Olentangy had been playing well over the course of the first few weeks of the season.
Westerville Central hadn’t played at all.
None of that mattered Wednesday in Lewis Center, though, as the visiting Warhawks showed next to no rust en route to a lopsided 75-49 win.
Tasos Cook had a game-high 27 points while Quincy Clark added 14 for Central, which was playing in its first game since winning its first Division I district title in program history last March. The Warhawks were set to play Thomas Worthington in a regional semifinal when the initial surge of COVID-19 cases forced the OHSAA to shut down its winter sports tournaments.
The Braves, who entered the non-league showdown on a four-game winning streak, hung around early. Zach Wieging took a charge on the Warhawks’ opening possession of the game, Luke Elmore came up with a block on the next and Ethan Smith knocked down a three-pointer to break the scoring seal.
After Cook answered with a layin at the other end, Wieging scored in transition to give Olentangy (4-2) a 5-2 lead.
Cook and company got cooking after that, though. Cook, who scored 10 of his 27 points in the first quarter, followed up a three-pointer of his own with a dunk to give Central an early 11-7 edge.
Wieging hit a couple technical free throws to slice the Braves’ deficit back to two, but the Warhawks closed the opening quarter on a 7-2 run to take an 18-11 lead into the second quarter — a quarter they won 22-11 to break the game open.
Cook hit a three-pointer to beat the halftime buzzer and opened the third quarter with another triple to balloon Central’s edge to 43-22.
Austin Sizemore gave Olentangy a boost in the fourth quarter, scoring eight of his team-leading 10 points down the stretch. He scored six of the eight on back-to-back-to-back trips for a 6-0 run, but the Warhawks’ Miles Poindexter and Cook answered with three-pointers to push the lead to 67-40 with 3:51 to play.
Donovon Hunter backed Poindexter and Cook with eight points in the win.
Smith finished right behind Sizemore with nine points while Wieging added eight for the Braves.