GRANDVIEW HEIGHTS, Ohio -- Facing a 36-28 deficit with 5:51 to go and managing just 14 points from second quarter on, Columbus Academy looked dead in the water on the road at Grandview Heights.
In what has been a special season for the first place Vikings, Columbus Academy (14-4, 5-2) rallied back in a major way, ending the game on a massive 20-7 run to pull away for a 48-43 victory against a tough Grandview Heights (11-6, 3-4) squad.
Academy's run was much needed, as the Vikings are a game up on Whitehall in the Mid State League-Ohio, as the Rams are just 3-2 in league play with one of those losses against the Vikings.
Friday's matchup was a tale of two halves, as the first and fourth quarters were entirely different from the middle periods.
While Academy dominated the opening and closing of the game by outscoring Grandview 36-17 in the first and fourth quarters, the Vikings were obliterated in the middle quarters, 32-12.
Jumping out to a 14-6 lead after a quarter of play, Academy's offense completely stalled out for the next 16 minutes. Grandview outscored the Vikings 12-2 in the second quarter, then responded with a 22-point third quarter that broke the game open with the Bobcats holding a 32-26 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Extending its largest lead of the game at eight points with 5:51 to go, Grandview looked ready to roll to a statement win.
The opposite happened, as sloppy play, lack of execution on the boards and poor free throw shooting allowed Academy to get back into the game. Allowing offensive rebounds on missed free throws on two possessions, Grandview could not keep Academy senior Hayden Compton off the glass.
Compton's second crucial board led to a foul moments later, in which the 6-foot-4 senior converted two free throws to tie the game at 37 with 3:48 remaining.
The Vikings struck its biggest blow 93 seconds later when senior Chris Boyle hit his biggest of four threes on Friday. Pulling up for a contested jumper at the top of the key, Boyle buried the shot, giving Academy its first lead since the first half at 42-39 with 2:15 remaining.
Grinding out Grandview with excellent half court defense and clutch free throw shooting in the final two minutes, Academy held its hold of first place in the MSL.
Boyle and Compton were huge in the victory, combining for 31 points, 17 rebounds and three blocks. The Brown football commit Boyle knocked down four threes and cleaned up the defensive glass, while Compton did his damage on the offensive glass, while scoring a few tough buckets around the rim.
Senior guard and Georgetown football commit Dorrian Moultrie played a stellar second half, scoring eight of his 10 points after halftime. Moultrie's defensive efforts helped slow down Collier, who only scored two points after going for 14 in the first half.
While only finishing with four points, junior guard Carter Warstler seemed to give Academy a spark with an acrobatic 'jelly' finish in the midst of the Vikings' major 20-7 run. The star of the first matchup, senior forward Dayln Decree added three points and seven rebounds, as he, Boyle and Compton shut off any second chance opportunities for Grandview.
With just one game remaining in league play, Academy controls its own destiny as Whitehall will come to town next Friday in a game that could decide the MSL-Ohio.
For Grandview, Collier led all scorers with 16 points in the loss. Attacking off the bounce at will in the first half, the 6-foot guard was not as involved in the second half, which led to his lack of production. Junior forward Luke Lachey played a tough game on both ends, adding 10 points, nine rebounds and four blocks.
Senior guard Aaron Cincione pitched in eight points and eight rebounds, nearly all of which in the second half. In a game that featured zero bench points, Grandview got nine combined points from senior Manny Day and junior Lance Trayes to round out its rotation.
Knocked out of contention for a conference title, Grandview could very easily see Academy once again in the Division III district tournament.
Chris Boyle (6'4 WF / Columbus Academy / 2019): The only player on the Academy roster to make a three-point field goal, Boyle was absolutely critical in leading the Vikings over Grandview. Knocking four key threes with a pair in each half, Boyle was excellent in a primetime matchup against Lachey, holding the 6-foot-6 big man to an uncharacteristic 10 point showing. Boyle is a strong wing with broad shoulders and quick feet, as he can elevate for tough rebounds, is a shot blocking threat and is capable of hitting triples off movement. Leading all scorers with 19 points and adding eight rebounds, Boyle was the best player on the floor for most of the night, as Academy needed all 13 of his second half points to complete the run for the win.
Brian Collier (6'0 PG / Grandview Heights / 2020): One of the most improved guards anywhere in the area, Collier sure looked the part in the first half. Dominating the second quarter and helping Grandview establish an early lead, Collier was terrific as a scorer off the bounce. Able to get by defenders and finish through contact at the rim, Collier is a fearless guard who plays with a chip on his shoulder. While he was limited to two points in the second half, where he operated a ton of the time off the ball, Collier was still very impressive as he continues to put together a decorated career for the Bobcats.
Hayden Compton (6'4 WF / Columbus Academy / 2019): While Boyle hit the shots and Moultrie handled the rock, Compton was arguably the MVP in Friday's game. Providing for several critical plays and locking down on the boards, Compton was as clutch as anyone in the fourth quarter. Pulling down two huge offensive rebounds on missed free throws in the final five minutes, Compton's efforts led to five points on those two possessions, which happened to be the margin the Vikings won by. Finishing with 12 points, eight rebounds and a block, Compton gave Academy toughness, energy and heart for 32 minutes. With two glass eaters in Boyle and DeCree already on the roster, Compton's addition only enhances what the Vikings can do on the boards. The 6-foot-4 senior is a powerfully built wing forward with above-average athleticism and stellar toughness.
Luke Lachey (6'6 WF/PF / Grandview Heights / 2020): Lachey is one of the few special athletes in the area that give you a few "WOAH" plays every game. On Friday, it was Lachey's mobility and explosiveness that stood out the most. A broad shouldered super athlete at 6-foot-6, Lachey showed an improved ability to grab rebounds and go, showing off transition handling ability and change of direction capability on the move. The junior forward is a force around the rim, despite his struggles to finish on Friday, as he gets good position and can operate through contact. Sending back any shots near him, Lachey finished with a game-high four blocks, as Academy thought twice about going at him near the basket. With impressive physical tools and an NFL bloodline, Lachey, who is receiving plenty of high Division I attention in football, is one of the most intriguing prospects in Central Ohio. As his perimeter tools continue to evolve, Lachey could be a potential Division I guy on the hardwood if his skill level can get closer to his unreal athleticism for his size and stature. You don't come across many guys at his size that can move the way that Lachey does, which coupled with his consistent productivity, make him one of the toughest covers in the area.