The Olentangy Berlin boys basketball team answered a big run with an even better one, using a 14-3 spree to take a fourth-quarter lead, but Dublin Jerome’s Ryan Nutter split a pair of free throws with 4.3 seconds left to lift the visiting and first-place Celtics to a 40-39 OCC-Cardinal Division win Friday night in Delaware.
The Bears led by a point, 23-22, after a competitive first half.
That’s when things got wild for a game that started and finished so close. Jerome opened the second half on a 11-0 run, taking a 33-23 lead when back-to-back steals by Lachlan Macdonald led to a transition hoop from Sasha Stavroff and a free throw from Nutter midway through the third.
Derek Goodman stopped the run with a three-pointer, though, and Jason Inbody cashed in down low to slice Berlin’s deficit in half, 33-28, heading into the fourth.
The run continued into the final eight minutes of action as Aidan Ackermann and Brady Myers hit a couple free throws apiece to make it a one-point game. Myers and Kuhlman traded threes after that, and Goodman found Ackermann underneath for an easy hoop to cap the 14-3 run and give Berlin a 37-36 lead with 3:59 left.
The momentum for either team slowed after that, with the teams trading leads until Nutter was fouled driving to the hoop with 4.3 seconds left. He split the pair to account for the final margin.
Berlin got a couple more opportunities at the win, the second on a baseline jumper from Myers after a length-of-the-court inbound pass, but it was just wide at the horn.
Inbody and Stavroff tied for the scoring lead with 13 points each.
Delaware Hayes 47, Westerville South 44
The Pacers started fast and made more than enough plays down the stretch to hold on late en route to a key OCC-Capital Division win over the host Wildcats Friday night in Westerville.
Carter Piatt-Brown, Jake Lowman and Jesse Burris hit threes as Hayes set the tone with a 16-5 first quarter.
An 11-5 second got South a little closer by halftime, but the Pacers used a 15-10 third to get a little breathing room heading into the game’s late stages.
Burris led the charge with a team-best 13 points while Lowman and Piatt-Brown had nine apiece.
Also: Olentangy Liberty 52, Hilliard Bradley 49, OT; Olentangy 53, Hilliard Darby 45.