Two teams punched their ticket to the Fairground Coliseum last night with sectional victories at Lakewood High School. Although 2nd seeded Gahanna Lincoln and Reynoldsburg both advanced to the district semi-finals next weekend, their paths to the Fairgrounds were vastly different. Gahanna faced little resistance from Watkins Memorial as they cruised to a lopsided 106-27 victory. Early in the contest, before the starters were pulled, Rob Brandenburg provided several ESPN-worthy highlights in the form thunderous dunks. Stevie Taylor was Brandenburg's set up man, as 4 of Taylor's 6 assists accounted for Brandenburg's 8 points. The leading scorer in the contest was Anthony Jackson who dropped 16 points in limited play. A perusal of Sunday mornings box scores in the Columbus Dispatch will show that every Lion scored, while several reserve players out scored the starters. Other than Brandenburg's high wire act, the game was less than competitive as Watkins was way over-matched.
The second game of the night could not have been more different than the first contest, as Reynoldsburg needed over time to defeat Beechcroft 70-65. This game was contested from the very beginning and featured multiple ties and lead changes. During warm ups, Beechcroft appeared to be the bigger and stronger team, and the players appeared focused for the game. Both teams featured athleticism and prefer transition over half court offense. The difference in this game came down to heart, will to win, and free throw shooting. In the end, two missed free throws by Rashaun Moore with 1.1 seconds left in the game to break a 58-58 tie proved to be pivotal in the game. Moore had to endure the pressure thru 2 time outs designed to "freeze" him. The first time out was called by his coach after the first free throw missed the mark, and the second time out was called as Moore stepped to the line for the second attempt. The Raiders was led by Morehead State signee Kevin Gray who finished with a game-high 21 points. His partner in crime was Brandon Rushton who contributed 19 points. Brandon Mitchell added 9 points. Mike Petrie led Beechcroft with 17 points and DJ Bridges added 11 points. Next up for Reynoldsburg is Gahanna Lincoln, the state's 2nd ranked team. This game will mark the 3rd time these two meet this season as OCC Ohio foes fight for a spot in the district finals. See the pictures of the games at Buckeye Prep"s Facebook Fan Page.