Three teams from central Ohio were undefeated and ranked among the Top 10 in last week's Division I state boys basketball poll, and a fourth team also was off to a perfect start through 17 games.
While most of the publicity throughout Columbus has gone to the state-ranked squads from Lincoln (Gahanna)
, Northland (Columbus)
and Westerville South
as well as to undefeated Upper Arlington (Columbus)
, yet another team from the area — Pickerington North
— has been equally worthy of accolades.
After losing in a district semifinal on the way to a 17-6 finish last season, the Panthers seem poised for a longer postseason run. They improved to 15-1 with 58-48 victory last Friday that snapped previously undefeated Lincoln's 44-game regular-season winning streak.
Pickerington North makes up for having no Division I recruits with strong halfcourt defense and by controlling the tempo. The Panthers lost at Lincoln 61-41 on Dec. 22 but won the rematch as Jake McCullough
and Tyler Kelly
each scored 11 points and Evan Mills
added nine points. They went on a 22-0 run after trailing 35-31 to gain control in the rematch on their home court.
"What we have is a group of seniors that have played together since seventh grade," Pickerington North coach Pete Liptrap said. "This is a good defensive team. We've got good guys that like each other and play together. (Last Friday) we got the ball inside, and that was a big key. It was a good atmosphere, and it was a game of great importance to our players."
Senior Trent Waybright
is the team's top offensive threat after being the leading scorer last year, but the 6-4 forward is surrounded by tall players in 6-6 senior Justin Zielinski
and 6-5 senior Michael Klamo
Pickerington North and Lincoln were tied for first in the OCC-Ohio Division with three conference games remaining.ST. EDWARD BEATS NORTHLAND
Northland, which was the No. 3-ranked team in last week's Division I state poll, also lost for the first time last weekend.
After beating Brookhaven (Columbus) 70-35 last Friday, the Vikings traveled to St. Edward (Lakewood)
and lost to the unranked Eagles 84-81 last Saturday.
St. Edward improved to 13-5 as Delbert Love
finished with 20 points, Elijah Brown
scored 17 and Kyle Pisco
added 16. They helped the Eagles overcome a 35-point performance from Northland guard Trey Burke
, a Michigan signee.
The Vikings had a 41-game regular-season winning streak snapped with the loss.TOP PERFORMERS* Evan Payne, Walsh Jesuit boys basketball:
Payne scored 37 points to lead Walsh Jesuit (Cuyahoga Falls) past St. Ignatius (Cleveland) last Friday.* Kathleen Przeslawski, Delta girls basketball:
Przeslawski scored 39 points to lead Delta to a 64-50 victory over North Central (Pioneer) last Saturday. Przeslawski became the school's all-time leading scorer during the game and has 1,029 points for her career.* Matthew Bingaya, Delaware boys basketball:
Bingaya finished with 32 points and 14 rebounds to lead Hayes past Big Walnut (Sunbury) 61-60 last Friday.COMING THIS WEEK* City League championship game, girls basketball: Africentric Early College (Columbus)
will take its No. 7 ranking in the Division III state poll into the Columbus City League title game, which will be held at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Mifflin (Columbus) against Northland (Columbus)
. The Nubians are 17-2 and the Vikings are 18-0.* Baron Cup, ice hockey:
The 40th-annual Baron Cup ice hockey tournament began Monday and runs through Sunday at the Coyne Recreation Center in Brooklyn. The tournament includes 24 teams in three divisions. The top seeds are St. Ignatius (Cleveland) in Baron Cup I, Steele (Amherst) in Baron Cup II and Orange (Pepper Pike) in Baron Cup III.* Northwest Ohio Athletic League Championships, wrestling:
The NWOAL tournament will be held Saturday at Archbold. Wauseon
, which was fifth in last week's Division II state poll, is the defending champion.BRIEFLY
According to reports in the Plain Dealer, Matt Simon has resigned as football coach at Gilmour Academy (Gates Mills) after back-to-back 2-8 seasons. He's a former NFL assistant who is hoping to return to the NFL or be an assistant in college. … Nineteen girls soccer players signed with Division I colleges last week from central Ohio, including 16 who compete for the Ohio Premier soccer club. … McKinley (Canton)
was No. 1 in last week's Division I state girls basketball poll and Twinsburg
was second. Manchester (Akron)
was first in Division III and Harvest Prep (Canal Winchester)
was first in Division IV. … Olentangy Liberty pole-vaulters Chris Uhle and Joey Uhle committed to compete for Virginia Tech and Air Force, respectively. Chris Uhle won the Division I state title last June and Joey Uhle was second.Jarrod Ulrey covers Central and Northern Ohio for MaxPreps.com. He covers prep sports for
ThisWeekSPORTS.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.