Buckeye Valley edges Eastmoor in sectional final


Senior guard Owen Osborne’s four free throws in the final 30 seconds were the difference in the Buckeye Valley boys basketball team’s 54-50 Division II sectional final victory over Eastmoor Academy Saturday night in Delaware.

The Barons had a poor shooting night at the charity stripe, but they hit the ones they needed at the end. It was a sloppy back-and-forth thriller of a game.

Eastmoor banked in two three-pointers in the early minutes of the first quarter, which allowed it to open up a 10-3 lead. Then, the Warriors proceeded to turn the ball over on five straight possessions. That was when the momentum of the game swung like a pendulum.

The Barons capitalized on the untimely Warrior mistakes and ended up with an 11-10 lead after one.

“Coming into the game we thought we would do well if we pressured their guards,” Buckeye Valley coach Andy Gast said.

The Barons stuck to the game plan and it paid off.

BV senior Mason Kurtz knocked in a three in the opening moments of the second quarter to give the Barons a 16-13 advantage. Eastmoor sophomore Elijah Watkins responded with a three of his own. Both teams exchanged leads multiple times in the quarter before Buckeye Valley went into the locker room up 28-26.

BV senior guard Owen Osborne had eight points at the half.

The Barons had a great start to the third quarter as senior Brad Koehler hit a corner three to give them their biggest lead yet, 33-26. Eastmoor battled back and eventually retook the lead by virtue of a Dennis Asoro slam. The senior big man came into the game averaging 19 points per game and showed why he was a force to be reckoned with in the low post.

The Warriors entered the fourth quarter up 40-39. From that point on, Osborne was determined to carry his team to victory. He scored five straight points to start the quarter and BV was able to expand its lead to six, 46-40.

With 3:40 left in the game, Osborne drew a charge, but he came up limping. He had to be subbed off the court for about a minute, but the Barons held their own in that span. Eastmoor kept inching closer.

An Asoro layup off a missed free throw gave Eastmoor a 50-49 edge with 1:30 remaining before BV senior Troy Scowden tied things at 50 by hitting on the front end of a one-and-one.

“Even though Troy Scowden didn’t score a lot tonight, he played great defense on their bigs,” Gast said.

Both teams struggled mightily from the line, but it was only fitting it decided the game.

Osborne stepped up and iced it with four free throws in the final minute to give the Barons the four-point win.

“No. 11 is a warrior, he’s one of the most competitive kids I have ever coached,” Gast said about Osborne. “If I was a college, I would be all over him. He’s a winner. He put the team on his back.”

Osborne finished with a game-high 22 points. Scowden and Koehler each had nine points, while Asoro closed with 13 points.

Next up, Buckeye Valley will face Heath at a neutral site to be determined on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the district semifinals. Heath knocked the Barons out of the tournament last year in the same round.

Osborne’s clutch second half lifts Barons over Warriors

By Sean Blevins

For the Gazette

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