Ryan Tripp poured in a game-high 23 points, including a couple free throws with 11.5 seconds left to ice it as the Big Walnut boys basketball team got its postseason started with a 49-45 Division I sectional semifinal win over visiting Marysville Tuesday night in Sunbury.
Despite leading for most of the second half, the 23rd-seeded Golden Eagles were never quite able to pull away from the 27th-seeded Monarchs. Still, they made the plays they needed to down the stretch.
After Marysville’s Kade Focht hit a free throw to cap a three-point play the hard way, evening things at 35 with 5:22 left, Big Walnut regained the lead when Will Baden scored inside at the other end. The Monarchs’ Jason Moore answered at the other end to cut the deficit to 39-38 with just more than three minutes left in regulation, but BW’s Carter Imertreijs drained a clutch three-pointer to kick off what turned out to be a personal 5-0 run to all but seal the deal.
Moore hit a three with 13.1 left to make it a 47-45 game, but, with Marysville forced to foul, Tripp cashed in a pair of free throws to smooth out the scoring summary.
Tripp scored Big Walnut’s first four points of the game, but the Golden Eagles trailed 9-4 midway through the first quarter after Focht hit from downtown.
Marysville still led, 14-8 after one, before BW stormed back. The Eagles started the second quarter with a 6-0 spurt, five coming from Colin McKee to tie things before back-to-back hoops from Tripp gave his team a 20-16 edge it maintained until the break.
A Baden dunk ballooned the lead to 27-21 in the middle of the third, but three-pointers from Moore and Dayne Johnson kept the Monarchs within striking distance.
Baden backed Tripp with nine points in the win while Imertreijs had eight. Moore finished with a team-leading 17 points for Marysville.
Next up, Big Walnut will take on 18th-seeded Delaware Hayes Friday night in Delaware. The Eagles and Pacers split their two OCC-Capital meetings this season. Hayes won the opener 51-38 at home before Big Walnut returned the favor with a 53-40 win in mid-January.
Olentangy Berlin 55, Northland 40
The 35th-seeded Bears were all business in their tourney opener, starting and finishing strong en route to an upset win over the host and 16th-seeded Vikings in Tuesday’s D-I sectional semifinal in Columbus.
Berlin set the tone with an 11-4 first quarter. After the teams played virtually even in the middle two quarters — Northland won the second 11-7 and Berlin took the third 13-11 — the Bears cemented the win with a 24-14 fourth.
Jason Inbody led the charge with 16 points while Isaiah Brown had 12. Derek Goodman was also in double figures, closing with 10 points, while Mathios Abenet added to what was a balanced Bears attack with nine.
Robert Dorsey led Northland with 16 points.
Berlin will look to post its second straight upset when it takes on host and 15th-seeded St. Charles in Friday night’s sectional final. Tip is set for 7 p.m.