With four games on the slate on Tuesday night, each top seed advanced in district semifinal play. While none of the four games were blowouts, each top seed flexed its muscle to advance to Saturday's district final round. Let's take a look at some of the action from Tuesday night.
Northland survives four-point third quarter to take down Teays Valley
In a game that seemed to be fairly easy for Northland coming into Tuesday night, the top-seeded Vikings had a bit of trouble in dispatching No. 21 seed Teays Valley, 51-44.
Heading into halftime with a 30-16 lead, Northland was outscored 14-4 in the third quarter to head into an interesting fourth quarter with just a 34-30 lead. Northland would have the advantage in the fourth, outscoring the underdog Teays Valley 17-14 to advance to yet another district championship game.
Leading the way for Northland was sophomore wing Seth Towns, who went for a game-high 17 points. Towns led Northland with two field goals from behind-the-arc, in addition to a game-high five points from the free-throw line. No other Northland player scored in double-digits, as junior center Doug Taylor added nine points, while seniors Jaylen Tucker and Derek McKeithen each had eight points.
For Teays Valley, senior combo-guard Tyler Primmer led all Viking scorers with 15 points, including nine points from the three-point line. Primmer wraps up a brilliant career at Teays Valley as one of the area's top scorers this season, and looks to have a successful career at the next level for Division II power West Liberty.
With the win, Northland advances to face the winner of No. 8 Westerville Central and No. 10 Delaware Hayes on Sat. March 8 at 1 p.m. at the Ohio Fairgrounds Coliseum. Northland's road to regionals looks to be more challenging than in recent years as the Vikings don't seem to be the vaunted threat that they have been in the past.
Clutch free-throw shooting leads Newark over Reynoldsburg
In a game that was plagued with fouls, fouls and more fouls, Newark had the upper hand in defeating Reynoldsburg, 63-59. After two close match ups earlier in the season, Newark completed the season sweep of the Raiders on Tuesday to advance to a second-straight district championship game.
Led by Jordan Dartis' 20 points, Newark converted 22-of-25 free-throws in the second half to put away Reynoldsburg. As Raiders' big men Josh McCoy and Elijah Camara battled foul trouble all game, Newark was able to punish Reynoldsburg on the interior on Tuesday to take home the win.
Even in a game where the junior star Dartis never seemed to be fully dialed in, the Wildcats were able to execute well enough offensively to keep Reynoldsburg at a distance in the fourth quarter. As the Raiders used a 25-13 advantage in the third quarter to head into the final frame with a 44-43 lead, Dartis and the Wildcats struck right back in the fourth to regain the lead.
Reynoldsburg would get as close as one, as senior guard Chiante Palm knocked down three free-throws to cut the lead to 52-51 with 3:45 to go, but the Raiders would never get over the hump. As Palm knocked down two more free-throws to cut the Newark lead to 58-56 with 1:13 to go, senior Newark forward Grant Russell's two points from the charity stripe 38 seconds later would put the nail in the coffin as Reynoldsburg failed to execute on the following possession. Dartis knocked down a silky-smooth step back jump shot to ice the game for Newark on the ensuing possession, as the Wildcats advance to play the winner of No. 7 Walnut Ridge and No. 9 Dublin Coffman on Sat. March 8 at 10 a.m.
For the Wildcats, Dartis' 20 points were a game-high, while senior center Teddy Metzen added 14 points. Junior point guard Khayle Woods had a solid performance, going for nine points, six rebounds, while playing great perimeter defense on Reynoldsburg's talented backcourt. Junior reserve forward Darius Shackleford added five points and seven rebounds off the bench.
For Reynoldsburg, Palm led all Raiders scorers with 17 points, three rebounds and three steals. Junior guard Lloyd Chatman also added 17, while freshman forward Reece Strohm pitched in eight points off the bench. Guards Jarius Ward and Travis Gleason were limited to just nine combined points, a factor in Tuesday's game that made a major difference.
Gahanna has no problems with St. Charles in 53-33 victory
After heading into the second quarter tied at four, Gahanna turned up the pressure for the remainder of Tuesday's district semifinal contest, outscoring St. Charles 49-29 to advance to the district finals with a 20-point win. Led by Michigan State signee Javon Bess' 13 points, Gahanna outscored St. Charles 30-13 in the second half to wrap up a 53-33 win.
Sophomore Gahanna center Nick Ward added 12 points, while electric junior guard Dez Wright also scored in double-figures with 10 points. Gahanna knocked down just one shot from behind-the-arc, but won the advantage in the paint in Tuesday's win.
For St. Charles, senior forward Sean Hennessey led all scorers with 14 points, 12 of which coming from behind the three-point line. Matt Hennessey added nine points for the Cardinals, who end a 13-10 season on a rather high note after winning two tournament games on the road at Thomas Worthington and Groveport.
With the win, Gahanna advances to play the winner of No. 3 Upper Arlington and No. 12 Grove City on Sat. March 8 at 7 p.m. Gahanna swept the season series vs. Grove City in two previous matchups this season.
Zanesville uses 16-6 fourth quarter to take down Westerville South
Heading into the fourth quarter trailing Westerville South 46-45, Zanesville used a 16-6 fourth quarter to take down the Wildcats in a game at Westerville Central, 62-51. Led by senior guard JT McFarland's 16 points, the Blue Devils survived to head into a district final match at 24-1.
After racing out to a 20-11 lead after one quarter of play, Zanesville was outscored by a young and talented Westerville South squad 34-26 in the middle two quarters. Holding the Wildcats to just six points in the fourth, Zanesville finished strong to set up an anticipated district championship game vs. the winner of No. 6 Pickerington Central and No. 17 Marysville. The experienced Blue Devils out-rebounded South 35-22 to the tune of 22 second-chance points, a factor in Saturday's game that made for a major difference.
For the Blue Devils, McFarland's 16 points were a game-high, while guard-forward Malik Bocock added 13 points, seven rebounds and five steals for Zanesville.
For Westerville South, junior forward Jordan Humphrey led all Wildcat scorers with 13 points, while sophomore point guard Jelani Rogers scored in double-figures with 10 points. Sophomore forward Andre Wesson was held to just seven points, well below his season average.
With the win, Zanesville heads into an important district final matchup on Saturday at 4 p.m. Heading into the Central District tournament draw undefeated, the Blue Devils felt disrespected drawing the No. 4 seed, as many area coaches feel the Blue Devils are slightly overrated. With a matchup vs. either a confident Pick Central team without its star player, or a Cinderella Marysville team led by high-scoring senior Logan Roston, the Blue Devils are certainly going to be tested on Saturday in what should be one of the day's best games.