Olentangy battled back from a late deficit to get in position to send the game into overtime, but Addison Marston blocked Whitney Stafford’s potential game-tying three-pointer in the final seconds to help the Olentangy Liberty girls basketball team hang on for a thrilling 38-35 non-league win Tuesday night in Powell.
It looked like the Patriots (5-1) were going to run away with things after a quick 8-0 start. Marston broke the scoring seal with an inside hoop before Gigi Bower cashed in on a pair of free throws, Emma Karagheuzoff drilled a corner three and Claire Mikola scored off a steal in transition to force the Braves (5-3) to call a timeout midway through the first quarter.
Olentangy, as it did all night, clawed back in a hurry.
Stafford hit a couple free throws to get her team on the board and, a possession later, Caitlin Ronk nailed a corner three of her own. Camryn Cummings continued the run with a hoop off a steal by Addi Shaffner and, after the teams traded hoops, Stafford scored in the final seconds of the first to give the Braves a slim 11-10 lead after one.
Stafford scored again early in the second, but her transition hoop was sandwiched between a pair of triples by Karagheuzoff and Bower, which the Patriots parlayed into a 16-14 edge two minutes into the quarter.
Olentangy responded with a 5-0 mini run to take a 19-18 edge — Stafford scored in transition and Ronk hit her second three of the game — but Liberty finished the half with a 3-0 spurt to take a 21-19 lead into halftime.
The defenses continued to play well into the second half as neither team was able to score until a Ryan Chapman steal set up a Bower bucket down low, making it a 23-19 game midway through the third. Bower hit a free throw on the next possession as Liberty built a five-point lead.
Bower hit a three to balloon the lead to 32-25 early in the fourth, but a three-point play by Cummings got her team right back into things.
Liberty still led, 35-31 with 1:25 left, after Maria Stack split a pair from the charity stripe, but Ronk answered with her third three of the night at the other end to make it a one-point game with 1:13 to play.
The Patriots gave themselves a little breathing room when Chapman hit a pair at the line to make it 38-35 with 26.5 seconds left, setting up the final sequence which, fittingly, ended with a solid defensive play at the buzzer.
Bower led Liberty with 11 points while Marston chipped in eight. Stafford also had 11 for Olentangy while Ronk finished with nine points on the strength of her three triples.
Also: Pickerington North 48, Olentangy Berlin 46, OT
A big fourth quarter proved to be the difference as visiting Marysville, down 41-36 heading into the final eight minutes of action, outscored Delaware Hayes 21-9 down the stretch for a 57-50 non-league win Tuesday night in Delaware.
Marysville’s Jason Moore, who scored a game-best 24 points, hit two three-pointers as part of a 12-point final quarter.
Jake Lowman led the Pacers with 20 points while Jesse Burris had 10.
River Valley 59, Buckeye Valley 44
The Barons outscored the host Vikings in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to make up for a 33-13 halftime deficit Tuesday night at River Valley.
Brendan Stalf and Zane Melvin led BV with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Also: Olentangy Orange 62, Hilliard Darby 38.