The Grandview Heights High School boys basketball team defeated nemesis Johnstown 54-49 on March 8 at Greater Columbus Convention Center to win its sixth Division III district championship.
The Bobcats improved to 19-6 and advanced to play fourth-ranked Genoa Area or Oregon Cardinal Stritch in a regional semifinal March 13 at Bowling Green.
Grandview, which was seeded sixth, had lost its previous three contests against third-seeded Johnstown, which finished 19-5. The Bobcats lost to the Johnnies in the Bobcat Holiday Classic each of the last two seasons, including 56-35 on Dec. 29, and were knocked out of the postseason a year ago with a 46-37 second-round loss to Johnstown.
“I was so proud of the way we responded,” said Grandview coach Ray Corbett, whose team’s previous district title came in 2016. “This group has done a phenomenal job of overcoming obstacles. I was proud of them two weeks ago, and we’re pretty happy right now.”
The Bobcats trailed by as many as 11 points, but kept chipping away at the deficit. Manny Day hit a pair of free throws with 1 minute, 39 seconds left in the fourth quarter to give Grandview the lead for good at 48-47.
With the Bobcats leading 52-49, Johnstown’s Owen Hazelbaker missed a 3-pointer with 14 seconds remaining and Day was fouled while grabbing the rebound. Day missed both free-throw attempts with 12.2 seconds left, but after a Johnstown rebound, Luke Lachey stole the ball near half court and capped a breakaway with a dunk to finish the scoring.
Lachey and point guard Aaron Cincione both did not play in the first meeting with the Johnnies this season.
“We just stuck our biggest guys on their biggest guys and we played hard the whole time,” said Lachey, who had a game-high 20 points. “We had to make sure we doubled-down on Owen and make him work for everything.”
Day added 16 points and Brian Collier scored 10 for the Bobcats.
Hazelbaker led the Johnnies with 15 points. Gavin Foe added 12 points and Matt Sayer scored 10.
Harvest Prep 71, Columbus Academy 67
Top-seeded Harvest Prep held off fourth-seeded Academy in a Division III district final March 8 at Greater Columbus Convention Center to earn its second consecutive district title.
The Warriors improved to 24-2 and advanced to play Frankfort Adena or Chesapeake in a regional semifinal March 14 at Ohio University.
“This doesn’t get old,” Harvest Prep coach David Dennis said. “Each season is different and for (the boys) to win it, it feels good. It’s hard to win in Columbus back-to-back. We love it.”
Academy, which finished 20-5, took a 62-60 lead on a three-point play by Hayden Compton with 3:51 remaining, but the Warriors closed the game on an 11-5 run.
Soul Hines led Harvest Prep with 21 points, including five 3-pointers. Christopher Anthony added 14 points.
Carter Warstler led Academy with 20 points, followed by Dalyn DeCree with 12 and Compton and Dorrian Moultrie with 11 apiece.
“We thought we were going to win,” Academy coach Jeff Warstler said. “We don’t play games we think we’re going to lose. We talked about it last night. … The kids played real hard.”