Central Ohio Huddle: Ready’s Graessle explodes for 67 points in regional sweep

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Central Ohio Huddle

It was quite a week for central Ohio basketball fans as three teams from
the area made their first appearances in the girls basketball state
tournament. Reynoldsburg suffered a heart-breaking overtime loss and
Miami Trace lost too much ground in the second half in state semifinal
action. Harvest Prep did grab the area a state championship trophy with a
win over perennial power Berlin Hiland.


It was quite a week for central Ohio basketball fans as three teams from the area made their first appearances in the girls basketball state tournament. Reynoldsburg suffered a heart-breaking overtime loss and Miami Trace lost too much ground in the second half in state semifinal action. Harvest Prep did grab the area a state championship trophy with a win over perennial power Berlin Hiland.

On the boys hardwood, the place to be on Saturday night was the Ohio Expo Center Coliseum as Gahanna ended Northland’s bid for a repeat in convincing fashion before 6,000 fans. Bishop Ready and Newark Catholic also punched tickets to the Final Four.

TEAM OF THE WEEK

Harvest Prep girls basketball: Harvest Prep captured its first girls basketball state championship with a 45-41 win over Berlin Hiland in a Division IV game. Shicole Watts led the Warriors with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds. Watts shot 4 of 8 from the field. Jaren Francis had nine points and six rebounds and Lucia Herndon added six points. Harvest Prep battled from a 27-21 with a 17-10 third quarter to finish the season at 27-1.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Joe Graessle, Bishop Ready boys basketball: Graessle had two big regional tournament games to help the Silver Knights to their fourth state tournament appearance in school history. In a 60-52 win against Anna, Graessle deposited 30 points. He followed that performance with 37 points in a 66-57 overtime win over Cincinnati Taft.

NEWS, NOTES & NUGGETS

Raiders fall short: Canton McKinley outscored Reynoldsburg 6-3 in overtime to hand the Raiders a tough 42-49 loss in a Division I girls basketball state semifinal game.

Reynoldsburg, making its first appearance in the state tournament, was led by Kenyall Goodson with 15 points on 6 of 10 shooting and Aryelle Covington scored 13 points on 5 of 6 shooting. The Raiders finished the season at 21-6.

Second half dooms Miami Trace: The Miami Trace girls basketball team trailed perennial state power Kettering Alter by just two points at halftime, but Alter outscored the Panthers 34-25 in the second half to claim a 57-46 win in a Division II state semifinal game. Miami Trace, making its first appearance in the state tournament, was led by Butler-bound Jenna Cobb scoring 21 points on 9 of 15 shooting. Cobb also added six rebounds and three steals. Ashley Lawson contributed 11 points.

The Lions pit: When playing the No. 1 team in the country, shooting 61 percent from the field definitely helps. Gahanna remained undefeated on the season and clinched its first trip to the state tournament by routing previously unbeaten Northland 71-45 in a Division I boys basketball regional championship game. Gahanna, now 26-0, used its quick, guard-oriented lineup to work good shots against a taller Northland lineup, connecting on 23 of 38 shots from the field. Stevie Taylor and Rob Brandenberg each scored 19 points for the Lions. Sam Bott chipped in 14 points and Anthony Jackson had 12 points.

While Gahanna had four players hit double figures, Northland put just four players into the scorebook, led by Jared Sullinger with 24 points and J.D. Weatherspoon tallying 11 points.

Gahanna used a 23-10 second quarter run to erase a two-point Northland (23-1) lead to take control of the game.

All Green: Newark Catholic ended a Division IV boys basketball regional championship game with a 28-4 run to defeat Tree of Life 57-37. Newark Catholic, which clinched its first state tournament appearance, got a key three-pointer from Derek Adam to help ignite its struggling offense. Kevin Cox and Adam each had 13 points for the Green Wave and Matt Dawson added 10.

Jeremy Redic and Dannye Winkfield each had nine points for Tree of Life, which won its first district title en route to the Elite Eight.

Mixed results for CCL: Bishop Ready is carrying the Central Catholic League banner to the state tournament as the Silver Knights defeated Cincinnati Taft 66-57 in overtime of a Division III boys basketball regional championship game. Cody Culbertson scored seven of Ready’s last 10 points in regulation and finished with 15 points. Joe Graessle tallied 37 points against the swarming defense of Taft. Ready improved to 19-6 and is making its fourth appearance in the state field.

The news wasn’t so good for CCL comrades DeSales and Watterson. Watterson, playing in the rugged southwest Ohio regional, fell 65-43 to Dayton Dunbar in a Division II regional semifinal game. Dunbar built a 39-24 lead in the third quarter with a steady pressure defense. Mike Tighe had 14 points and Joe Lynch added 13 for Watterson, which won back-to-back district titles for the first time in school history and finishes at 17-7.

DeSales seemed like it was a good bet to be returning to the state tournament following a 62-50 regional semifinal boys basketball win over Logan Elm in a battle of state semifinalists from a year ago. DeSales, which outscored Logan Elm 35-20 in the second and third quarters, knocked down eight three-pointers in the game and was led by Nick Kellogg dropping 21 points. Clinton James added 15.

Tyler Pritchard had 16 points for Logan Elm and Adam Blake added 14. The Braves finished the season at 22-3 and won back-to-back district titles for the first time since 1962 and 1963.

The Stallions’ magic ran out against Zanesville as DeSales fell behind 12 points early in a 51-45 loss in a regional title game. Kellogg was held to just four points by the defense of Raheem Forman. Adam Griffin tallied 19 points for DeSales, which finished at 21-3.

ON TAP

Bishop Ready vs. Orrville, Division III state semifinal, Thursday at 2 p.m. at Schottenstein Center: Orrville (20-5) averages 65.4 points per game and is led by Jacob Bolyard, who averages 21.4 points per game. Ready (19-6) will look to Graessle, who is averaging 22.6 points per game to lead the way.

Newark Catholic vs. Toledo Ottawa Hills, Division IV state semifinal, Friday at 10:45 a.m. at Schottenstein Center: With three scorers averaging in double figures, look for another balanced effort from the Green Wave (24-1) against Ottawa Hills (24-1).

Gahanna vs. Massillon Jackson, Division I state semifinal, Friday at 8:30 p.m. at Schottenstein Center: Gahanna will have to combat another tall lineup as Jackson has 6-7 forward Josh Egner and 6-8 center Mark Henninger, who averages 21 points per game.

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