By Michael Rich
It’s all starting to come together for the Olentangy Liberty boys basketball team after picking up a pair of wins within a 24-hour period of time, most recently a 63-44 non-league win at Worthington Kilbourne Saturday afternoon.
Brendon White did a little bit of everything and freshman Ben Roderick hit four three-pointers in the first half to carry the Patriots past the Wolves.
“(Roderick) is a great shooter,” White said. “He’s just learning — he’s a freshman. When I was a freshman, I was nervous too. He’s starting to get the flow of it now and is becoming a great shooter and a great player.”
White led Liberty with 20 points, six assists, six steals and added five rebounds.
“I just told my team to slow it down and stay in the offense, (don’t) try to do one-on-one things,” he said. “Just learn to play as a team … as a unit. I just found that’s what makes me play better as a person and as a player.”
The Patriots had been held in the 40’s in each of their first four games — all losses. But the offense has come alive, staring with Friday night’s 61-49 win over Westland.
“We just decided to come together as a team,” White said. “We didn’t want to go 0-6 heading to Florida.”
“I thought we shot it pretty well — it’s like anything else, when you’re making shots, it helps everything else,” Liberty coach Greg Nossaman said. “It was a good weekend, it was something that we needed. The kids are feeling good about themselves and that’s the most important thing right now.”
Add that 6-foot-4 post Drew Rosi has been cleared and should play when the team plays three games at the KSA Events Holiday Basketball Tournament in Orlando, Florida, during the holiday break. Ethan Novy is still slated to return from an ACL injury in January.
“Our chemistry is starting to come together,” Nossaman said. “I thought Ben had a great game for a freshman tonight. Brendon is starting to play better. (Adding Rosi and Novy) will increase our depth.”
Roderick and Anthony Little hit three-pointers in the first quarter to put the Patriots on top for good, pushing it to 18-12.
After the Wolves (3-2) had pulled within one on a Drew George three-pointer, Roderick followed with three more threes as part of a 15-4 run to push the lead up to 12.
“My confidence has definitely grown,” Roderick said. “I’m starting to play better and fit in the system and I feel like my teammates accept me now as a player — not just on, but off the court as well.”
Mike Bell-Wheelwright hit a three-pointer and scored four points during an 8-2 run for the Wolves that cut the lead to 44-38. But that was as close as it would get. The Patriots closed it out with a 19-6 run.
Anthony Little added eight points and a game-high six rebounds and Evan Koknat had four rebounds, two assists and two blocks for Liberty.
Carson Van Lynn led the Wolves with 12 points, six rebounds and three blocks. Matthew Gierhart had 10 points and five boards, Gabe Watson had seven points and five assists and Drew George chipped in seven points and three assists.
“Mike Bass gave up about six inches on Van Lynn, but did a great job of just bodying him up,” Nossaman said.
Liberty returns to OCC-Central play when it visits Hilliard Davidson Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.