While most central Ohio basketball fans are hoping to get a good seat at the Fairgrounds Coliseum next weekend to watch their favorite high school team; unknown to most fans, for about a week, 17 freshmen teams have been competing for a championship of their own at the 2010 Raider 9th Grade Basketball Tournament at Reynoldsburg High School. Tonight, with a 61-59 semi-final win over the Gahanna Lincoln Lions (13-3), the Olentangy Liberty Patriots (12-2) punched their ticket to the tournament championship game on Saturday, where they will face off against the Reynoldsburg Raiders (14-2).
In the contest tonight, the Patriots jumped out to an early lead and entered the locker room at half time with a 32-33 lead. However, after the Lions scored on 3 consecutive possessions to start the second half, the lead shrunk to 32-30. Gahanna took lead (40-39) with 2:15 left in the 3rd quarter, and began the 4th period with a 45-43 lead. The Lions appeared to have the game wrapped up with 21 seconds left in the contest when Troy Mundy stepped to the free three line with a 1 point lead (59-58) and a chance to put his team up by 3 points. However, although Mundy converted the front end of a one-and-one, his foot was over the line, and his made shot was waived off. As you would expect, Liberty pushed the ball up courtt and drained a treyr with 4 seconds remaining to go up by two points. Although Gahanna got off a shot with 2 seconds left, a runner off the mark. The leading scorers for Olentangy was Zach VanGundy who scored a team-high 12 points. For Gahanna, Troy Mundy dropped a game-high 17 points and Aaron Jackson, the leading scorer in the tournament with 54 points in 3 games, added 15 points.
The championship game between Olentangy and Reynoldsburg is scheduled for Saturday at 6:00pm, while Gahanna will face Grove City in the 3rd place game at 4:30pm. In the first game of the night, the Reynoldsburg Raiders defeated Grove City 53-45. Leading scorers in the game were Reynoldsburg's Nathanael Wallace (15 points) and Jaylen Givens (14 points). Grove City's Dominic Marion scored a team-high 12 points. At the conclusion of the tournament an all-tournament team will be selected. From what I hear, Gahanna's Aaron Jackson; Reynoldsburg's Grant Coleman and Jaylen Givens are believed to be favorites. Check out the pictures on the Buckeye Prep Fan page. For the final results of the tournament including the All-Tournament Team and other standout performers, see the final report submitted by Gary West in the comment section below!