After a loss, Dublin Scioto High School boys basketball coach Tony Bisutti isn't hesitant to nit-pick what might have gone awry. But he wasn't about to do any of that after a 54-53 overtime loss to top-ranked Northland in a Division I regional final last Saturday at the Fairgrounds Coliseum.

After a loss, Dublin Scioto High School boys basketball coach Tony Bisutti isn't hesitant to nit-pick what might have gone awry. But he wasn't about to do any of that after a 54-53 overtime loss to top-ranked Northland in a Division I regional final last Saturday at the Fairgrounds Coliseum.

"I don't think they could've played any better or have done anything different," Bisutti said. "You can talk about what went wrong. You do it all the time. But this game was different."

In the end, the Irish couldn't prevent 6-foot-9 Ohio State recruit Jared Sullinger from doing what he does best in making several pivotal plays to lead his team to its first state semifinal appearance.

Sullinger had 17 points and 22 rebounds and played a key role in helping mark the end of an impressive run for nine Scioto seniors who leave with two district championships, 34 consecutive OCC victories and a record of 66-6 in the last three seasons.

"We battled all year and our coach never doubted us," said senior guard David McKinley, whose team finished 24-2 overall and won the OCC-Cardinal Division at 14-0. "We got it to overtime, but we just couldn't pull it out. It was the most fun I've ever had playing on a team and I know a lot of people are going to remember this season forever."

Those memories are sure to include Bradley McDougald's baseline 3-pointer which tied last Saturday's game at 45 with about 5 seconds left. The senior guard scored a career-high 32 points after carrying the load offensively with 21 in a 68-48 win over Cincinnati St. Xavier on March 18 in a regional semifinal and 29 in a 68-52 victory over Newark on March 14 in a district final.

McDougald, a Kansas football recruit, was honorable mention all-state and second-team all-district. He averaged nearly 14 points per game, 4.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists. He also shot 34 percent from 3-point range, 45 percent from the field and 77 percent from the line and was the Player of the Year in the OCC-Cardinal.

It was a shining moment for McDougald, who missed three football games for undisclosed disciplinary reasons.

"I think he wanted to prove something to himself that he could rebound from that," said Bisutti, who earned Coach of the Year honors in the state and district. "We asked him to step up and be that guy in the tournament and he did that."

Scioto, which was sixth in the final state poll, won with defense and held opponents to 42 points per game.

McKinley, a first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district selection who averaged 9.0 points and shot 38.5 percent from 3-point range, was just as solid at guarding the perimeter.

Bisutti described seniors Rainer Duzan (second-team all-league) and Eric Stamets as "X factors" in his defensive scheme.

Although often undersized, seniors Marco St. John (second-team all-league), Deji Olatoye (5.0 rebounds, 59 percent from field) and Tyler Harrell gave the Irish plenty of presence in the post.

Olatoye (Colorado) and Harrell (Iowa) also are Division I football recruits.

"I think for us everything we drew up just panned out right," Bisutti said. "We started out relatively healthy. All the parts were there and when they were assembled and we got the kinks worked out it all just came together."

The only setback during the regular season was to North Canton Hoover 50-48 at the buzzer Dec. 14.

Scioto won 21 in a row after that and finished ahead of Westerville South (12-2), Westerville Central (9-5), Westerville North (7-7), Olentangy Liberty (6-8), Olentangy (5-9), Dublin Jerome (3-11) and Marysville (0-14) in the league.

Seeded second to Northland in the district, the Irish opened the postseason with wins over Briggs (71-43 on Feb. 25), West (88-40 on Feb. 28) and 10th-seeded Reynoldsburg (50-38 on March 7 in a district semifinal).

Only two players are expected to return from this year's roster in sophomore post player Jamare Mills (6-6), who earned a number of minutes, and junior post player Jake Ter Meer (6-7), a transfer who recovered from knee surgery.

The junior varsity was 9-11.

But it will be a while before Bisutti forgets this group.

"Probably the simplest thing I can say is that they enjoyed being around each other," he said.

Scioto's Deji Olatoye looks to protect the ball from Northland's Jared Sullinger last Saturday while looking for an open teammate.

At a glance

•Record: 24-2 overall, 14-0 (first) in OCC-Cardinal

•Seniors lost: Rainer Duzan, Tyler Harrell, Bradley McDougald, David McKinley, Deji Olatoye, Eric Stamets, Marco St. John, Jason Reinick and Destin Thomas

•Key returnees: Jamare Mills and Jake Ter Meer