On a day that looked to have several intriguing match ups, Friday night's basketball action in Central Ohio certainly lived up to the hype. Let's take a look at some of the top headlines from Friday, while nominating several top performers from around the area.
Marysville upsets Olentangy Liberty behind Roston's 15 points
After defeating Olentangy Liberty on its home floor on Jan. 29, Marysville again came away with a win on the road, this time defeating the Patriots, 68-64. Behind senior guard Logan Roston's team-high 15 points, Marysville doubled a five-point halftime lead by the end of the third quarter, hanging on late vs. a surging Liberty squad.
Although senior forward Mike DeLeon went for a game-high 19 points, Liberty shot unsurprisingly poor from the free-throw line, converting on just 16 of 28 attempts from the charity stripe, a development that certainly made a difference in Friday's game.
With the win, Marysville advances to play Pickerington Central in the district semifinals on Wed. March 5 at 7 p.m. at Westerville Central High School. Central is coming off a 71-47 win over Canal Winchester.
Delaware Hayes hangs on late in rematch vs. New Albany
Thirteen days after defeating New Albany 38-37 in the final seconds, Delaware Hayes matched its previous point total on Friday night, defeating the Eagles 38-36 to advance to the district semifinals. Behind 11 points, 11 rebounds, and five blocks from junior forward Khalil Iverson, Delaware hung onto a four-point lead at the end of the third quarter to close out New Albany late.
For New Albany, junior guard Austin Schaub led the way with 13 points. After defeating Hayes 57-40 in the teams' first meeting of the season, New Albany has dropped its last two meetings with the Pacers by a combined three points.
For Hayes, the Pacers have won 14 straight and 19 of their last 20 games. With the win, Hayes advances to face Westerville Central on Wed. March 5 at 7 p.m. at Olentangy Orange High School.
Balanced scoring and interior defense helps Reynoldsburg defeat Briggs
In one of the more intriguing matchups of the night, Reynoldsburg used a balanced scoring effort from a deep supporting cast to take down Briggs, 65-49.
Led by senior guard Chiante Palm's 15 points, Reynoldsburg enjoyed 29 points from its bench in dispatching the fiesty Bruins on Friday. Jumping out to a 19-11 lead after the first quarter, Reynoldsburg utilized mass substitutions to keep a solid core fresh for 32 minutes.
As Palm and freshman wing Reece Strohm each scored nine points in the first half to lead the Raiders, Reynoldsburg went into halftime with a 39-25 lead. The Raiders would up the tempo in the third quarter, extending the lead to 15, 51-36 going into the final frame.
The key to Friday's game was interior defense and rebounding for Reynoldsburg. Holding a 33-16 advantage on the glass, Reynoldsburg eliminated second-chance opportunities for Briggs, while making every shot inside the lane difficult for the Bruins, as the Raiders executed flawlessly with help-side defense. As senior guard Travis Gleason helped the Raiders execute swarming ball-pressure, the Raiders played an excellent game in eliminating any hope for a Briggs rally throughout the second half.
Getting 29 points from the bench, Reynoldsburg's reserves were led by Strohm's 11 points. At 6'4, Strohm is an intriguing freshman with great confidence on the offensive end, seemingly having an endless green light from behind-the-arc. Sophomore forward Mark Fair Jr. added seven points, as the 6'3 forward was a difficult matchup for the Bruins post players whenever he entered the game.
For Briggs, junior combo-guard Rodney Willis led all scorers with 13 points, in addition to three rebounds, three assists and two steals. Senior forward Travon Hester added nine points, while senior guard Dante Brown played an excellent game off the bench, going for nine points, and six steals. Freshman point guard Danny Corbett was held to two points, as Gleason and junior guard Lloyd Chatman defended Corbett with suffocating pressure for the entirety of the game.
With the win, Reynoldsburg advances to the district semifinals for a rematch with OCC-Ohio division rival Newark on Tues. March 4 at 7 p.m. Losing both matchups to the Wildcats by a combined eight points, Reynoldsburg comes into Tuesday's matchup with a ton to prove, and rolling with momentum at the right time.
Holding star Newark guard Jordan Dartis to 11 points in the teams' prior meeting with the Wildcats, Reynoldsburg will need a similar defensive performance from Gleason on the talented junior for the Raiders to have a shot to pull off an upset for a berth in the district finals.
Friday's Top Performers
David Dennis Jr. (6'0 Junior PG / Harvest Prep):
Scoring a Friday night-high 28 points, Dennis was dominant in Harvest Prep's 85-50 win over Wellington. Connecting form deep five times on Friday, Dennis was a matchup nightmare for Wellington, on both ends of the floor as Harvest Prep outscored its opponents 21-0 in the second quarter. One of the leading scorers in Central Ohio, Dennis has Harvest Prep rolling with confidence and momentum in a postseason with high expectations for the Warriors. Check out Dennis' 28-point, 10-assist performance below.
Ulmer Manzie (6'8 Junior C / Africentric):
Going for a season-high 22 points and 10 rebounds, Manzie was the dominant force in the middle as Africentric rolled over Northside Christian, 88-36. One of the top big men in Central Ohio, Manzie has worlds of potential, and finally put it together on Friday, showing just how dominant the 6'8 junior can be. With great length and athleticism, Manzie has quick feet for a post player of his size and stature, and is a relentless rebounder. On an Africentric team that is one of Division IV's most athletic, don't be surprised if the Nubians put all the pieces together at the right time for a run at a state championship.
Akiean Frederick (6'6 Senior PF / Franklin Heights):
Capping a senior season that was full of highs for Frederick, the 6'6 power forward had one of his best performances in a close loss for Franklin Heights. Going for a game-high 24 points, Frederick showed off his full offensive arsenal, knocking down two triples from behind-the-arc. After playing primarily JV as a junior, Frederick has exploded onto the scene this year and looks to be a definite Division-II prospect at the college level. At 6'6, Frederick is a potent scorer on the low block, but can also stretch the floor with improved shooting. Receiving interest from Otterbein, Wayne State, Lake Erie College, and Ohio Dominican, among others, expect Frederick to continue to receive interest as the spring rolls on.
Tyler Primmer (6'4 Senior SF / Teays Valley):
Committed to Division-II power West Liberty, Primmer, one of the area's most underrated seniors, went for a game-high 27 points in addition to 10 rebounds in Teays Valley's 84-62 win over Hilliard Darby. Jumping out to a 45-25 lead at halftime, Primmer and Teays Valley continued to put the pressure on the Panthers for the remainder of the game to set up a district semifinal matchup with top-overall seed Northland on Tues. March 4. As Primmer has been the main scoring option for the Vikings, Teays Valley with need a monumental performance from the senior for any chance at pulling an upset over Northland.