A buzzer-beating three away from being undefeated on the 2013-14 season, Upper Arlington added another major statement victory, defeating Gahanna 55-49 for a Central District Division I title. Holding all but one opponent to less than 50 points this season, Upper Arlington controlled the tempo in a limiting Gahanna offensively on Saturday.
Led by Kevin Vannatta's 24 points, Upper Arlington played mistake free basketball and executed on both ends of the floor for the entirety of Saturday's game. Heading into halftime with a 26-20 lead, Upper Arlington survived a third quarter rally from Gahanna, heading into the final frame with a 39-36 lead. Going back and forth with Gahanna in the fourth quarter, the Golden Bears were just the better team down the stretch to secure the win.
Despite 20 points from Gahanna senior Javon Bess, Upper Arlington limited the oversized Lions, as Nick Ward and Matt Moyer combined to score just 17 points. Limiting Gahanna on the glass, Upper Arlington played great fundamental basketball to take home a major victory.
Outside of Vannatta, senior guard Danny Hummer went for nine points and three rebounds, in addition to applying great pressure on Gahanna's guards on the perimeter. Senior guard Wes Davis added six points, while senior center Logan Richter added six as well. Reserve forwards Harrison Heath and Griffin Caldwell put in valuable minutes off the bench as Richter got into a bit of foul trouble in the second half.
For Gahanna, Ward's 13 points and Manny Powell's 10 points were the only help Bess received on the scoring side as Gahanna ends a season with major expectations.
With the win, Upper Arlington advances to play Pickerington Central on March 13 at 7 p.m. Taking down a powerhouse OCC-Ohio program in Gahanna on Saturday, don't be surprised it the Golden Bears do it again next week.