Patriots power past Pacers in postseason opener


Fourth-seeded Olentangy Liberty outscored 42nd-seeded Delaware Hayes 21-6 in each of the first two quarters, parlaying a lopsided halftime lead into a convincing 65-29 Division I sectional semifinal win Wednesday night in Powell.

Gigi Bower set the tone, scoring eight of her game-best 17 points in the first quarter.

The Patriots’ (18-5) Claire Mikola, who had 12 points, had six in the first quarter and Emma Karagheuzoff had a pair of first-half threes on her way to an 11-point performance.

Hayes (6-17) used its defense to hang around early, forcing back-t0-back turnovers, the second a steal by Reese Laaksonen, but couldn’t capitalize at the other end.

Liberty, meanwhile, got cooking after that.

Bower came down after the turnovers and drilled a mid-range jumper to make it a 4-0 game before Emme Adams found her cutting to the hoop on the next trip down the floor for another score.

Hannah West got Hayes on the board with a free throw, but Liberty answered with back-to-back hoops, the first a lay-in by Mikola and the second a three from Karagheuzoff to balloon the lead to 11-1.

A Bower hoop made it 15-1 before Adrionna Brown converted the Pacers’ first field goal with 1:43 left in the opening quarter.

Brown scored to open the second, but the Patriots used a quick burst to make up for it before posting their second dominant quarter to take a 42-12 halftime lead.

Liberty won the third 15-9 before both teams scored eight fourth-quarter points to smooth out the scoring summary.

Emily Rimer backed Liberty’s three double-digit scorers with nine points while Brown had six points for Hayes.

Next, Liberty will host 41st-seeded Marion Harding in Saturday’s sectional final. Tip is slated for 1 p.m.

Buckeye Valley 65, Hamilton Township 33

The second-seeded Barons picked up their first postseason win since 2019, rolling past the visiting and 18th-seeded Rangers in a Division II sectional semifinal Wednesday night in Delaware.

Buckeye Valley (21-2) scored all the points it would need in the first half, racing out to a 21-6 lead by the end of the first quarter and a 36-10 advantage by halftime.

Emily Huston led the charge with 19 points on the strength of six three-pointers. Carlie Osborne also had a big night, finishing with 15 points in the win, while Ella Hazelrigg and Hazely Wagner chipped in 12 and 10, respectively.

Next up, Buckeye Valley will host 16th-seeded Columbus Beechcroft in Saturday’s second round. Tip is set for 7 p.m.

Olentangy Berlin 53, Logan 42

The Bears used a balanced offensive attack to keep their season alive, getting 16 points from Cami Elliott, 15 from Layla Merriweather and 14 more from Aubrey Bashore en route to a Division I sectional semifinal win over the visiting and 28th-seeded Lady Chiefs Wednesday night in Delaware.

Berlin (15-8) led 14-10 after the first quarter and 28-19 at the break thanks to a solid second. Logan clawed back within seven by the end of the third, but couldn’t get any closer.

With the win, the Bears advance to Saturday’s sectional final against visiting and 26th-seeded Watkins Memorial. Tip is set for 7 p.m.

Also: Teays Valley 57, Olentangy Orange 47; Big Walnut 60, Bishop Hartley 19; Delaware Christian 50, Fairfield Christian 34.

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