Jason Sieve scored seven of his team-high 25 points in the final minute to lead the Olentangy boys basketball team to a 64-58 OCC-Buckeye Division win over visiting Liberty Friday in Lewis Center.
Down 55-51 with less than a minute to play, the Patriots forced a turnover on an inbound play before Ben Roderick worked his way to the free-throw line and knocked down a pair to make it a two-point game.
That’s when Sieve took over.
Forced to foul, the Patriots kept fouling. The Braves, though, kept getting the ball to Sieve, who went 5-for-6 from the charity stripe in the final handful of seconds. He also had a layin in the final seconds to seal the deal.
“We just battled,” Olentangy coach John Feasel said. “I get on this team for a lot of different things, but the one thing I don’t have to get on them about is effort. They battle their butts off every night.
“It’s always good to beat your rival,” he added. “I’m not one for moral victories, but after getting it handed to us at their place, it was good to come back and get this one.”
Liberty, led by Roderick’s 18 first-half points, led 31-28 at the break.
Roderick came out strong in the third, too, converting a three-point play to give his team a 36-31 lead with 5:56 left in the third.
The Patriots led 40-37 heading into the fourth, but Jerred Kinnaird drew a key charge on the defensive end and Sieve scored four straight points to put the Braves ahead for good.
Olentangy’s Sean Marks stepped up to make sure his team stayed in front midway through the fourth, cashing in on a key mid-range jumper and a pair of free throws while finding an open Kinnaird underneath for an easy hoop.
Liberty’s Nick Nakasian went 3-for-4 from the line to keep his team within striking distance late, but Olentangy had all the answers down the stretch.
Roderick finished with a game-high 26 points and Nakasian added 14 in the setback.
Marks backed Sieve with 15 points while Kinnaird finsihed with nine for the Braves.
Follow Ben Stroup on Twitter @delgazette_ben.