The Gahanna Lincoln High School boys basketball team used a 17-3 run to build an eight-point fourth-quarter lead and held on for a 53-50 win over Pickerington Central in a Division I regional semifinal March 14 in the Fairgrounds Coliseum.
The win sends Gahanna into a regional final at 7 p.m. March 16 at the Fairgrounds against top-ranked Northland, which is 27-0.
“We just stuck together and said, ‘This is our game,’” Gahanna junior forward Javon Bess said. “We just had to get rebounds and make our free throws.”
Gahanna improved to 22-5 and Central finished 19-8. The OCC-Ohio foes split during the regular season.
In the third meeting, Central led 37-31 with 7 minutes, 35 seconds left.
Tigers junior forward Jae’Sean Tate, who would finish with 31 points and 11 rebounds, had 21 points through three quarters. Tate didn’t score for the first six minutes of the fourth quarter, as Gahanna rallied to take a 48-40 lead.
Tate scored Central’s final 10 points, but junior guard Connor Kern missed a pair of 3-pointers during the final 10 seconds that would have tied the game at 53.
Gahanna made seven of 10 free throws during the final two minutes.
Bess, a junior forward, had 10 points and 11 rebounds for Gahanna while senior guard Aaron Jackson had 18 points and five rebounds.
“Basketball’s a game of runs, and we had a couple costly turnovers (during Gahanna’s 17-3 run),” Central coach Jerry Francis said.