Newark Catholic's Nate Adams had nine points and 11 rebounds as the Green Wave advanced to their first basketball state championship game in history. (Photo by Gary Housteau)
COLUMBUS - In Friday’s opener at the 88th annual boys state basketball tournament Newark Catholic defended its way to Saturday’s Division IV state championship game with a 48-36 victory over Toledo Ottawa Hills at OSU’s Schottenstein Center.
It certainly wasn’t pretty, and at times it seemed like the Green Wave was dominating every facet of the game. However, after digging deeper into the box score it was clear Newark Catholic wasn’t as dominant as it seemed. Though, there were two areas they controlled.
Both teams canned 14 two-point field goals, both had seven turnovers and NC held a slight edge on the boards (28-25), but the Green Wave had a distinctive advantage behind the arc making five triples to the lone trey made by the Green Bears.
The part the box score doesn’t show is Ottawa Hills leading scorers Eliot Browarsky, Andrew Jamieson, and JJ Buckey came into the game averaging a combined 41 points per game and were held to just 19 points together.
Browarsky had just one bucket in the first 29 minutes of the game before managing four free-throws and a late bucket in the final three minutes to finish with eight points. He was 2-of-8 from the field.
Buckey’s points were limited to six on 2-of-11 shooting and Jamison was only able to tally five points on 2-of-11 shooting as well.
Buckey was able to make the Green Bears lone 3, which didn’t occur until 3:27 to play in the third quarter. OH was 1-of-12 in the game from distance.
Nearly every time Browarsky attempted to drive the lane the Green Wave had help waiting. The few times he was able to get room to the basket the Elon soccer recruit was able to dish to open teammates. Browarksy finished with five assists with freshman Lucas Janowicz being on the receiving end of most. Janowicz led the Green Bears (24-2) with nine points and six rebounds.
Credit senior Matt Dawson and classmate Derek Adam for the majority of the work done on Browarsky, and rugged Nate Adams for the help in the paint.
Amazingly, Ottawa Hills went to the locker room down 18-15 despite just four total points from the above three.
Following a Green Bear free-throw, the Green Wave ran off eight-straight to start the third period and never looked back. Senior James Moerman caught a lob pass and laid the ball in the basket, and Dawson followed with a basket and free-throw. Moerman finished the run off with a 3.
Newark Catholic (25-1) was true to doing what it does best. The Green Wave was able to cut down on penetration, challenge almost every shot and answer almost every Green Bear point with at least one of its own giving OH no chance of a run or comeback.
The Green Wave had nice balance led by Dawson with 11 points on just 2-of-9 shooting and six rebounds. Moerman followed with 10 points including two 3-point goals and Nate Adams and Phillip Taylor each had nine. Adams, a 6-foot-4 senior, added 11 rebounds and three blocks.
NC will face the winner of Friday’s other semifinal showcasing Dayton Jefferson and Bedford Chanel. The title game will be Saturday at 5:15 p.m.