As his Olentangy Orange boys basketball team was extending its lead in the third quarter, coach Anthony Calo decided to fold the play sheet up and put it in his pocket.
The Pioneers were in the midst of putting away a 64-38 victory over Newark in a Division I regional semifinal on Wednesday at Ohio Dominican University’s Alumni Hall. They were doing what they were trained to do.
“As a coach, you overthink,” Calo said. “I just put (my play sheet) in my pocket because they were in a flow. They didn’t need me in that moment. They’ve trained and practiced to play a certain way and I’m like, ‘I don’t need to micromanage this.’ I’ve got good players and they’re in a flow. So, I’m going to let them stay in a flow.”
Jordan Edwards had 18 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, Elias Lewis added 14 points, and Devin Brown had 11 points and six rebounds to lead the Pioneers.
Orange got a boost from Nick Chapman, who had four points, three rebounds and an assist as his team built an 18-3 lead early on.
“The goal in every game is never for one person to get the most points,” Edwards said. “It’s just win, win, win. If we can get everybody involved, that’s the plan. You can take a couple of guys away, but you can’t take everybody away.”
Next up, Orange (24-3) will play Pickerington Central today at 3 p.m. for a regional title at Ohio University’s Convocation Center.
The Pioneers had five turnovers on their first seven possessions of the third quarter – three on offensive fouls, leaving the door open for the Wildcats (19-8), who whittled the deficit down to nine on a couple of occasions.
Levi Davis scored six of his nine points in the third quarter as Orange extended the lead again. Davis finished with three steals and a pair of blocks for the Pioneers, who led by as much as 28 in the fourth in the quarter.
Orange shot 68.4% from the field compared to Newark, which was held to 38.9%. Grant Burkholder had 20 points and Braylon Morris added 13 to lead the Wildcats, who were outrebounded 26-10.
“When they get a lead on you, they’re really hard to guard in space,” Newark coach Jeff Quackenbush said. “I knew if we got down by four or five possessions, it was going to be a long night. We had to nine in the third a couple of times and couldn’t finish. We have to make jumpers to compete with teams like that and we didn’t shoot it great from behind the line.”
Contact Michael Rich at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy.