The Olentangy Orange boys basketball team advanced to the third round of the Division I district tournament with a 66-46 drubbing of Logan Friday night in Lewis Center.
The Pioneers, who improved to 15-7, are picking up steam at the perfect time.
After pulling off the win against Olentangy Liberty last Friday, Orange coaches and players turned their attention toward Logan, which upset the Pioneers in the 2018 district tournament. Several current Orange coaches were on the staff during the loss, and a couple players had older siblings who played in the game. They were determined to make it right — and they didn’t look back in doing so.
It was an odd start to a playoff game as neither team scored for two and a half minutes to start the game. Eventually, Logan hit a layup to break the deadlock. The hoops opened the scoring floodgates, and Orange took over from there.
Senior forward Jack Taylor knocked in a three from the top of the key to get the Pioneers on the board. A two-handed slam by junior guard Elias Lewis brought life to the gym, which was just over half-capacity. Tough finishes at the rim from junior guards Mikey McCollum and Jordan Edwards helped cap off a 13-0 run. Edwards didn’t start, but he brought the energy and had four points in the quarter. The Pioneers led 13-4 after one.
“We knew that we needed to apply pressure,” Orange coach Anthony Calo said. “We had to speed them up to get to the style of game that we wanted … our guys did a really good job of being disciplined.”
Orange kept the defensive pressure on throughout the night, which led to several turnovers on inbounds passes. The Pioneers made it a point of emphasis to control the glass and the flow of the game.
Lewis hit a three at the beginning of the second quarter to push the Orange lead to 16-4. He hit another three a few minutes later to make it a 28-5 game. Senior wing Eddie Brown did the dirty work for the Pioneers, he was cleaning the glass all night. He had multiple buckets off of offensive rebounds in the first half as the Pioneers took a 30-12 lead into the locker room.
Like the start of the game, Logan hit a layup to get the first two points of the second half, then Taylor responded with another three-pointer. The Chieftains did play much better in the third and fourth quarters, but they were down by so much it didn’t really make a difference. Orange matched their energy and kept getting easy baskets. Edwards closed out the third quarter with a layup to balloon the Pioneer lead to 48-28.
Brown led the Pioneers with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
“The reality is that we need extra possessions on offense … and we got them,” Calo said. Orange outrebounded Logan by 11 on the offensive glass.
Players and coaches in the Orange locker room were ecstatic upon finding out they’ll be playing Olentangy Liberty for a third time this season on Wednesday at a neutral site to be determined. The teams split the previous two matchups. The stakes will be higher than ever before, though, as this one will be for a spot in the district finals.