Pickerington High School North boys basketball player Joe Liptrap treated his junior season as something of an audition for this, his senior year, when he was certain he'd get a chance to play varsity.

Pickerington High School North boys basketball player Joe Liptrap treated his junior season as something of an audition for this, his senior year, when he was certain he'd get a chance to play varsity.

But his father, Panthers coach Pete Liptrap, thinks Joe - a 5-foot-11 guard - has been pointing to this season for at least a decade.

"When he was young he always went scouting with me and he was ahead of the curve knowledge-wise," Pete Liptrap said. "He's not the greatest Division I high school athlete in the world, but his intelligence helps him make up for any shortcomings physically. It's always been important to him. This is the thing he's waited on since he started watching basketball."

He seems to be appreciating every minute, no matter what they bring. A shooting guard who has played the game since age 7 and this season was averaging 5.9 points through 13 games, Joe Liptrap embraces getting the ball inside to leading scorer Jake Butt or Desmond Palmer as much as hitting a 3-pointer with the game on the line, as he did Jan. 14 to give North a 61-58 overtime win over New Albany.

"I know my role," he said. "Shoot when I'm open, knock down shots and get it into the big guys because they're the strength of our team."

The New Albany game, in which Liptrap scored 14 points, was only the second time he had scored in double figures this year. He also had 13 points in a 72-45 win over Groveport on Dec. 6.

"There were eight seconds left (against New Albany) and we ran a play where we put two shooters (Liptrap and Mason Olszewski) in the corners and the point guard (Seth Gamby) has the ball and picks a side to go to," Liptrap said of his game-winning shot. "(Gamby) kicked it out to me, I had no choice but to shoot it and luckily enough for us to win, I made it."

North entered this week with records of 8-5 overall and 4-4 in the OCC-Ohio Division.

Joe and Pete Liptrap readily admit they are soaking in every minute of their only year together with the varsity.

"We try to keep it separate; he's my dad at home and my coach here when we walk inside the gym. But I definitely wouldn't have it any other way," Joe Liptrap said. "It's the only way I've known it my whole life. Every year I've been alive, he's been the coach. I wouldn't know it any other way."

Pete Liptrap said, "A lot of people thought Joe and I might have problems. We haven't had any. He likes basketball; I like basketball. He has a passion for the game; I have a passion for the game. It's been a great experience. We're happy to have him in the program."

•Central will participate in the 12-team Dunk 4 Diabetes Shootout this weekend at Walsh University in North Canton.

The Tigers will play Cleveland St. Ignatius at 7 p.m, Sunday, Jan. 29, in the fifth of the first-year event's six games.

The schools' first basketball meeting will come eight weeks after St. Ignatius defeated Central 34-13 in the Division I state football championship game. Four basketball Tigers - Zach Beaver, Taco Charlton, Brandon Ray and Jae'Sean Tate - also play football, and several of Ignatius' main basketball contributors, led by senior guards Eric Williams and Mike Svetina and junior forward Matt Gawlik, are crossover athletes. Svetina, an outside linebacker who was named the state's co-Defensive Player of the Year this past season, has committed to play football at Miami University.

The Wildcats were 7-2 entering the week.

Other participating teams are Arlington (Va.) O'Connell, Cleveland Benedictine, Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph, Huntington (W.Va.) Prep, Lakewood St. Edward, Lyndhurst Brush, Medina, Pittsburgh Allerdice, Stow-Munroe Falls and Warren Harding.

Huntington Prep boasts Andrew Wiggins, a 6-7 forward/center who is rated the nation's best sophomore by many recruiting services.

All games will be televised live by SportsTime Ohio.