The Olentangy Liberty boys basketball team had its chances at the end, but showed it only takes a rough few minutes to wipe out an otherwise stellar showing.
Nick Nakasian hit a three-pointer to bring the Patriots within one, 68-67 with 10 seconds left, but Newark’s Kobe Long-Weber hit three of four free throws in the final seconds to secure a 71-67 non-league win Tuesday in Powell.
Ethan Novy had a contested look at what would have been a game-tying three between Long-Weber’s trips to the line, but it sailed wide.
Liberty (11-5) more than held its own against the state-ranked Wildcats (15-0) for most of the game, taking a 45-36 lead on a transition hoop from Ben Roderick midway through the third.
Newark had an answer, though, closing the third quarter on a 15-2 run to take a 51-47 lead into the final frame.
Roderick led Liberty with 23 points while Newark’s B.J. Duling led all scorers with a dominant 31-point showing.
Olentangy 61, Hilliard Davidson 58
The Braves trailed by 11 at the half, but outscored the visiting Wildcats 12-4 in the third and connected on 14 of their 18 fourth quarter free throws to hold on for the non-league win Tuesday in Lewis Center.
Senior Jason Sieve powered the comeback, scoring 20 of his game-high 25 points in the second half. He went 6-for-9 from the stripe in the fourth.
“I’d like to say we turned things around because of a great halftime speech, but, really I just pulled Jason aside and said, ‘look, it’s your senior season, you don’t have many home games left, let’s get it rolling,’” Olentangy coach John Feasel said. “And he responded.”
Sean Marks also had a solid game for Olentangy (7-7), finishing with 17 points in the win.
Thomas Worthington 48, Hayes 41
The Pacers clawed out of an early hole to make it a one-possession game for most of the fourth, but couldn’t close the deal Tuesday at Thomas Worthington.
Hayes went to the line just three times, compared to the Cardinals’ 20 trips, while turning the ball over five more times than the hosts.
“That was the difference in the game, and I have to do a better job of getting everyone to understand how vital taking care of the ball is,” Hayes coach Jordan Blackburn said.
On a night the Pacers’ leaders struggled — Will Yoakum and Terin Kinsway combined to turn the ball over 13 times, nine by Yoakum alone — the role players stepped up and made some noise. Nate Griggs led the Pacers with nine points while Sam Midura added seven in the setback.
Orange 73, Franklin Heights 34
The Pioneers trailed 14-11 after one, but rolled the rest of the way en route to a non-league win Tuesday in Lewis Center.
Jalen Bethel and Jordan Shelton led the way with 15 points apiece.
Follow Ben Stroup on Twitter @delgazette_ben.