The atmosphere moments after the Dublin Coffman High School boys basketball team's OCC-Central Division game against visiting Upper Arlington last Friday was everything you'd expect in a matchup that decided a league championship.

The atmosphere moments after the Dublin Coffman High School boys basketball team's OCC-Central Division game against visiting Upper Arlington last Friday was everything you'd expect in a matchup that decided a league championship.

The victorious players ran out onto the floor to celebrate as a joyous chant of "O-C-C, O-C-C" broke out among their fans, while the opposing players bowed their heads and slowly walked off the floor.

Unfortunately, the Shamrocks were the ones who were disheartened, left to hope for another chance at the Golden Bears.

UA defeated Coffman 65-62 to sweep the season series with the Shamrocks and earn the OCC-Central championship outright, but the teams could meet again March 6 in a Division I district semifinal at the Fairgrounds Coliseum.

"Upper Arlington is a great team," said senior guard Conner Viers, who led the Shamrocks with 21 points. "It would be great if we can play them again at the Coliseum. Hopefully, the third time would be the charm for us."

The Shamrocks, who won the OCC-Central last season, also had lost to UA on Jan. 15, falling 64-58, and finished 12-2 in the OCC-Central to place second behind UA (14-0). The OCC title is UA's first since 1996.

Seeded fifth in the Division I district tournament, Coffman opened postseason play last Tuesday against Westland, an OCC-Central opponent it had defeated 81-45 on Dec. 11 and 82-41 on Jan. 26.

The winner advanced to play Briggs or Logan in the second round at 8 p.m. Friday at Jonathan Alder.

Briggs took a 9-11 mark and victories in three of its previous four outings into its tournament opener. Logan was 5-14 entering the tournament.

"You always expect the unexpected in the tournament," coach Jamey Collins said. "There's always a game where you say, 'I wouldn't have expected that.' There's a lot of good teams and good talent this year. This could be the year all the top teams make it or a year where others get through. You never know."

Fourth-seeded UA had a bye in the first round and plays Whetstone or Pickerington Central in the second round Friday.

Victories by the Shamrocks and Golden Bears in the first two rounds would set up a third meeting.

The first two meetings followed a similar script. They featured great starts and big halftime leads by UA and inspired play and furious rallies in the second half by Coffman.

"We've done this a couple of times now, where we didn't come out ready to play," Collins said. "We got away with it a few times, but they out-executed us 100 percent."

Coffman trailed 43-23 with 5 minutes, 18 seconds to play in the third quarter and cut its deficit to 50-36 by the end of the period. Led by Viers, who scored 12 points in the fourth quarter, the Shamrocks continued their charge in the final quarter, cutting their deficit to three points when guard Kyle Molock made a free throw with 8.5 seconds left.

UA then turned the ball over on the ensuing inbounds pass, giving Coffman the ball back with 7.5 seconds left. However, Molock missed a pair of 3-point shots, including one from the top of the key as the horn sounded, allowing the Bears to hold on for the victory.

"I don't want to say a lot about us not being ready because that is not giving (Upper Arlington) credit," Collins said. "They out-executed us. When they needed it, they hit shots. And as frustrating as that can be, you have to give them credit."

•The girls team lost to Jerome 52-47 on Feb. 18 in the first round of the Division I district tournament. The contest marked the first meeting between the programs.

Seeded 12th, the Shamrocks trailed 16-4 after the first quarter. Coffman cut its deficit to 35-32 by the end of the third quarter, but the Celtics made enough plays down the stretch to stave off the Shamrocks' rally.

"When you play a crosstown rival school and you know who you are playing, sometimes you think it will be easier than it really will be," coach Bryan Patton said. "(Jerome) came out and took a 16-4 lead on us and it showed they were definitely ready to play. We came back, but were never able to get over the hump."

Coffman concluded the season with a 38-36 win over Hilliard Davidson last Saturday. With the win, the Shamrocks finished 10-4 in the OCC-Central and forged a tie with Davidson for second in the league behind champion UA (13-1).


At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Coffman boys and girls basketball teams:

BOYS

Feb. 17 -- Defeated Pickerington Central 68-37. Michael Green scored 14 points, Christian Heine scored 12 and Kyle Molock 11.

*Last Friday -- Lost to Upper Arlington 65-62. The Golden Bears clinched the OCC-Central title outright. Conner Viers scored 21 points.

Last Tuesday -- Played Westland in first round of Division I district tournament. Winner plays Briggs or Logan in the second round at 8 p.m. Friday at Jonathan Alder. The winner of that contest advances to a district semifinal, where it likely would face fourth-seeded Upper Arlington at 10 a.m. March 6 at the Fairgrounds Coliseum. Coffman is the fifth seed.

Of note: The Shamrocks were 16-3 overall before last Tuesday and finished 12-2 (second) in the OCC.

GIRLS

Feb. 18 -- Lost to Dublin Jerome 52-47 in first round of Division I district tournament. The Shamrocks trailed 16-4 after the first quarter. Meredith Stranges scored 19 points.

*Last Saturday -- Def. Hilliard Davidson 38-36. Stranges scored 15 points and Lindsey Zitzke scored 10.

Of note: The Shamrocks finished 14-7 overall and 10-4 (tied for second) in the OCC-Central.

*OCC-Central game