, taking down Reynoldsburg 56-50.
Reynoldsburg had no answer for Pickerington Central senior Javohn Garcia all night and it was evident from the opening tip. Finishing with 25 points to go along with 12 rebounds, four assists and four steals, Javohn was in attack mode from the very first play.
However, the very first play swung all of the momentum in favor of Reynoldsburg.
Driving down the right side and looking as if he was getting ready to finish a tough layup, Reynoldsburg senior Xavier Prince rose up and threw down a monster two-handed slam, giving the Raiders a quick advantage and tons of energy.
With the game tied at six midway through the first, Pickerington Central used a quick 8-2 run to end the quarter to take a 14-8 lead into the second quarter. Senior big Coleton Landis had an excellent first quarter down low, setting the tone for the game early on.
Pickerington Central used an and-one from Garcia to extend their lead to 17-12 midway through the second, but the Raiders responded immediately.
After five quick points from senior Ben Fort, junior wing Sean Moore knocked down two free throws to cap a 7-0 run and give the Raiders a 19-17 lead with two minutes left in the half.
After this run, Garcia converted an and-one to give the Tigers a 20-19 lead at the half.
With most of the third playing back-and-forth, Pickerington Central took complete control late in the quarter.
With the game tied at 28, the Tigers sparked a 7-0 run of their own. After a lay-in and an alley-oop slam from Garcia, junior Tahleik Walker hit his only three of the game, increasing the Tiger lead to 35-28 with 50 seconds left in the quarter.
They carried this momentum over to the final quarter, using another 7-0 run to cap off a 15-2 stretch that created all of the separation in this one. After a big three from senior Jaidon Lipscomb, the Tigers forced a Reynoldsburg timeout leading 42-30 with 5:36 to go.
The Raiders would not shy away, scoring several quick baskets to cut the deficit to as little as four points, but Pickerington Central ultimately had an answer, as they did all night.
That answer? Javohn Garcia. Knocking down all but one of his attempts at the free throw line to wrap it up, Garcia made sure that he did everything he could to keep his team on top.
Reynoldsburg has to be devastated after this loss, as they have now came up just short of taking down the mighty Tigers twice this season. Fort led them with 17 points, followed up by Moore with 10 and senior Sahmi Willoughby with eight points and 12 rebounds.
They fall to 14-4 with the loss.
For Pickerington Central, Garcia led them with 25 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and four steals. If you are a low or mid-major Division I program in need of an elite guard who can score at will, take a look at Garcia immediately. For more on Javohn, check out our unsigned senior spotlight on him.
Outside of his performance, Landis also scored 12 points and sophomore Garner Wallace had another solid outing of 12 as well.
The Tigers move to 17-1 with the win and are clicking on all cylinders right now.