Liberty storms back, knocks off Orange in OT


The Olentangy Liberty boys basketball team pulled off a shocking 53-50 overtime win over Olentangy Orange in Wednesday night’s Division I district semifinal at Marysville.

The Patriots were down nine with 1:23 left in regulation, but showed resilience after going over eight minutes in the half without a basket.

A four-point play by senior guard Cooper Davis cut the Pioneer lead to one with 55 seconds left in the game before senior Trey Majizadeh forced overtime by banking in a three with 20 seconds left.

There were a few lead changes in overtime. Majizadeh stepped up again in the final minute, hitting a hanging layup to give his team the 51-50 advantage with 12 seconds left. Davis, who didn’t score a point until the second half, hit two free throws in the closing seconds to all but ice the game. He finished with 10 points.

“It says a lot about the heart that we have,” Liberty coach Greg Nossaman said about pulling off the come-from-behind win. “We did a better job on adjustments out of the half. Cooper and Trey are going to have to shoot better next time. We are just happy to be here … we are one of eight teams left in Central Ohio.”

Majizadeh scored the first basket nearly three minutes into the game and had four points early as the Patriots went up 6-2. The Pioneers started slow, then junior Mikey McCollum willed them back into gear with two deep threes. Orange found itself up 13-12 after one. Majizadeh had seven points in the quarter.

The second quarter also featured several lead changes. Liberty junior Alex Okuley kicked things off with a three to get on the score sheet. There wasn’t much scoring, so every made shot had more of an impact on the game flow. McCollum hit another three, which put Orange up 20-17 with four minutes remaining in the half.

Liberty junior James Hummel tied the game up at 20 with three points in a row, but Orange went into the locker room with a one-point, 21-20 lead. McCollum had 10 points in the opening half and hit three of the Pioneers’ four first-half threes.

There weren’t many baskets in the third quarter, but a falling layup by McCollum put Orange up five, 28-23. The Pioneers went into the fourth quarter up 32-29.

Orange junior guard Jordan Edwards scored four points in a row in the fourth quarter to give the Pioneers their biggest lead, 38-29 with about four minutes to go. It was all Liberty from there, though.

Senior Jake Werling hit two clutch free throws to put Orange up three with 52 seconds before Majizadeh hit a layup to cut it to one. Majizadeh then banked in a three to finally tie it up.

A two-pointer by Davis in the middle of overtime gave the Patriots their first lead since the start of the game, 48-47.

The extra period ended in heartbreak for the Pioneers as they had the lead multiple times, but weren’t able to seal the deal. Davis sealed the Patriots’ district final berth with two free throws at the end of it to give them the 53-50 win.

“My first thought is that I really feel for our seniors,” Orange coach Anthony Calo said. “We were 4-4 at one point. We got better as the year went on, that’s a testament to our kids. Liberty gets the credit for knocking down some tough shots.”

Liberty is set to face Pickerington Central in the District Final on Saturday at 5 p.m. at Ohio Dominican University.

Pickerington Central 63, Delaware Hayes 47

The 18th-seeded Pacers had their outside game working, but the top-seeded Tigers dominated on the inside en route to a Division I district semifinal win Wednesday’s night in Centerburg.

Of Hayes’ 47 points, 39 of them came from beyond the three-point line as Jake Lowman hit five triples, Jesse Burris and Hezekiah Russell added three apiece and Jacob Enke and Anthony Wilson each connected once.

Central, meanwhile, hit just four threes, but were tough to stop down low as Devin Royal, Josh Harlan and Sonny Styles combined for 19 field goals from inside the arc.

Hayes scored just before the end of the third quarter to make it a 10 point game, but that’s as close as it would get the rest of the way.

Lowman led the Pacers with 17 points while Burris and Russell finished with 11 apiece. Royal had 17 points to lead the Tigers while Harlan finished with 15 and Styles added 13.

Olentangy Liberty’s Cooper Davis (23) shoots over Olentangy Orange’s Aidan King during the second half of Wednesday’s Division I district semifinal in Marysville. Liberty’s Cooper Davis (23) shoots over Olentangy Orange’s Aidan King during the second half of Wednesday’s Division I district semifinal in Marysville. Ben Stroup | The Gazette
Davis and Majizadeh’s late heroics propel Patriots to victory

By Sean Blevins

For the Gazette

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