The Olentangy Berlin boys basketball team lost a heartbreaker, 49-48, to fellow OCC-Cardinal foe Hilliard Darby Friday night in Delaware.
The Bears (6-9, 2-5 OCC) came into the contest having won two games in a row and three of four, but the Panthers (10-7, 5-2) got the best of them down the stretch. Berlin had the ball down a point with less than 40 seconds left and decided it would try and hold for the last shot, but lost after turning the ball over in the final seconds.
It was as evenly matched as you could get from the opening tip. Both teams played at an extremely high pace to start the game and Berlin sophomore Noah Gamble closed the first quarter of play with a running floater, tying things up at 10.
The Bears came out with a different intensity on defense in the second quarter. They started pressing the Panthers before they crossed halfcourt and got a few steals out of it within the first couple minutes of the quarter. They also switched to a more zone-oriented defense, which caused some problems for a few quarters.
Berlin converted two three-point plays in the second and went into the locker room up 27-22.
“We were just trying to mix it up a little bit,” Berlin coach Donovon Barrett said about the second quarter adjustments. “We got some momentum from them. We had chances to extend the lead to more than five at the half, but we just didn’t.”
Darby finally regained the lead midway through the third quarter, going up 35-34 after junior forward Cam Gilkerson hit a layup. The Panther offense ran through Gilkerson, who did a great job of creating his own shot and then facilitating for his teammates. He finished with 14 points.
Darby led 39-36 after three and, while the fourth quarter didn’t have a lot of points, it was not short on action. Berlin sophomore Derek Goodman hit a three with six minutes left in the game to put the Bears up 43-41, but Darby made sure to respond. Berlin got called for a five-second violation with 1:48 left in the game and things spiraled from there. Darby hit a go-ahead shot with less than a minute remaining and was able to hold on.
“Blatantly, our late-game execution was awful,” Barrett said. “We turned it over three times late. This has happened in other games … unfortunately, it happened again tonight. We left the door open for them and they finished the game.”
Goodman, who played the best of anyone on the Bears, ended up with 11 points. Junior Mathios Abenet added nine points and a few steals. Junior Jason Inbody closed with eight points.
Next up, Berlin is scheduled to host Upper Arlington Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.