Patriots pick up key early-season win


Pull away in second half to top Bradley 61-42

By Ben Stroup - [email protected]



Olentangy Liberty’s Jackson Mikola (5) shoots over Hilliard Bradley’s Jeb Bischoff during the first half of Thursday’s OCC-Central Division showdown in Powell.

Olentangy Liberty’s Jackson Mikola (5) shoots over Hilliard Bradley’s Jeb Bischoff during the first half of Thursday’s OCC-Central Division showdown in Powell.


Ben Stroup | The Gazette

James Hummell and Jackson Mikola led a balanced attack with 16 points apiece as the Olentangy Liberty boys basketball team pulled away from visiting and previously unbeaten Hilliard Bradley in the second half to secure a solid 61-42 early-season win Thursday night in Powell.

The first half played out a lot like you’d expect a battle between two teams riding four game winning streaks would. The second half, though, was all Patriots as Liberty (5-1, 3-0) used a 23-14 third quarter and 17-10 fourth to cement the win.

Mikola hit three three-pointers as part of the game-deciding third, but he had plenty of help, too.

Matt Wilson hit the second of his two threes after a quick hoop by Bradley to open up the third quarter. Mikola then followed with his first three of the frame to balloon the lead to 27-20 — matching what was, to that point, the Patriots’ largest lead of the game. They led by seven twice in the first half as well.

The Jaguars (4-1, 2-1), who were able to answer Liberty’s runs to keep things close in the first half, failed to do the same in the second. Once the Patriots had their big second-half lead, they only added to it as the game wore on.

Alex Okuley, who smoothed out the Patriots’ top trio of scorers with 12 points, scored inside to give his team its largest lead of the game — 29-20 with 5:02 left in the third. All 12 of Okuley’s points came in the second half, six in the third and six in the fourth.

The Jags stopped the bleeding with a hoop from Garrett Sever, putting an end to an 8-0 Liberty run, but Hummell answered with a three on the Patriots’ next trip down the floor.

Things only got worse from there as Mikola cashed in on another couple of three-pointers before Okuley capped the quarter with a driving layin to make it a 44-32 game after three.

Looking to put the nail in the proverbial coffin, Okuley was fouled on an aggressive drive to the hoop to start the fourth. He hit both free throws before a Hummell hoop and another basket by Okuley put the finishing touches on a quick 6-0 run to start the quarter and all but seal the deal, making it a 50-32 game with a little more than half the quarter to play.

Liberty cruised from there, picking up its fifth straight win while maintaining its stop on top of the league standings.

Nelson and Wilson backed Liberty’s big three with six points apiece.

Bradley’s Cade Norris, meanwhile, led all scorers with 18 points while Bischoff and Ian Abrass chipped in six points apiece.

Next up, the Patriots will take on visiting Newark in non-league action Wednesday night. Tip is set for 7:30 p.m.

Olentangy Liberty’s Jackson Mikola (5) shoots over Hilliard Bradley’s Jeb Bischoff during the first half of Thursday’s OCC-Central Division showdown in Powell.
https://www.delgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2022/12/web1_IMG_8798-2-1.jpgOlentangy Liberty’s Jackson Mikola (5) shoots over Hilliard Bradley’s Jeb Bischoff during the first half of Thursday’s OCC-Central Division showdown in Powell. Ben Stroup | The Gazette
Pull away in second half to top Bradley 61-42

By Ben Stroup

[email protected]