Boys Basketball: Gahanna, Westerville Central, Watterson, DeSales advance to regional finals

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Division I

Gahanna Lincoln 47, Olentangy Liberty 39 

In the middle of a tight matchup in the first of two regional semifinals March 11 at Westerville South, Gahanna got a big lift from an unexpected source. 

Junior guard Brendan Raymond, thrust into the starting lineup with junior Cam Johnson unavailable to play, hit a 3-pointer with 3 minutes, 9 seconds left for his first points to give the Lions a 37-33 lead. 

He also got a steal with 51.6 seconds left to help seal the win for Gahanna, which improved to 22-2 heading into the regional final March 13 against Westerville Central at South.

Liberty finished 20-6. 

“He hit a big 3 late in the game and got a big steal and hit some free throws, too,” coach Tony Staib said. “He’s been coming off the bench and started for us and did a great job.” 

Javan Simmons completed a three-point play with 1:37 to go to give the Lions a 42-36 lead. 

Liberty’s Henry Hinkle hit a 3-pointer nine seconds later to cut it to 42-39, but Sean Jones and Raymond both hit two foul shots over the final 1:12. 

Gahanna Lincoln's Sean Jones drives the ball down the court while Olentangy Liberty's Ty Foster pursues during a Division I regional semifinal March 11 at Westerville South. The Lions won 47-39.

“We knew the plays they were running and we worked on them hard all week,” Jones said. “It got us ready for this game.” 

Jones scored 16 points, including the first five of the third quarter as Gahanna built a 27-22 lead. 

Maceo Williams had 14 points and Simmons added eight as both players controlled the interior while limiting Liberty’s biggest inside threat, Andrew Wade, to five points. 

Cooper Davis had 13 points for the Patriots, and Hinkle added 11. 

“Our kids did exactly what they were supposed to do,” Liberty coach Greg Nossaman said. “Our kids played their guts out tonight. We’re undersized and with some of the athletic ability they’ve got, I thought our game plan was good. Our kids did a great job.” 

—Jarrod Ulrey 

Westerville Central 56, Hilliard Bradley 44

Central received a balanced effort in securing its first Division I regional final berth.

Landon Tillman scored 17 points, Quincy Clark had 13, M.J. Davis scored 12 and Tasos Cook added 10 to lead the Warhawks.

Central improved to 21-2 and will play its third matchup with Gahanna in the regional final. The teams split two OCC-Ohio Division contests, with the Lions winning 56-55 on Jan. 20 and the Warhawks winning 65-64 on Feb. 5.

“We’re not done yet,” Clark said. “We had some excitement after this win, but we know deep down we’re not satisfied. We’re taking it one game at a time and one ring at a time. We got the district ring and we want that regional ring, which is coming next.”

Bradley finished 18-5.

Leading 23-16 at halftime, Davis helped Central build the advantage to 34-20, connecting on three 3-pointers in the third quarter.

Trailing 42-32 after three quarters, Bradley pulled to within 44-38 with 2:30 remaining, but that would be as close as it would get.

“It was a great effort and we knew we needed a great effort on both ends of the floor,” Central coach Kevin Martin said. “Hilliard Bradley is really good. They’ve had a heck of a year. They’re very difficult to guard with how they run their offense. ... We made timely shots.”

Keaton Norris led the Jaguars with 19 points and Cade Norris scored 12.

“You have to give them a ton of credit; we were on our heels from the start,” Bradley coach Brett Norris said. “Our execution was not good. They were much more aggressive than we were.”

—Frank DiRenna

DIVISION II 

Watterson 48, Cincinnati McNicholas 41 (2OT) 

In a regional semifinal at Vandalia Butler, Watterson scored the final six points in the second overtime and beat McNicholas. 

The Eagles play Dayton Chaminade Julienne in the regional March 13 at Butler. 

Watterson trailed by nine in the third quarter. 

“Our guys just hung tough, played great defense and just battled,” coach Vince Lombardo said. “Things weren’t looking good for us being down by nine in the third quarter but we responded and hung around. We actually had chances to put the game away in regulation and the first overtime but missed some foul shots before we pulled it out. The kids made some really big plays.” 

A basket by Jake Hoying during the final seconds of regulation sent the game to overtime tied at 33. 

The Eagles took a 39-34 lead in the first overtime, but the Rockets got a 3-pointer from Tyler Haynes to force a second overtime. 

Noah Grayem made a 3 to give Watterson a 42-41 lead in the second overtime.

Hoying scored 16 points to lead Watterson, which improved to 12-15. 

McNicholas finished 20-5 in its first regional appearance since 1999. 

—Jarrod Ulrey 

DeSales 40, Chillicothe Unioto 37

Obed Achirem scored the eventual game-winning layup with 50 seconds left and made a steal at the other end moments later to help preserve the Stallions’ regional semifinal win at Chillicothe Southeastern.

Desmond Watson had 19 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals to lead DeSales, which improved to 17-7 and will play Byesville Meadowbrook in the regional final March 13 at Southeastern.

Unioto committed two of its 10 second-half turnovers in the final 9.8 seconds and Watson made two free throws with 3.2 seconds left to seal the win.

“They gave us some trouble. They had some spurts where they were getting more rebounds and 50/50 balls and we weren’t finishing at the rim or hitting free throws like we usually do,” Stallions coach Pat Murphy said. “We didn’t follow our game plan as well as we wanted to but it's about toughness and grit and finding a way to win.”

Achirem finished with 10 points, four rebounds and two assists.

Watson needs seven more points to surpass 2010 graduate Nick Kellogg as DeSales’ all-time leading scorer. Kellogg, who went on to play at Ohio University, finished with 1,654 career points.

Cameron DeBord’s 10 points paced Unioto, which finished 18-6. His four-point play with 1:20 left gave the Sherman Tanks their final lead at 37-36.

—Dave Purpura

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