Upset Alert? Previewing the Division I Central District second round

Khalil Iverson will be looked to lead Delaware Hayes to a big second round win at home vs. New Albany - Scarberry Media

After a relatively predictable first round that did not feature many upsets, the Central District's second round looks to offer a different outcome.

Following a first round of games in the Division I bracket of the Central District that went rather smoothly for most high-ranked teams, let's take a look at some of the top matchups in the second round.

The Top Games

No. 20 Briggs (14-8) vs. No. 15 Reynoldsburg (13-10)

When: Friday at 7 p.m.

Where: Reynoldsburg High School - Summit Campus

A look at the matchup

Following a much closer than expected win over No. 28 Chillicothe in the first round, Reynoldsburg heads into Friday with another challenging game at home. Squaring off with a scrappy Briggs team that is one of the area's most improved since last year, Friday's matchup is one of the best in the area. Let's see how these teams match up.

Common Opponents

Eastmoor Academy

Briggs: Lost 75-34 at home on Dec. 17; Won 47-42 on the road on Jan. 24

Reynoldsburg: Lost 50-48 on the road on Jan. 11

Lancaster

Briggs: Won 63-49 at home on Nov. 29

Reynoldsburg: Won 72-44 at home on Jan. 3; Won 69-40 on the road on Feb. 4

Marion-Franklin

Briggs: Lost 62-48 at home on Dec. 10; Lost 73-64 on the road on Jan. 17

Reynoldsburg: Lost 67-66 at home on Dec. 27

By the Numbers

Opponent win percentage

Briggs: .425 (141-190)

Reynoldsburg: .583 (203-145)

Outlook

Look for Friday's game to be one complete with swarming ball pressure, high-tempo, and a game eventually won on second-chance opportunities. With an experienced backcourt with senior Travis Gleason and junior Lloyd Chatman, Reynoldsburg will likely put Briggs freshman point guard Danny Corbett to the test with tight ball pressure and multiple traps. If Briggs can limit turnovers, hit open shots, and attack the offensive glass, the Bruins will have a great chance to come away with a tough victory on the road. However, Chatman is the Raiders' catalyst on offense, and if Briggs fails to keep the junior in check, look for the Raiders to pull away late and advance to a likely matchup with Newark in the district semifinals.

No. 25 Westerville North (11-12) vs. No. 8 Westerville Central (17-5)

When: Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Where: Westerville Central High School

A look at the matchup

With a tight victory over Worthington Kilbourne in the first round, Westerville North advances to face rival Westerville Central in the second round. Choosing to go after the Warhawks, North heads into a game on Wednesday that will be one for the ages with two teams very familiar with one another.

Previous meetings

Dec. 20: Westerville Central wins at home, 58-55.

Jan. 31: Westerville Central wins on the road, 64-63.

By the Numbers

Opponent Win Percentage

Westerville North: .607 (213-138)

Westerville Central: .517 (176-164)

Outlook

After two meetings decided by a total of four points, Wednesday's matchup is likely to come down to the wire. Beating a rival team twice in the same season is a difficult task, but doing it three times is an entirely different monster. For Westerville Central, this is the dilemma the Warhawks face. While Central has been rolling as of late, winning seven of their last eight games, North has been in a bit of a slump, losing six of their last nine. I expect another nail-biter in Westerville, with Warhawk seniors Eric James, Kwamel Wade and Jalen Malone having big games to advance to the district semifinals to square off with the winner of New Albany and Delaware Hayes. However, if Central cannot get enough scoring distribution, look for Warriors seniors Isaiah Keene and RJ Hutcherson to make a major difference in a game that North is very capable of winning.

No. 18 New Albany (13-9) vs. No. 10 Delaware Hayes (20-3)

When: Friday at 7 p.m.

Where: Delaware Hayes High School

A look at the matchup

Splitting the season series, Delaware Hayes and New Albany are no strangers to eachother. Just nine days ago, a Khalil Iverson offensive rebound and put back as time expired gave Delaware a 38-37 victory over New Albany, and most importantly, a share of the OCC-Capital division title, shared with the Eagles. Looking for revenge on the Pacers' home floor, New Albany likes its position as the underdog on Friday.

Previous meetings

Dec 10: New Albany wins at home, 57-40.

Feb. 15: Delaware wins at home, 38-37.

By the Numbers

Opponent Win Percentage

New Albany: .536 (180-156)

Delaware Hayes: .500 (162-162)

Outlook

Holding Delaware to 78 total points in two meetings this year, New Albany has been the crux for the Pacers this season. While Delaware tends to be able to get up and down the floor on their opponents, the Pacers have not been able to do so in two meetings with the Eagles this year. Just narrowly escaping a second-consecutive loss to New Albany on Feb. 15, Delaware hopes Friday's game has a little more of a comfortable outcome. While Khalil Iverson has been playing the basketball of his life lately, the rest of the Pacer lineup has had trouble finding consistency. Look for Friday's matchup to be slow-paced once again, with the game being won in the rebounding department as each team features lengthy front courts. As expected, Iverson will likely carry the load for Delaware, while New Albany juniors John Miller and Chris London look to have big games in a contest that could hinge either way. Check out some highlights of Iverson's performance vs. Jerome in the first round below.

No. 17 Marysville (14-9) vs. No. 13 Olentangy Liberty (14-8)

When: Friday at 7 p.m.

Where: Olentangy Liberty High School

A look at the matchup

Also splitting the season series, Friday's matchup between Marysville and Olentangy Liberty might just be the night's most intriguing. Defeating Marysville by 26 on the road back in December, Liberty dropped a close one at home to the Monarchs roughly a month later, 69-64. As Marysville has picked up loads of confidence with wins vs. the Patriots and Dublin Coffman, the Monarchs chose to go directly at Liberty during the Central District tournament draw.

Previous meetings

Dec. 21: Olentangy Liberty wins on the road, 77-51.

Jan. 29: Marysville wins on the road, 69-65.

By the Numbers

Opponent Win Percentage

Marysville: .496 (175-178)

Olentangy Liberty: .531 (189-167)

Outlook

With a district semifinal berth on the line, Friday's contest at Olentangy Liberty looks to be one of the night's better battles. As two of the area's top scorers, Liberty's Mike Deleon and Marysville's Logan Roston, go at it, expect a defensive struggle in the second half between two teams very familiar with one another. After beating Marysville by 26 in December, Liberty rolled into three consecutive losses in the Kissimmee Invitational against three teams with a combined record of 67-21, adding to an already difficult schedule. After falling four points short of Northland for a district championship a year ago, Liberty is an experienced unit that looks to have the upper hand to keep rolling into a likely district semifinal with Pickerington Central. However, if Roston goes off offensively, something the senior is very capable of, the Monarchs have a chance to win their second-straight game on the Patriots' home floor.

No. 23 Franklin Heights (13-10) vs. No. 12 Grove City (16-6)

When: Friday at 7 p.m.

Where: Grove City High School

A look at the matchup

After battling to the final minutes in the first matchup against Franklin Heights, Grove City heads into Friday preparing for a Falcon team rolling with confidence and momentum. Blowing out Mount Vernon 60-36 on Saturday, Franklin Heights is a team coming together at the right time after losing its starting point guard midway through the season. Expect Friday's battle between two district rivals to be a classic.

Previous meeting

Dec. 27: Grove City wins at home, 72-67.

Common Opponents

Dublin Jerome

Franklin Heights: Won at home, 56-55, on Dec. 28

Grove City: Won at home, 72-69, on Jan. 21

Groveport

Franklin Heights: Lost on the road, 56-51, on Dec. 10

Grove City: Won at home, 96-66, on Dec. 13; Won on the road, 72-63, on Feb. 1

Westland

Franklin Heights: Won at home, 51-46, on Feb. 11

Grove City: Won at home, 107-48, on Nov. 29; Won on the road, 72-60, on Jan. 14

By the Numbers

Opponent Win Percentage

Franklin Heights: .467 (155-177)

Grove City: .473 (150-167)

Outlook

While Grove City seems to hold the advantage in this matchup, I see Friday's contest coming down to the wire as a senior-laden Franklin Heights team will refuse to be denied. Grove City will more than likely be led by guards Nic Bapst and Tyler Dunn, while Franklin Heights will desperately need scoring from twin brothers Jon Tinker and Jonathan Tinker, in addition to the usual production of senior power forward Akiean Frederick. In the first matchup, Franklin Heights missed several opportunities late, while a few favorable calls swung in favor of Grove City. In order to pull the upset, the Falcons will need to execute for 32 minutes, limit turnovers, and keep Bapst out of the lane. If Franklin Heights fails to do any of those three things, look for a matchup between Grove City and No. 3 Upper Arlington in the district semifinals.

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