A historic run for the Pickerington High School North boys basketball team will last at least one more game, and now the Panthers get to take on their biggest rival for a berth in the Division I state tournament.
Jerome Hunter scored 27 points and pulled down 12 rebounds and Dondre Palmer added 14 points as North outscored Upper Arlington 27-6 in the fourth quarter to pull away for a 64-44 win in a regional semifinal March 16 at Ohio Dominican University.
The Panthers, who are in their first regional tournament, improved to 21-6 and will play Pickerington Central in the regional final March 18 at ODU.
“The key was going to be utilizing our inside presence,” North coach Jason Bates said, citing the Panthers’ size advantage with the 6-foot-7 Hunter and 6-9 center Eli McNamara over UA’s tandem of Dane Goodwin (6-5) and Max Martz (6-4). “I had to explain to my team that this is a game of runs and we just had to answer their runs with our own.”
Palmer scored 12 of his points in the first half as North raced to a 28-21 lead, then withstood a barrage from the Golden Bears in the third quarter. Goodwin, Andy Hummer and Martz all made 3-pointers to highlight a 12-3 run that put UA ahead 38-37 entering the fourth.
Hunter scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter to give North the lead for good.
Matt Lanier’s 3-pointer off a steal with 4 minutes, 56 seconds left made it 50-40, sending the Panthers and their fans into celebration mode. Lanier also made the winning 3-pointer with .9 of a second left in a 59-58 victory over Newark in a district final March 11.
Goodwin had 18 points and seven rebounds to pace the Bears, who finished 24-3. Martz added 14 points.
“(North) took advantage of our miscues,” UA coach Tim Casey said. “We had key turnovers right in the gut of the game and they came down and scored, and then they got their mojo and everything went against us.”Division II
Eastmoor Academy 53, Fairfield Union 37
Eastmoor held Fairfield Union scoreless in the fourth quarter and pulled away in a Division II regional semifinal March 16 at Ohio University.
Nursing a 42-37 lead, the Warriors held the Falcons to 0-for-10 shooting from the field in the fourth quarter to take command. Eastmoor improved to 21-6 and will face McArthur Vinton County (24-2) in the regional final March 18 at OU.
Taevion Kinsey had 14 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals to pace Eastmoor, which jumped out to a 16-6 lead on 7-for-9 shooting from the field and never trailed. Kinsey hit a 3-pointer from beyond midcourt to give the Warriors a 30-16 lead at halftime.
Tim Smith added 13 points and Tariq Brown scored 12 for Eastmoor, while Stanley Williams had nine rebounds.
Fairfield Union, which was making its first regional appearance, rallied in the third quarter by hitting four 3-pointers and finished 7-for-8 from beyond the arc for the game. Lucas Thompson and Hayden Price each scored 12 points to lead the Falcons, who finished 23-3.