DELAWARE – Olentangy Berlin coach Donovon Barrett wasn’t sure what he had before the Bears played their first game in school history Thursday night against River Valley. But, a couple of pieces of the puzzle may have emerged.
After all, exactly zero of the 20 players on the varsity and junior varsity rosters have played at this level.
“There’s still a lot of unknown,” Barrett said. “It’s hard to be real mad at some guys that saw their first varsity minutes ever. A lot of these guys are coming straight from freshman basketball. It’s like the old term, ‘Throwing them to the wolves’ in a sense.”
Junior Grant Schrieber scored eight of his team-high 18 points during an 11-0 run in the fourth quarter and sophomore Austin Corely scored eight of his 11 points in the first half.
“Some of those guys – you’re going to see a big jump just because they get used to it a little bit,” Barrett said. “There’s no question that we’re going to hit some bumps in the road – our schedule is going to dictate that. But if we keep battling, then we’ll be OK.”
But the visiting Vikings weren’t concerned with history. They reeled off the first 11 points and never looked back in a 71-43 non-league win.
“(Berlin) is only going to get better,” River Valley coach Barry Egan said. “Donovon does a nice job with them. We knew we had to come out and play well because the longer they stayed with us – then it was going to be a lot tougher for us to pull away.”
Junior Zak Stevens broke the drought with a pair of free throws with 2:32 left in the first quarter to give the Bears (0-1) their first-ever points.
Corely scored with exactly 1:00 left in the frame for the team’s first field goal to cut the deficit to 14-5.
But Brandon Levering found AJ Kenney for a layup, Dylan Johnson converted a three-point play and Ethan Bell fed Trae Davis at the buzzer to give RV a 21-5 lead at the end of the first.
Johnson led with 26 points, Kenney added 19 and Bell added 14 to lead the Vikings (1-0).
“Dylan is really good at letting the game come to him – he doesn’t force a whole lot,” Egan said. “I credit our guys for getting him the ball in scoring position. (Kenney) has gone from 285 (pounds) to 235 in one year and it’s really improved his game.”
Corely scored with 6:16 remaining in the final frame to start an 11-o run that was finished up with back-to-back three-pointers by Schrieber.
Berlin opens its OCC-Cardinal slate Tuesday night at Dublin Jerome. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.