A fast start led the Gahanna Lincoln High School boys basketball team to a 64-54 victory over Newark in a Division I district final March 9 in the Fairgrounds Coliseum.
The Lions, who beat OCC-Ohio Division-foe Newark 68-57 on Dec. 14 and 68-51 on Feb. 12, built a 17-10 first-quarter lead and never led by fewer than eight throughout the remainder of the game.
The win gave Gahanna its third district title in four seasons and gives the Lions a rematch against another league opponent, Pickerington Central, at 7 p.m. March 14 at the Fairgrounds Coliseum in a regional semifinal.
The Lions improved to 20-5 and Newark finished 17-9.
“What got us out to such a great start was our intensity,” said Gahanna senior guard Aaron Jackson, who had 15 points and four rebounds. “We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy game and that they’d be out to get us. I just think we’re a lot deeper of a team.”
Junior guard Manny Powell scored five points and junior forward Javon Bess had four in the opening quarter, and the Lions increased their lead to 22-10 with 5:20 to go in the second.
Bess had seven second-quarter points, as Gahanna led 38-22 by halftime.
Newark pulled to within 53-45 with 2:47 remaining, but the Lions answered with a 5-0 run.
Bess had 14 points and seven rebounds and junior post player Keith Scowden added 12 points and seven rebounds for Gahanna.
Senior Jalen Dartis had 25 points and five rebounds for Newark, which was outrebounded 34-20.