In middle school hoops action tonight, Westerville Blendon's 8th grade squad fought off a raucous Gahanna Middle School South crowd to squeak out a 51-49 victory. Despite Gahanna's rabid student section who had declared a "black out" for the game, and the first ever cheerleader squad, Blendon rode a spectacular performance by Darryl Long to claim a hard fought victory. Long dominated the boards with double digit rebounds while also exploding offensively with a game-high 24 points. Blendon jumped out to a quick lead and entered the locker room at half time with a 27-18 lead. Gahanna's halftime adjustment included an aggressive zone press that worked to perfection and got the Lions back in the game. The Lions started strong to begin the second half with a steal and fast break layup by Julian Scott. At the end of the 3rd quarter the score was 31-39 in Blendon's favor. With 13.8 seconds left in the contest, Blendon clung to a skimpy 2 point lead (49-47). Although it appeared that Darryl Long had clinched the win when he stepped to charity strip and calmly sunk 2 free throws to put Blendon up by 2 points with 11 seconds remaining, the Lions still had one last chance to steal the victory when an Evan White trey rimmed out as time expired. The Lions were led in scoring by Julian Scott and Ethan Fernandez who finished with 14 points each, and Evan White who contributed 11 points. The leading scorers for Westerville Blendon was Long with 24 points, Torrod Carter with 12 points and Justin Bennett who finished with 8 points. What a great middle school basketball game! Oh yea, Westerville was undefeated on the night, as the 7th grade team claimed a blowout victory.