The third time was the charm for Olentangy.
After losing to the Warriors twice by a combined four points in the regular season, the Braves made their free throws down the stretch to hold on for a 71-68 win in the first round of the Division I district tournament Saturday in Westerville.
“We made it a free throw shooting contest, which I enjoy,” Olentangy coach John Feasel said. “We’ll win most of those.”
Jason Sieve connected on nine of 10 free throws in the fourth quarter and the Braves, who finished a combined 16-for-22 from the charity stripe for the game, needed just about every one of them.
After outscoring North 17-10 in the first quarter and 13-8 in the third, Olentangy (13-10) owned a 45-33 lead with eight minutes to play.
The Warriors scored 35 points in the fourth, though, slicing a 12-point deficit to as few as two.
North’s Jeremiah Keene had 14 of his team-high 22 points in the final frame.
“Even though we lost to them twice, I think the guys were happy when they saw we were playing them in the tournament,” Feasel said. “They felt like we had a chance to win both those games.”
Sieve led the Braves with 21 points while Sean Marks added 20, Greg Hendrix poured in 12 and Will Elmore chipped in 10.
Next up, Olentangy will take on host and 17th-seeded Grove City in Friday’s second round. Tip is set for 7 p.m.
Reynoldsburg 59, Orange 31
The Pioneers had a 23-22 lead at one point, but, unfortunately for them, there was still plenty of game to be played.
The host Raiders used a 27-0 run spanning the second and third quarters to take control and cruise to a Division I district tournament win Saturday in Reynoldsburg.
Zack Stablein scored nine points on the strength of three three-pointers, but no one else who saw action for Orange scored more than four.
Ben Fort led Reynoldsburg with 15 points in the win.
Follow Ben Stroup on Twitter @delgazette_ben.