Commentary

Bounce goes Coffman's way in regional final win

By

Call it the shot heard around Dublin.

Or perhaps the shot that sent the first Dublin City Schools basketball program -- boys or girls -- to a state semifinal, as the Dublin Coffman High School girls team defeated Reynoldsburg 39-26 in a Division I regional final March 7 at Otterbein.

Kamerine Taylor faced the basket, standing just to the right of the top of the key, and released a 3-point shot with a high, arching trajectory. The ball hit the rim and bounced high near the backboard before falling, rattling back and forth on the iron and tumbling through the net as the Coffman faithful erupted.

The basket was worth three points on the scoreboard, but more in the context of the game. It gave Coffman the lead for good at 24-23 with 2 minutes, 2 seconds left in the third quarter and swung momentum in favor of the Shamrocks, who went on to win their first regional title.

Taylor's 3-pointer began a 12-0 run and gave Coffman its first lead since the opening quarter. The Raiders would score only three points in the final 10:02.

"The shot looked good when I took it, but it had to bounce around three or four times before it fell through," said Taylor, a junior guard who was 2-for-5 from 3-point range and scored 10 points. "We really needed that perimeter shot to get the ball inside to (post player) Sade (Olatoye)."

Olatoye, a 6-foot-1 junior who had 18 points and 16 rebounds, was in the paint as Taylor's shot bounced around the rim

"I was thinking, 'I gotta fight for that rebound. I gotta get that rebound,'" Olatoye said. "That moment really pumped us up."

Coffman was making its third regional appearance, having won its other district titles in 2008 and 2009. Both years the Shamrocks went on to lose to West Chester Lakota West in a regional final, falling 62-48 in 2008 and 57-49 in 2009.

"When Kamerine hit that shot, (Reynoldsburg) called timeout," said senior guard Griffin Tullis, whose team improved to 22-6. "That really brought us together. We said, 'This is it. This is where we can do it.'"

Taylor's 3-pointer "was the first time all game that I felt like we were in control," coach Bryan Patton said. "Then (the Raiders) called timeout, and we were able to build from that."

Taylor bounced back from a 2-for-10 3-point shooting performance in a 55-40 victory over Upper Arlington on March 4 in a regional semifinal.

"Kamerine is a notorious big-game player who embraces those kinds of situations," Patton said. "She had a tough game (against UA), but came up huge for us (against Reynoldsburg). She wanted to show she could do better."

Tullis wasn't ready for the moment to end. She said she was going to take a strand of net cut down during the regional awards ceremony and tie it around her finger before going to sleep that evening.

Olatoye searched for words to capture her feelings.

"I really don't have words to describe this," she said. "This is the first time we've gone past the regional."

The Shamrocks play North Canton Hoover in a state semifinal at 8 p.m. Friday, March 14, at Ohio State, with the winner advancing to the state final at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, March 15.

And that gives Taylor, or perhaps one of her teammates, a chance to sink another shot to remember.

Comments