As the fourth quarter wound down, Westerville North guard Jack Gibbs turned to the student section and pointed to them his flexed arm. That was a perfect explanation of what the Warriors did tonight against visiting Dublin Scioto. Westerville North flexed their muscle and passed another big test, defeating Dublin Scioto 51-44 in OCC-Capital play. The Irish gave the North everything they wanted and more tonight, led by forward Antonio Bisutti, who scored a game-high 22 in the loss.
With the win, Westerville North (13-0, 8-0) has a full 2-game advantage on the Irish (13-2, 7-2) and archrival Westerville South.
Tonight’s game opened with much of the same that fans have seen of the Warriors throughout the season. After jumping out 14-7 with a little over a minute to play in the quarter, Scioto’s Kalib Wallace hit one of their seven threes to close the gap. Adrian Cook finished the quarter for North with a driving layup to give the Warriors a 16-10 advantage after one.
The second quarter was a defensive struggle for both teams, and a key tipping point played itself out with 1:20 left in the first half, as North lead 27-18. The Irish held the ball and attempted 2 shots in the final eighty seconds of the period, with one offensive rebound to keep possession, and never felt comfortable. Irish coach Tony Bisutti was visibly upset going to half as he kicked the trash can outside of the Scioto locker room.
The speech at halftime worked for Bisutti and Scioto, as they started on a 10-4 run, capped by an Antonio Bisutti three-pointer. The Irish scrapped back to tie the game at 35 with under two minutes left in the third.
The Warriors, on the other hand, struggled on offense during the third, but received a key boost at the end of the quarter. An RJ Hutcherson put-back at the buzzer would give North a lead they would never relinquish.
Fourth quarter play got a bit chippy, as a Brett Durden for North would receive a technical for taunting after being fouled himself with 5:11 remaining in the game. Durden would miss both free throws, and Scioto’s Josh Ashwill would uncharacteristically miss both of his as well.
The play of the night would occur just after that, a key deep three from Jack Gibbs would give the Warriors a 43-36 lead with 3:18 remaining. The Warriors would break the press of the Irish to hang on and seal win number thirteen on the year, giving them the keys to their own destiny in the OCC-Cardinal.
Adrian Cook played arguably his best game of the season, leading the Warriors with 16 points and 3 assists.