With a limited field in the 2014 Columbus Play-By-Play Classic due to inclement weather, four of Central Ohio's more talented teams took the floor despite blizzard-like conditions in the Capital City. Let's take a look at some of Saturday's top performers from across the area.
Pickerington Central's "Big Three"
While it is more than possible for Ohio State commit Jae'Sean Tate to go off for 30 points and 15 rebounds on any given night, the Pickerington Central senior has taken a different approach to scoring the ball lately for the Tigers. With the emergence of junior combo-guard Rodney Culver, and the red hot sharp-shooting of senior guard Connor Kern, the Tigers' "Big Three" have been gigantic as of late, and have taken the burden of scoring off the back of Tate. Combining for 65 points in Saturday night's contest vs. powerhouse Columbus Northland, Tate, Culver, and Kern made the difference in a statement win for Pickerington Central, 74-70. Culver was effective in all facets of the game, finishing with 18 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Scorching the nets from three in the first half, Kern was an absolute killer for the Tigers, punishing Northland for lackadaisical defense on the drive. The Arkansas State commit went into halftime with 16 points, while converting on major free-throws down the stretch to finish with a game-high 30 points. Tate, finishing with 17 points, had a pair of high-flying jams, the second of which, in the midst of a huge swing in momentum as Pickerington Central went on an 8-0 run midway through the fourth quarter to avenge a five-point deficit. With the win, Pickerington Central improves to 13-3, and looks to keep rolling as the "Big Three" have the Tigers atop a stacked OCC-Ohio division.
Jaylen Tucker (6'7 PF / Columbus Northland / 2014):
Known for coming up big on the brightest of stages, Northland's Tucker was a force to be reckoned with in Saturday's contest vs. Pickerington Central. Going for a team-high 20 points, Tucker accepted the task of defending Tate for the majority of the second half, and held his own against his former AAU teammate. Adding six rebounds to his stat line, Tucker used his rare combo of length, quickness and athleticism to give the Tigers problems for the majority of the game. Arguably the top unsigned forward in Columbus, look for Tucker to continue to pick up interest as coaches look to fill recruiting classes late in the game.
Gyai Gyamerah (5'11 SG / Columbus Centennial / 2014):
Scoring a game-high 25 points in Centennial's 64-63 win vs. Dublin Jerome, the senior Gyamerah had another solid scoring outing in a string of impressive performances for the guard. With Centennial leading for the majority of Saturday's contest, Jerome conducted an 8-0 run in the final seconds to take a one-point lead with 16 seconds remaining. Centennial junior forward Anthony Slappy would save the day for the Stars, however, banking home a game-winning shot in the final seconds to down the Celtics. Averaging 12.5 points per game, Gyamerah and junior guard Joe Thomas have been the answer for the Stars as of late, highlighted by the duo's 44 combined points on Saturday.
Charles Holland (6'3 SG / Columbus West / 2014):
Continuing a high-scoring week of basketball, West's Holland was up to his old tricks once again on Saturday. Despite a 70-59 loss to Columbus East, the senior Holland led all scorers with 32 points. At the old stomping grounds of former East star Tihon Johnson, the player Holland credits for influencing his offensive skill set, the senior nearly had enough to will the Cowboys all by himself once again. Scoring 88 points in three games this week, Holland has seen a rise in exposure on the hardwood lately, but still projects to be a big-time Division-I wide receiver on the gridiron at the next level. Check out some of Holland's most recent highlights here.
Akiean Frederick (6'6 PF / Columbus Franklin Heights / 2014):
In a tough matchup on the road at St. Charles, Frederick's 21 points were enough to help Franklin Heights fend off a late-game surge by the Cardinals in a 60-59 win. Scoring 15 of his 21 in the second half, Frederick led all scorers in helping the Falcons break a four-game losing streak. At 6'6, Frederick is an efficient scorer from either block, and has shown the ability at times to step out and hit from the perimeter. When the Falcons have worked its offense through Frederick, the results have been pleasing, and Saturday's contest vs. St. Charles was an indication of that. One of the better senior forwards still left on the board in Central Ohio, Frederick would be a quality addition for any junior college or Division-III program looking for a decent-sized big with natural scoring ability. Check out some highlights of Frederick earlier in the month here.