Olentangy Liberty High School boys basketball coach Greg Nossaman did not give his team high marks for beauty during a 66-58 overtime win over Pickerington Central in a Division I regional semifinal March 14 at Ohio Dominican, but that was the least of his concerns.
The bottom line for the Patriots was that after losing a 12-point fourth-quarter lead, they withstood Central’s late charge and a shorthanded Tigers team in overtime to draw within one win of their first state tournament.
Ben Roderick had a game-high 29 points, 12 rebounds and four assists to lead a balanced effort as Liberty improved to 23-4. Mitch Kershner added 15 points and Nick Nakasian scored 11 for the Patriots, who will play Pickerington North in the regional final March 16 at Ohio Dominican.
“It wasn’t like it was a great game where we hit on all cylinders. We gave them some easy scores and turned the ball over, but we settled down,” Nossaman said. “To lose that lead and still pull it out, I think that’s the mark of a veteran team. That’s a good basketball team we beat.”
The Patriots led 47-35 with 6 minutes, 30 seconds left before the Tigers leaned on their defense to make a spirited run. Central got within three points on four occasions before Jaidon Lipscomb hit a wide-open 3-pointer to tie the game at 56 with 8.5 seconds left in regulation.
Central’s leading scorer, Jahvon Garcia, fouled out with .8 of a second left, but the Patriots’ Henry Hinkle missed both free throws to send the game to overtime.
Kershner hit a 3-pointer and Roderick made a layup off the glass to start overtime, in which Liberty never trailed.
“Ben gets so much attention on the inside … and I was just open in the corner,” Kershner said. “We work on shooting every day. I just stepped up and hit it.”
The Tigers’ top rebounder, Coleton Landis, missed most of overtime because of an ankle injury, according to coach Eric Krueger. Garcia and Garner Wallace both had 20 points.
“We battled, but we didn’t hit enough shots and not having (Garcia and Landis in overtime) really hurt,” said Krueger, whose team finished 25-2 and saw both a 13-game winning streak and its hopes for a third consecutive regional championship come to an end. “We tried to keep them off balance, but they shoot the ball extremely well.”
Liberty defeated North 75-64 on Jan. 26 in the Jared Sullinger Ohio Scholastic Play-by-Play Classic at Central. The Panthers have won 11 games in a row since and are 23-4.
“People can say, ‘You guys beat them once already,’” Nossaman said. “That doesn’t matter. They’re playing pretty good basketball.”Division II
Columbus South 61, Norwalk 54
Trevell Adams had 22 points and Ta’Quan Simington scored 15 as South beat Norwalk in a regional semifinal March 14 at Bowling Green.
The Bulldogs improved to 25-1 and will play Lima Shawnee in a regional final March 16 at the same site. Shawnee improved to 24-2 with a 50-48 win over Cleveland Central Catholic in the other regional semifinal March 14.
Against Norwalk, South led 28-20 before the Truckers closed the first half on a 5-0 run.
The Bulldogs, who led 40-37 heading into the fourth quarter, lost in a regional semifinal a season ago.
Norwalk finished 23-4.
Dayton Northridge 60, Hartley 56
Hartley was unable to hold a 10-point third-quarter lead and lost to Northridge in a regional semifinal March 14 at Kettering Fairmont.
Northridge shot only 23-for-64 from the floor but grabbed 18 offensive rebounds and forced 23 turnovers.
“The game plan was we had to hold the boards and had to handle the pressure,” Hawks coach Randy Kortokrax said. “We couldn’t hold the boards and we couldn’t handle the pressure so it was a pretty easy result. It was the easiest game plan we’ve ever had that they were going to shoot and miss and we had to get the rebound. We knew they weren’t a good shooting team.”
With Hartley leading 32-22 with 5:51 left in the third quarter, Northridge answered with a 14-4 run to tie it.
After falling behind 57-49 with 1:20 remaining, the Hawks pulled to within 59-56 on a 3-pointer by Colby Rankin with 0.8 of a second left before Northridge closed out the win.
Morgan Safford had 14 points and 11 rebounds and Ryan Heuser scored 14 for the Hawks, who finished 15-10.
Northridge improved to 19-7 and will play Trotwood-Madison on March 16 for the regional title.
—Jarrod UlreyDivision III
Harvest Prep 79, Frankfort Adena 38
On a night in which coach David Dennis Sr. won his 300th game, Harvest Prep dominated Adena in a regional semifinal March 14 at Ohio University.
The Warriors, who led 50-22 at halftime, improved to 25-2 and advanced to play Wheelersburg in a regional final March 16 at OU.
Christopher Anthony had 22 points, Raymond Robertson scored 16 and Elijah Glenn added 11 for the Warriors, who are trying to reach the state tournament for the second consecutive season. They lost in a state semifinal last season.
Adena finished 20-7.