JD Davis powers East to road win over River Valley

By: Zach Fleer / @YS614

Playing their first game in 16 days, JD Davis and the East Tigers advanced to the district semifinals after a hard-fought road win over 14th-seeded River Valley (12-12), 45-41. Davis stuffed the stat sheet for the Tigers, going for 14 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks to power East to their 11th win of the season.

Traveling 50 miles north of the Capital City to the Marion area, East came out sluggish in the first half against a defensively oriented River Valley squad. Struggling to get Davis involved in the offense early on, Jacob Craft led the way for the Tigers through two quarters, providing the majority of the scoring and several key offensive rebounds. Heading into halftime leading 20-16, the Tigers turned up the tempo for the remaining 16 minutes.

Using Davis to attack from the top of the key and the baseline, the senior scored 10 of his 14 in the second half, rising over River Valley’s smaller forwards. The Vikings had trouble in the paint dealing with Davis’ length, having several shots swatted which in turn led to transition buckets for the Tigers.

Davis blocks a shot off the backboard in the first half. Davis had six blocks on the night

Davis blocks a shot off the backboard in the first half. Davis had six blocks on the night

“Our defense was good and was the key to our win tonight,” said Davis.

Senior James Curry had a crucial stretch midway through the third quarter, collecting steals on two-straight possessions which stretched the Tiger lead to nine, at 32-23 with just over a minute to go. River Valley ended the third on a 4-0 run to decrease the deficit to five heading into the final frame.

With a comfortable lead for the majority of the fourth, East found a once eight point advantage with just over two minutes vanish quickly following a 6-0 River Valley run in a span of 20 seconds. Poor shot-selection and missed free-throws nearly cost the Tigers the game as River Valley had a chance to tie it at 43 with just under 30 seconds remaining. Davis’ biggest rebound came after a missed Curry free-throw with the Tigers only up two. Craft would nail his next two free-throws to secure the victory for East, 45-41.

East’s victory sets them up for a district semifinal rematch with Brookhaven on March 6. The Bearcats advanced easily over London, 90-49 earlier tonight. Four Brookhaven starters scored at least 15 points, led by Deiondray Martin’s 21and Randal Clarkson’s 18. Brookhaven won both meetings vs. East earlier this season, including a 40-point home win on Feb. 5. The two City-League North squads will square off at Olentangy High School to decide who will advance to the district final. East will have to rely on smart decision-making and their post game to defeat the top-seeded Bearcats.

“We have to improve on our energy and decision-making, and we just have to play smart. They can’t match up with us in the post,” Davis said following tonight’s victory in regards to next week’s matchup against Brookhaven.

East will need a heavy dosage of inside-scoring and perimeter defense to knock off their City-League rivals in what could be the biggest upset of tournament season.

Marion-Franklin upsets Bishop Hartley, 51-48.

Behind Marquiez Lawrence’s 14 points and 14 rebounds, the Marion-Franklin Red Devils (12-12) advanced to the district semifinals in a road upset at Bishop Hartley (12-9), 51-48. The biggest play of the game came with just under 20 seconds remaining, when Demetrius Walker stole an in-bounds pass and scored to secure the win for the 11th-seeded Red Devils over the 5th-seeded Hawks. Marion-Franklin’s victory is just one of many for the City-League tonight in tournament action.

Beechcroft shocks Buckeye Valley in huge road win

12th-seeded Beechcroft (11-13) won on the road against 4th-seeded Buckeye Valley (19-4), 47-43. The Cougars were led in scoring by First-Team All-City selection Patrick Ngene, who scored 19 points in a major road upset for Beechcroft. Beechcroft’s victory sets them up for yet another City vs. City matchup in the district semifinals, next Wednesday vs. Marion-Franklin.

Osbourne goes for 37 points as Centennial rallies to win at South

Trailing by 14 going into the fourth, First-Team All-City selection Boo Osbourne scored 20 of his 37 points in the final frame, including a layup with with two seconds remaining to lift Centennial (14-7) over South (15-8), 69-67. South had many opportunities to put the game away in the fourth quarter, but missed their final six free-throw attempts. The Bulldogs were led in scoring by Aaron Mullins’ 15 points and Chris Byrd’s 12. Centennial outscored South 32-16 in the last eight minutes to advance to the district semifinals to face St. Francis DeSales (13-12), who defeated Granville (17-8) 36-34 earlier this evening. Osborne was the only Centennial player to score in double-digits.

Eastmoor wins big at home vs. Big Walnut

Seventh-seeded Eastmoor Academy (17-7) continued to roll tonight in a 59-42 home win over Big Walnut (7-17). The Warriors had a balanced-scoring attack in the win, as three Eastmoor players went for double-digits, none more clutch than Lavoris Brown’s ten points which came primarily in a 21-8 fourth quarter run.

Eastmoor advances to play second-seeded Bishop Watterson (22-1) who hung on to defeat 16th-seeded Mifflin (10-14) at home, 61-56. Watterson outscored the Punchers 14-6 in the final quarter of play to advance. J Murrell led the Punchers in scoring with 18 points, while Watterson had three players score at least 14 points in the win. Watterson vs. Eastmoor precedes the matchup between Brookhaven and East on March 6 at Olentangy High School.

The Columbus City-League did damage once again, advancing six teams to the district semifinals in Division II action. Lower-seeded City teams won on the road in four contests tonight. Continue to follow Scarberry Productions for more City-League action in the coming weeks.