The last time the North Union boys basketball team had a winning
season, George Bush was in the Oval Office. No, not that Bush. This
Bush would be Herbert Walker. North Union is enjoying its first winning
season since 1991-92 and its eighth since 1968. Who else had a good week? Read on to find out.
Pickerington has a championship pedigree in girls basketball that could make George Steinbrenner jealous.
With six state championship banners lining the rafters from 1985 to 1999 at Central High School, the original Pickerington High School before the district split into two schools earlier this decade, the violet city has continued to see success after dividing.
The Pickerington North Panthers and Pickerington Central Tigers met last week in a crosstown battle with the Tigers taking a 51-47 road win. The victory propelled Central into a first-place tie with North in the Ohio Capital Conference’s Ohio Division at the time headed for the last two weeks of the regular-season. Central has won three of the past four meetings.
The Tigers rode Ohio State-bound Emilee Harmon to victory as the center posted 23 points and five rebounds. North (11-4, 8-2) had a 12-point lead in the third quarter, but Central came back to cut the deficit down to 33-29 in the last 80 seconds of the third quarter behind the play of Harmon and Samantha Griffith.
The Tigers (12-2, 8-2) captured the lead in the fourth quarter on a Griffith basket, and cemented the big conference victory as Jessica Powell knocked down two free throws and Charlcia Agee added another in the closing half minute.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
North Union Boys Basketball: The last time the North Union boys basketball team had a winning season, George Bush was in the Oval Office. No, not that Bush. This Bush would be Herbert Walker. North Union is enjoying its first winning season since 1991-92 and its eighth since 1968, standing at 12-2 overall and on top of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference Red Division with a 6-1 mark. After winning four of its last six games to close a 6-16 season last year, North Union also added a new head coach as Brian Terrill moved over from the girls team after leading the Wildcats to three league championships.
“For the boys, this season is different,” Terrill said. “The boys believe in themselves largely because of the teams we played and beat last summer and it started at the end of last season.”
The Wildcats are led by seniors Will Shields and Taylor Jerew, junior Klarke Ransome and sophomores Evan Jamison, Warren Shields and Travis Laird.
“This is a close team and it is much more fun because of it,” Terrill said.
In its last game, North Union hammered Ridgemont 74-36, led by Jerew’s strong play at the rim, scoring 14 points and hauling in 10 rebounds. Will Shields added 13 points in the victory.
North Union has a one-game lead in the league with six games to go, four of which will be contested on its home floor. The excitement of the play of the Wildcats has spread through the community, according to Terrill.
“Fans have been packing the gym this season and it’s a great experience for the boys,” he said.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Daiva Gerbec, Columbus Bishop Watterson, Girls Basketball: If there is a hidden gem in Central Ohio girls basketball, Columbus Bishop Watterson may be it. In a Central Catholic League showdown with Bishop Ready, Gerbec paced the Lady Eagles with 14 points, nine rebounds and five blocks in a 54-48 victory. The win gave Watterson (15-2, 6-1) a game-and-a-half lead in the league. In a non-league game earlier in the week against Ashville Teays Valley, Gerbec also tallied 14 points in a 54-24 win.
NEWS, NOTES AND NUGGETS
Streak over: Columbus Northland saw its 58-game regular-season winning streak fall over the past week with a 67-61 loss to Canton Timken. In the battle of top 10 ranked teams in Division I by the Associated Press, No. 10 Timken (11-1) was led by Jared Porrini with 23 points. Jared Sullinger tallied 17 points for Northland. The last time Northland lost a regular-season game was Feb. 14, 2006 against Columbus West. The Vikings (14-1, 10-0) began a new streak Monday with a big 80-73 City League North Division win over Columbus Beechcroft. Sullinger scoring 28 points and grabbed 16 rebounds.
On top, take two: Already ranked first in Division III by the Associated Press, the Marion Pleasant girls basketball team captured the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference Blue Division championship with a 43-18 win over Ridgedale. Ashley Andrews led the Lady Spartans with 15 points. Julie Rice tallied 10 points and Amy Daniels added nine. The Lady Spartans are undefeated with a 15-0 overall record and a 10-0 mark in conference play.
Orange crush: Despite being a first-year school, Olentangy Orange’s boys basketball team is currently on top of the Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division. The Pioneers (11-3, 6-1) are led by junior guard Zack Joseph (17.2 points), who transferred from Worthington Christian, where he was on a Division IV state runner-up team a year ago.
Buzzer beater: Ryan Mack kept Hebron Lakewood’s magical boys basketball season going with a 17-foot buzzer beating shot in a 46-44 road win over Newark Licking Valley in a Mid-State League Ohio Division contest. The Lancers are 13-1.
Congratulations times two: Luke Roesch gathered 12 points en route to his 1,000th career point last week for Lancaster Fisher Catholic. The Irish defeated West Jefferson 51-45 to move to 10-3 and 8-0 in the Mid-State League Cardinal Division. Circleville’s Chris Starner notched his 100th career wrestling win over the weekend at the Miami Trace Invitational.
Deep five: Looking for a strong basketball league? Look no further than the Ohio Capital Conference’s Ohio Division. Noted for its strength in football, the division is also strong in girls basketball with five schools – Pickerington North and Central, Grove City Reynoldsburg and Gahanna – all above .500 with at least 10 wins on the season.
Primetime showdown: In one of the highlight matches at the Miami Trace Invitational Saturday, Circleville Logan Elm’s Shane Gifford defeated Huston Evans of St. Paris Graham 3-1 to win the individual title at 152 pounds. Evans was ranked third in Division II at 152 pounds by the Brakeman Report, while Gifford was touted as fourth.
Huddle up: Central Ohio winter sports coaches are encouraged to submit player of the week, team of the week and interesting tidbits to firstname.lastname@example.org for potential publication in the weekly Central Ohio Huddle sports article.
ON TAP (What’s Happening This Week)
Newark Catholic at Hebron Lakewood, Boys Basketball, Wednesday (Tonight): The cold Ohio winter puts this clash between Mid-State League Ohio Division co-leaders on a non-traditional game night. The Green Wave (12-1, 7-1) will try to spoil Lakewood’s rise in the division from mediocrity (13-1, 7-1).
Columbus Hamilton Township, Williamsport Westfall at Ashville Teays Valley, Wrestling, Thursday: One
of the smallest Division I schools in the area, Teays Valley has won
six tournaments this season. The Vikings continue Mid-State League
Buckeye wrestling against Hamilton Township before taking on Pickaway
County rival Westfall in a non-league dual. Teays Valley started the
league season last month with convincing wins over Circleville (58-15)
and Circleville Logan Elm (67-9).
Amanda-Clearcreek at Circleville Logan Elm, Girls Basketball, Saturday: The Amanda-Clearcreek Aces (14-1, 9-1) can claim the Mid-State League Buckeye Division championship with a win over rival Logan Elm. The title would be the Aces’ first since 2000.
South Euclid Regina at Pickerington Central, Girls Basketball, Saturday: While this is a non-league contest, two of the better programs in the state clash with Division III undefeated Regina looking to knock off Division I Central.
Lancaster Fisher Catholic at Grandview Heights, Boys Basketball, Tuesday (Feb. 10): Fisher Catholic has a two-game lead in the Mid-State League’s Cardinal Division over Grandview and Harvest Prep. The Irish won a close 57-54 meeting with Grandview on Jan. 9.