Despite the freezing rain, I got a chance to check out the semi-final action at the 2011 Lion Invitational Tournament at Gahanna Middle School East. The opening game of the morning pitted #3 seeded Reynoldsburg against #7 seeded Pickerington Lakeview. Pickerington got off to a hot start with a 7-0 run to start the contest. Reynoldsburg finally got on the board at the 2:50 mark on a jumper by Jalen Lewis. Although Reynoldsburg’s Jalen Lewis scored with time running out, Lakeview finished the quarter with a 10-4 lead. Reynoldsburg opened the second quarter with two consecutive buckets to cut the lead to 1 point (13-14) to end the 2nd.
Pickerington scored first to open the half, but Reynoldsburg answered with a bucket. Reynoldsburg took their first lead with 20 ticks left on the clock (23-22) on a trey by Lloyd Chatman. Tied at 27 in the 4th period, Reynoldsburg turned up the heat, causing five turnovers. Ultimately, missed free throws, turnovers by Lakeview proved to be their undoing, as Reynoldsburg went on to claim a 38-28 victory to advance to the championship game on Monday. I was most impressed with Reynoldsburg’s backcourt duo of Jalen Lewis and Lloyd Chatman, who combined for 30 of their team’s 38 points. Also playing well for Reynoldsburg was Chris Trent, while Rael Windley stood out for Lakeview. The leading scorers for Pickerington were Bryce Montes (8) and Dajon Moore (7).
The second semi-final game was a lot less competitive, as Upper Arlington Jones totally out executed Olentangy Liberty to claim 28-48 win. Jones opened to game with a trey and went on to an 8-0 run. By half time, the lead had grown to 12 points (22-10). Jones opened the 4th quarter with a 36-16 lead, and by then, the game was all but over. The only real bright spot for Liberty was the play of Brad Smith, a crafty guard who made a handful of nice plays to leading his team in scoring with 10 points. We have seen Smith before, as he was the MVP in an earlier Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase. I was really impressed with the play of Gabe Adkins, long wing and good looking athlete. Adkins scored a game-high 11 points. In addition to Adkins, UA got good interior post play from Wynn Brown. The championship game on Monday should be competitive, and will feature contrasting styles. While Reynoldsburg is quicker and more athlete, Jones’ superior hald court execution could be a big problem. To see the pictures I took at the event, visit the Buckeye Prep Facebook Fan Page.