Girls Basketball: Coffman edges Reynoldsburg in DI regional semi; Pickerington Central, Hartley lose

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Dublin Coffman's Kenzie Bicking plays to the crowd after a 60-57 win over Reynoldsburg in a Division I regional semifinal March 2 at Westerville South.

The Dublin Coffman girls basketball team didn’t let a slow start get in its way against Reynoldsburg in a Division I regional semifinal March 2 at Westerville South.

After trailing by as much as 14 and still behind by 11 at halftime, the Shamrocks tied it by the end of three quarters, setting them up for a back-and-forth finish.

Coffman made a trio of 3-pointers and two free throws during the final minutes to help it earn a 60-57 comeback win and send it into a regional final against Newark on March 5 at South.

“It was a rocky start,” Shamrocks coach Adam Banks said. “This team is used to fighting and not quitting and just expecting to win.”

Reynoldsburg's Imarianah Russell sits alone on the court as Dublin Coffman players celebrate a 60-57 win in a Division I regional semifinal March 2 at Westerville South.

Coffman, which improved to 23-1, took its first lead since midway through the first quarter when Jenna Kopyar hit a free throw with 5:43 remaining to make it 49-48.

Reynoldsburg answered with a 5-0 run that included a 3-pointer by Trinity Ramos, but Coffman's Cassidy Lafler’s 3 with 3:04 to go cut it to 53-52 and Taylor Covington’s 3 with 2:20 left gave the Shamrocks a 55-53 advantage.

Reynoldsburg took a 56-55 lead with 1:06 to go when Imarianah Russell stole an inbounds pass and tossed it to Mya Perry for a layup.

A 3-pointer by Kopyar with 20 seconds to play gave Coffman a 58-56 lead.

Russell was fouled with 10.2 seconds to go and missed the first free throw but hit the second to make it 58-57. Covington then made a pair of free throws with 8.8 seconds left for a 60-57 lead.

Russell, who transferred from Coffman to Reynoldsburg in the offseason, had a chance to tie it but missed a 3 during the final seconds.

Russell had 27 points and five steals and Alexia Mobley had 12 points and 14 rebounds for the Raiders, who finished 16-5.

Covington scored 16, Tara Flynn had 11 and Tessa Grady added 10 for Coffman.

“We said from the beginning that we trust each other,” Covington said. “We have great team chemistry and we just count on each other. I’ve been struggling with free throws the last couple games, but I was so good at getting my mind to go blank (when I made the free throws at the end). This means everything to us. We’ve had Reynoldsburg on our board the whole year, counting the days hoping we’d get to play them.”

Pickerington Central's Malea Bess (facing) hugs Taylor Kelley in the final minutes of a 65-26 loss to Newark in a Division I regional semifinal March 2 at Westerville South.

Newark 65, Pickerington Central 26

The Wildcats made their first 10 shots from the field to blow open the second regional semifinal and rout the Tigers, a team they defeated by seven and 12 points in two OCC-Buckeye Division meetings during the regular season.

Newark reeled off a 16-0 run in just more than three minutes early in the first quarter and held Central, which was coming off its sixth consecutive district championship, without a field goal for 8:55 in taking a 31-4 lead. The Wildcats led 47-15 at halftime.

Berry Wallace had nine points and Madison Greene added six for the Tigers, who had an 11-game winning streak snapped and finished 13-7.

“They’re one of the best programs in the country and we felt like we had an opportunity after those first two games, but we came out with jitters and nerves and we were missing assignments,” Central coach Johnathan Hedgepeth said. “They have a team of great shooters. I haven’t been a part of a team shooting that well, whether they’re that wide open or guarded.”

Newark coach J.R. Shumate discusses a call with an official during a Division I regional semifinal against Pickerington Central on March 2 at Westerville South. Shumate was ejected in the fourth quarter. Newark won 65-26.

Mady Stottsberry had and Maddie Vejsicky each scored 16 points and Emma Shumate added 13 for Newark, which improved to 25-1 and finished with 12 3-pointers.

“We came out aggressive and full of energy,” said Shumate, a West Virginia recruit who had three 3-pointers in Newark’s big early run. “We were just driving and spacing. If we could get to the rim, we’d get to the rim, or we could kick it out and look to shoot.”

—Dave Purpura

Hamilton Badin 50, Hartley 49

In a Division II regional semifinal at Springfield, Hartley lost to Badin to finish 15-6.

The Hawks nearly stole an inbounds pass with 1.6 seconds to go, which would have given them an opportunity to score the winning points.

“We ran out of time,” coach Donald Dennis said. “They got up 7-0 on us and we didn’t adjust to their physicality, but we fought back and made it a (close) game, and it was nip and tuck the second half.

“Give them credit because we missed some layups and some foul shots, but I’m proud of the kids.”

Kiarra McElrath had 14 points and Ella Brandewie and Kami Kortokrax both scored 13 for the Hawks.

—Jarrod Ulrey

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