After watching his team's OCC-Central Division title hopes take a major hit, Dublin Coffman High School boys basketball coach Jamey Collins said the Shamrocks had to put the loss behind them with the Division I district tournament nearing.
Coffman lost to visiting Olentangy Liberty 46-43 on Feb. 8, giving the Patriots sole possession of first place in the league at 12-1 with one game to play. The Shamrocks are second at 11-2.
Liberty won the first meeting 60-51 on Jan. 8 at home.
"We have to move on," Collins said. "We will. There's good lessons in every game and the bottom line is they came up with the ball a little bit more than we did and that's credit to them."
Coffman closes league play Friday, Feb. 15, at Upper Arlington and the Patriots play host to Thomas Worthington that night.
The Shamrocks are seeded seventh in the district tournament and play host to 32nd-seeded Dublin Jerome on Feb. 23. The winner plays 16th-seeded Grove City or 33rd-seeded Hilliard Davidson in the second round Feb. 27.
The rematch against Liberty was close throughout, with the Patriots having the largest lead of the game at 16-8 early in the second quarter.
Coffman guard Seth Fuller's 3-pointer at the second-quarter buzzer tied the game at 25, and the Shamrocks took a 41-38 lead on guard Tyrel Jackson's steal and layup at the third-quarter buzzer.
With Coffman trailing 43-41, forward Jason Hall drove for the potential tying basket. However, he was called for an offensive foul for his fourth foul and the subsequent technical foul was his fifth, meaning disqualification with 1 minute, 59 seconds remaining.
Hall, who leads the team in scoring at 13.4 points per game, scored five points.
The Shamrocks had a chance to tie the game late, but Liberty forward Alex Radkiewicz blocked Fuller's 3-point attempt with 4.4 seconds remaining and guard Josh Morrow's 3-point attempt from 30 feet hit the back of the rim as time expired.
Coffman was outscored 8-2 in the fourth quarter.
"We couldn't really make a shot," said guard Nate Axelrod, who led Coffman with 10 points. "We got some good looks. It was just tough. We still have another regular-season game and then we have the tournament, and the tournament is the only thing that matters to us."
Fuller and Jackson each scored eight points.
Radkiewicz and forward Mike DeLeon each scored nine points to lead Liberty, which outrebounded Coffman 24-14.
"We didn't make enough plays," Collins said. "We couldn't find enough players to make plays. They did a great job coming up with a few more loose balls than we did and when it's a one-possession game that can be the difference."
Coffman girls lose at Liberty
The girls team's hopes of winning an outright OCC-Central title ended after losing at Liberty 46-39 on Feb. 8.
Davidson finished league play at 12-2. Coffman was 11-2 before playing Westland on Feb. 12 in a rescheduled game.
The Shamrocks are seeded fourth in the Division I district tournament and play host to 35th-seeded Marysville in the first round at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16.
Coffman defeated Marysville 55-40 on Dec. 14 and 54-44 on Jan. 25 in OCC-Central play.
The winner plays 24th-seeded Watterson or 38th-seeded Westland in the second round at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, at the home of the highest seed.
The Shamrocks defeated Westland 52-36 on Jan. 4.
"We'll be ready for the tournament," coach Bryan Patton said. "We have some familiar opponents in the first couple of rounds. If Watterson loses to Westland and we beat Marysville, we could play two league opponents in the first two rounds. It's one of those deals where you just have to keep moving forward."
Against Liberty, Coffman trailed by three points midway through the fourth quarter but could not pull even. Guard Kamerine Taylor led the Shamrocks with 15 points.
"It's pretty much about how we've been playing," Patton said.
"We got off to a decent start and then (forward/center) Sade (Olatoye) picked up her second foul about four minutes into the game and they made a little bit of a run and we didn't play very well in the middle quarters."