To say the atmosphere was electric for the Dublin Coffman High School boys basketball team's OCC-Central Division game Feb. 18 at Upper Arlington might be an understatement.

To say the atmosphere was electric for the Dublin Coffman High School boys basketball team's OCC-Central Division game Feb. 18 at Upper Arlington might be an understatement.

The gymnasium was sold out about three hours before the opening tip and hundreds of other tickets were sold to watch a broadcast of the game on a large screen in an auditorium across the hallway. Even the Golden Bears' student section was standing and waving towels during the junior varsity game in anticipation of the varsity contest.

It's unlikely that the Shamrocks will forget the game anytime soon, especially given the fact that they won 55-49 in overtime to earn a share of the OCC-Central championship.

"This was a great experience," said coach Jamey Collins, whose team finished 13-1 in the OCC-Central, tying UA for the title. "I love that our guys got to experience something like this. This is what you picture when you think of high school basketball."

Coffman, which improved to 16-3, handed Upper Arlington its first loss of the season and ended the Bears' 38-game regular-season winning streak. The Shamrocks had lost to UA 53-52 on Jan. 14 in the first round of league play.

"This was great," said guard Christian Heine, who led the Shamrocks with 20 points. "The last two years, the UA game more than any other game has had great atmospheres. They're the loudest games I've played in."

The Shamrocks led much of the game, including 32-24 at halftime. When guard Matt DiThomas scored on a spin-move layup with 6 minutes, 50 seconds to play in the third quarter, Coffman held its largest lead of the contest at 36-24.

However, UA promptly went on an 11-2 run to cut its deficit to 38-35 and kept working until the game was tied at 43 with 3:58 to play.

The game went back and forth for the remainder of regulation. Coffman had a chance for the victory in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter, but Heine's runner in the lane bounced off the rim.

The Shamrocks ratcheted up their defense more in the overtime, forcing the Bears into an 0-for-8 showing in the extra period. The winning points were scored by guard Jason Hall, who tipped in a miss by DiThomas with 1:40 to play to put Coffman ahead 51-49.

"We've been working hard on our defense in practice," said guard Zack Riddle, who scored 14 points. "Coach has wanted us to force the tempo more and get more turnovers. They have a lot of great players, but we wanted to slow them down."

The victory gave Coffman momentum as it headed into the Division I district tournament, where the seventh-seeded Shamrocks played Logan in the first round on Feb. 22. The winner plays St. Charles or Whetstone in the second round at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25, at Hamilton Township.

The second-round winner advances to a district semifinal, where it would play sixth-seeded Walnut Ridge, Grove City or Dresden Tri-Valley on March 5 at the Fairgrounds Coliseum. Walnut Ridge defeated Coffman 51-48 on Jan. 22.

"Having an experience like this helps going into the tournament," Heine said. "This gives us a lot of momentum and a lot of confidence. We expect to have a good tournament run."

•The girls team played Westerville North in the second round of the Division I district tournament on Feb. 23 after opening with a 51-36 win over Lancaster on Feb. 16 to improve to 15-6.

If Coffman advances, it would play second-seeded Northland or Marysville in a district semifinal at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 28, at Olentangy Liberty. The district final will be played March 5 at Liberty.

Northland, ranked ninth in the final state poll, was 18-1 before playing Marysville in the second round Feb. 23. The Vikings' only setback came Feb. 12 when they lost to Africentric 60-52 in the City League championship.

"Northland is a very good team," coach Bryan Patton said. "They're athletic and have nice players who can do things that can cause problems. It would be a great challenge for us. We've played teams that play that style before and we'd have to make the game be at our style and our pace."


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


*Feb. 18 - Defeated Upper Arlington 55-49 (OT)

Feb. 22 - Played Logan in first round of Division I district tournament. Winner plays St. Charles or Whetstone in second round, 8 p.m. Feb. 25 at Hamilton Township. Winner plays in district semifinal, 7 p.m. March 5 at Fairgrounds Coliseum.

Of note: The Shamrocks were 16-3 overall before Feb. 22 and finished 13-1 (tied for first) in the OCC-Central.


Feb. 16 - Def. Lancaster 51-36 in first round of Division I district tournament. Coffman jumped out to a 13-6 lead and pulled away. Meredith Stranges tied her season-high with 21 points and McKenzie Bailey had 10.

Feb. 23 - Played Westerville North in second round. Winner plays Northland or Marysville in district semifinal, 6 p.m. Feb. 28 at Olentangy Liberty. Winner plays in district final, 1 p.m. March 5 at Liberty.

Of note: The Shamrocks were 15-6 overall before Feb. 23.

*OCC-Central game