Braden Norris made up for lost time with the Hilliard Bradley High School boys basketball team in its first Division I regional tournament appearance.
The senior point guard hit five 3-pointers in the first half to help the 10th-ranked Jaguars build a 12-point lead by halftime en route to a 56-44 victory over Reynoldsburg in a regional semifinal March 14 at Ohio Dominican.
“I knew in a game like this that we would have to come out strong and I thought we did that,” said Norris, who missed 14 regular-season games with a broken right foot. “My teammates found me in a lot of good spots and I was able to capitalize on that.”
Bradley improved to 25-1 and will play Dublin Coffman or Pickerington Central in the regional final March 17 at Ohio Dominican. The Shamrocks and Tigers meet in the other regional semifinal March 15.
Reynoldsburg finished 19-8.
The Jaguars started just 1-for-10 from the field, but made nine of their final 17 shots (52.9 percent) of the first half and took a 29-17 lead into halftime. The Raiders went 5-for-18 (27.8 percent) from the field in the first half.
“I thought we had some good looks and thought we did a little bit of everything,” Reynoldsburg coach Scott Davis said. “We normally shoot the ball really well, but Norris got loose and we dug ourselves into a hole.”
Jaguars coach Brett Norris wanted his defense to make things uncomfortable for the Raiders, especially for their top scoring threat, Tre Williams. The 6-foot-7 senior forward finished with just eight points.
“I thought we were right on top of our game plan defensively,” said coach Norris, whose team allows an average of 36.5 points per contest. “Williams couldn’t get anything easy, and anytime you take away the other team’s biggest option, you have to be happy with that.”
Norris finished with 18 points to lead Bradley. Matt Allocco added 14 points and Isaiah Speelman scored 13, all in the second half.
Elijah Thurston led Reynoldsburg with 16 points, including four 3-pointers, and Ben Fort added 13 points.Division III
Africentric 62, Carey 40
Jah Bennett had 21 points and Tre’ Baumgardner scored 15 to lead the Nubians past the Blue Devils in a Division III regional semifinal March 14 at Bowling Green.
Africentric improved to 20-6 and will play Archbold in a regional final March 17 at the same site. Carey finished 20-7.
James Hodge added eight points for the Nubians, who led 37-21 at halftime and allowed just five third-quarter points.
“We were able to turn up the defensive pressure in the second and third quarters,” Nubians coach Michael Bates said. “We wanted to push the pace on them, because we thought if we could control the pace, we’d control the game, and that’s essentially what we did.”
Archbold improved to 22-3 with a 78-68 victory over Ottawa-Glandorf in the other semifinal at Bowling Green.
“Archbold can shoot the ball,” Bates said.
The Nubians will be making their fourth appearance in a regional final in five seasons. Their last regional title came in 2012.
Harvest Prep 78, Wheelersburg 60
The top-ranked Warriors overcame 35 points from the Pirates’ Tanner Holden in a Division III regional semifinal March 14 at Ohio University.
Harvest Prep improved to 27-0 and will play Sugarcreek Garaway in a regional final March 17 at the same site. Wheelersburg finished 20-4.
“We started out on them real big and ended up getting up on them 12-4,” Warriors coach David Dennis said. “In the second half, they got a little comfortable, but we got up by 10 at the half. (Holden) was a handful, but I thought we shut everybody else down.”
C.J. Penha had 24 points and C.J. Anthony scored 19 for the Warriors, who led 37-27 at halftime and extended their lead to 57-41 after three quarters.
Isaiah Cumberland added 10 points as the Warriors moved within one step of making the state tournament for the fifth time in program history.
Garaway, which improved to 19-8 with a 52-39 win over Oak Hill in the other regional semifinal, lost to Harvest Prep 93-62 on Dec. 30 in the Tuscarawas Central Catholic Holiday Shootout title game.