Fast start lifts Patriots past Bulldogs


By Ben Stroup - bstroup@aimmediamidwest.com



The Olentangy Liberty boys basketball team raced out to a 37-29 halftime lead and never looked back en route to a 78-73 non-league win over host Canton McKinley Saturday night at Canton Memorial Fieldhouse.

Cooper Davis poured in a team-best 21 points, seven in the fourth quarter, while Andrew Wade added 20 for the Patriots, who improved to 3-0 with the win.

Henry Hinkle and Ty Foster also finished in double figures, closing with 17 and 13 points, respectively. The two were especially clutch down the stretch, combining to cash in on eight of their nine free throws in the fourth quarter alone.

Kobe Johnson, who was next to unstoppable in the fourth quarter, finished with 36 points for the Bulldogs. He scored 22 points in the fourth, including three triples and a perfect 5-for-5 effort at the line.

Next up, Liberty is slated to open OCC play against visiting Hilliard Bradley Friday, Dec. 18. Tip is set for 7:30 p.m.

Big Walnut 59, Mount Vernon 50

Jagger Barnett scored a game-high 23 points to go with five blocks and Ryan Tripp added 13 points to lead the Golden Eagles to a season-opening win over the host Yellow Jackets Saturday night in Mount Vernon.

Big Walnut (1-0) trailed by a hoop after the first quarter, but outscored Mount Vernon 18-11 in the second to take control heading into halftime. Tripp hit two threes as he scored 10 of his 13 points in the second quarter.

Big Walnut’s home opener is next, slated for today against visiting River Valley. Tip is set for 7:30 p.m.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Olentangy Liberty hung with host Archbishop Hoban early, trailing by just three points after the first quarter, but the hosts pulled away in the second and third on the way to a 73-59 non-league win Saturday afternoon in Akron.

The Knights outscored the Patriots (1-2) 15-8 in the second quarter and 19-15 in the third to build a 52-38 cushion heading into the final eight minutes of action.

Liberty won the fourth 21-19 to smooth out the scoring summary.

Gigi Bower hit five of her six three-pointers on the way to a 21-point outburst, and Caitlin Splain hit four threes of her own as part of a 19-point performance to lead the Patriots.

Splain also had a team-leading four steals while Bower added four assists.

Taylor Redman had a team-best six rebounds in the setback.

Liberty is scheduled to return to action Friday, Dec. 18 against host Hilliard Bradley. Tip is set for 7 p.m.

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By Ben Stroup

bstroup@aimmediamidwest.com