Hunter Shedenhelm had a career-high 33 points in a win at Gahanna on Dec. 14, but even given the stakes, the senior guard for the Pickerington High School North boys basketball team stopped short of calling his 28-point outburst during a Division I regional semifinal March 13 the game of his life.

After being held to five points in the first half against Newark at Ohio Dominican, Shedenhelm scored the Panthers’ first 16 points of the second half as North took control and cruised past the Wildcats 61-46.

Shedenhelm made five 3-pointers, played all 32 minutes and on defense held the Wildcats’ Drew Ballinger, who scored 20 points in a district final win over Olentangy Orange on March 9, to two points for the game.

“I shoot during practice and I shoot after practice. I give my teammates credit for trusting me and getting me the ball,” Shedenhelm said. “With this crowd and everything, it was a great atmosphere. It was a good time to put on a show.”

Jack Sawyer added 12 points and eight rebounds and Chris Scott had 10 points, five assists, four rebounds and two steals as North improved to 23-4 and advanced to play Olentangy Liberty or Pickerington Central in the regional final March 16 at Ohio Dominican.

The Panthers will be playing for their first regional championship. They were regional runners-up two years ago.

“(Hunter) is definitely capable,” North coach Jason Bates said. “I liked his aggressiveness from the beginning. Even when he missed a few (shots) early on, I just told him, ‘Keep shooting. Don’t stop.’ ‘Hunt’ is just a big-time player. He’s done it all season long. We see it every day in practice. Teams will take Jack away and it’s huge for guys like Hunter and Chris Scott, a lot of guys, to be ready to step up.”

Kade Bafford had 12 points and Bobby Crenshaw and Kadin Robinson each scored nine for Newark, which was held scoreless for 4 minutes, 51 seconds spanning the first and second quarters and finished 20-7.

“(North’s) intensity picked up in the second quarter,” Wildcats coach Jeff Quackenbush said. “They got some loose balls and offensive rebounds that helped them get some easy baskets.”

Division III

Oregon Stritch 63, Grandview 58

Grandview had its second second-half comeback in as many games, but its latest rally fell short.

The Bobcats nearly erased a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter against Stritch in a Division III regional semifinal March 13 at Bowling Green.

Grandview, which finished 19-7, trailed 50-36 after three quarters but rallied to pull with 52-51 with 3:36 left.

Stritch coach Jamie Kachmarick had his players hold onto the ball for nearly two minutes to start the fourth quarter. Grandview began to foul and put the Cardinals in the bonus. However, Stritch missed the front end of three 1-and-1s, allowing the Bobcats to cut into the lead.

“That backfired,” said Bobcats senior guard Manny Day, who scored 14 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter. “They missed some free throws and we got some long rebounds and worked on our defensive pressure. We were able to get layups and get back in the game.”

Kachmarick said the plan was for his team to get to the foul line and extend its lead.

“We have three guys shooting at 80 percent or more (from the foul line), but when they missed those three 1-and-1s, it was like losing six points,” Kachmarick said. “We were 11 of 12 from the foul line the other night (in a 54-44 double-overtime win over Genoa Area in a district final March 9).

“They were doing a good job of trapping and keeping us from running our offense. Missing those free throws hurt.”

After Grandview pulled within one point, Stritch (23-3) went on an 8-0 run to extend its lead to 60-51 with 31.8 seconds remaining.

“You have to pick your poison,” Grandview coach Ray Corbett said. “They have great ball-handlers who can attack gaps and that was the strength of their team. We knew they could shoot, so do you give up the 3 or do you give up the layup in the gaps? They had four guys on the floor at all times that could attack the gaps.”

Day added five assists and three steals for the Bobcats, while Brian Collier had 15 points and Luke Lachey had 14 points and 15 rebounds.

Little Anderson led Stritch with 19 points. Joey Holifield added 15 points and Jordan Burton scored 14.

On March 8, Grandview trailed Johnstown by 11 points in the third quarter of a district final at Greater Columbus Convention Center before rallying to win 54-49.

—Scott Hennen