Jeremiah Francis and Sterling Manley combined for 48 points to help the second-ranked Pickerington High School Central boys basketball team roll past St. Charles 75-53 in a Division I regional semifinal March 15 at Ohio Dominican University.
The Tigers improved to 25-2 and will play sixth-ranked Upper Arlington or Pickerington North in the regional final March 18 at Ohio Dominican. It will be Central’s first regional final appearance since winning the state championship in 2012.
Francis scored 17 of his 23 points in a decisive first half, as the Tigers led 20-7 after the first quarter and 39-17 at halftime.
Francis also finished with five steals and five assists.
“Jeremiah has had some great games, and that was one of them,” Central coach Eric Krueger said. “It was really the efficiency of how he played. He was setting guys up and making some great passes in addition to scoring. We were pushing the tempo. We weren’t slowing down. We had to speed it up.”
St. Charles coach Jacob Daniel knew the Tigers could score quickly and wanted his team to limit their chances.
“We wanted to keep them away from having 20-point quarters and they had quarters of 20 and 19 right off the bat,” Daniel said. “It’s not the start we would have wanted.
“They had the body size, the strength and the length, and they had a couple of great players who laid down the law.”
Manley led Central with 25 points and five rebounds and Adrian Nelson added six points and five rebounds.
Nick Muszynski had 15 points, seven rebounds and three blocks to lead the Cardinals, who finished 24-3. Braden Budd had 12 points and George Javitch added 11 points with three 3-pointers.
Cincinnati Summit Country Day 35, Worthington Christian 32
Using a slow-tempo approach against undefeated Summit Country Day in a Division III regional semifinal March 15 at Fairmont, Worthington Christian finally began making headway in the fourth quarter.
The Warriors used an 8-0 run that spanned the first six minutes of the final period to take their first lead since early in the first quarter.
With 15 seconds remaining, however, Summit Country Day point guard Sam Martin made a driving layup to give his team the lead for good as the Silver Knights hung on for the win.
Summit Country Day improved to 26-0 and will play St. Bernard Roger Bacon in the regional final March 18 at Fairmont.
Worthington Christian finished 21-6.
“We definitely tried to slow down and play more of a halfcourt game,” Warriors senior guard Jay Joseph said. “That’s exactly how we wanted it to go. We just couldn’t finish it.”
Worthington Christian, which was making its first regional appearance since 2014, took a 32-31 lead on Jayden Turner’s free throw with 26.2 seconds left.
After Martin’s basket made it 33-32, the Warriors were whistled for traveling with 6.2 seconds remaining and Summit Country Day’s Tyrice Walker added a pair of free throws with 4.6 seconds left.
On the following inbound play, Worthington Christian threw the ball to midcourt. Coach Kevin Weakley tried to call timeout but was unable to get the official’s attention, and Kyle Smith’s 3-point attempt from just past halfcourt fell short and time expired.
The Warriors, who trailed 22-16 at halftime, got 17 points from Joseph and six points from Mitchell Naim on a pair of first-half 3-pointers.
Walker had 13 points to lead the Silver Knights.
“We had a good game plan and the kids executed it, but they just made one more play than we did,” Weakley said.