After losing a pair of close games to Reynoldsburg during the regular season, the Gahanna Lincoln High School girls basketball team finally got the better of its OCC-Ohio Division rival.
Led by sophomore guard Edyn Battle, the ninth-seeded Lions edged the fourth-seeded Raiders 54-52 in overtime in a Division I district final March 3 at Ohio Dominican.
Gahanna improved to 19-7 and advanced to play Pickerington Central in a regional semifinal at 6:15 p.m. March 6 at Otterbein. Reynoldsburg, which had won district titles each of the past two seasons, finished 20-6.
Battle scored 29 points, including a basket with 1 minute, 8 seconds left in overtime that gave the Lions a 53-51 lead.
After Battle made the first of two free-throw attempts with 7.1 seconds remaining to make it 54-52, the Raiders drove down the court, only to have the Lions’ Morgan Darnell steal the ball with 3.9 seconds left and run out the clock.
“I knew this was a big game, so I had to try to help us get this win,” Battle said. “We executed our plays and we kept battling down in the post.”
Anisja Harris added 12 points for the Lions, including a 3-pointer with 1:53 remaining in overtime to tie the score at 51.
Harris scored to give Gahanna a 47-44 lead with 1:25 left in regulation, but the Raiders’ Jalynda Salley made the second of two free-throw attempts with 1:15 remaining and then scored the game-tying basket with 13.5 seconds left.
Reynoldsburg built a 51-47 lead in overtime but couldn’t hang on.
Uju Ezeudu and Destiny Fields scored 13 points apiece to lead the Raiders.
“(Gahanna) played really well,” Raiders coach Jack Purtell said. “I don’t think we shot the ball very well. We missed some key free throws the whole game. (Battle) is a really good player.”
Pickerington Central 54, Olentangy Liberty 12
The third-seeded Tigers overcame a slow offensive start to rout the 23rd-seeded Patriots in a Division I district final March 3 at Ohio Dominican.
Central won its third consecutive district title despite scoring just 16 points on 5-for-33 shooting in the first half, but leaned on its defense to lead 16-6 at halftime and hold Liberty without a field goal for a span of 14:36 that started in the first quarter and ended in the third.
Madison Greene had a game-high nine points and Adrian Crockwell scored eight to lead Central, which improved to 24-2 and will play OCC-Ohio rival Gahanna in a regional semifinal at 6:15 p.m. March 6 at Otterbein.
“That’s what we want our staple to be is defense,” Tigers coach Johnathan Hedgepeth said. “Even though we were struggling shooting the ball, defensively we’d only given up six points at halftime, so it was just about being more patient and making sure we got better shots. We had a little run to start the second half (12-0) that really helped our confidence.”
Kelly Levering had seven points to lead Liberty, which was just 4-for-26 from the floor and finished 15-12.
Westerville South 68, Dublin Coffman 58
The fifth-seeded Wildcats earned their first district championship by upsetting the second-seeded Shamrocks in a Division I district final March 3 at Ohio Dominican.
South improved to 20-5 and advanced to face Newark in a regional semifinal at 8 p.m. March 6 at Otterbein. Coffman, which was seeking its second consecutive district title and fifth overall, finished 24-2.
“This is probably one of the greatest teams I’ve ever coached,” said South coach Silas Williams, whose team avenged an 82-80 overtime loss to the Shamrocks on Jan. 3. “I put an expression on the board, ‘Anybody can fight, but can you win?’, and this team answered the bell every game, night in and night out, (and in the) summertime. This a special group because they don’t back down from challenges.”
The Wildcats trailed 6-5 after one quarter, but outscored Coffman 21-9 in the second quarter to take a 26-15 lead into halftime.
Anyssa Jones led South with 21 points, while Gabby Hutcherson and Sommer Pitzer both scored 11.
Jacy Sheldon, the district Player of the Year, led the Shamrocks with 34 points and Lilly Edwards added 11.
South played most of the third quarter with Hutcherson and Peyton Guice on the bench with foul trouble, but maintained its double-digit advantage, taking a 47-37 lead into the fourth quarter.
Newark 48, Upper Arlington 28
The top-seeded Wildcats sprinted to a 16-2 lead in the first six minutes of their Division I district final against the seventh-seeded Golden Bears on March 3 at Ohio Dominican en route to winning their fourth consecutive district title.
Morgan Sharps scored 15 of her game-high 18 points on 3-pointers to lead Newark, which improved to 24-1 and will play Westerville South in a regional semifinal at 8 p.m. March 6 at Otterbein.
Katie Shumate added 10 points.
Macy Spielman had 11 points for UA, which finished 20-6 and was seeking its third district championship in five years.
The Bears used a 7-0 run in the second quarter to pull within 18-10 but never got closer and trailed by as many as 21 in the fourth.
“Our kids did a nice job pressuring the ball and keeping (UA) out of rhythm,” Newark coach J.R. Shumate said. “With their shooters, it was really important to get them out of their rhythm. Our girls did a good job of that. Really, the only lapses we had in the first half were when we were changing defenses (between a 1-3-1 and man) and we missed some assignments because of that. But by and large, our defense was very good.”