By Ben Stroup
The eighth-seeded Buckeye Valley girls basketball team saved its best for last, outscoring fifth-seeded Linden McKinley 13-4 in the fourth quarter to turn a competitive game into a 51-43 Division II sectional final win Friday in Columbus.
Tess Hughes, Logan Hatcher, Megan Veneman and Morgan Scowden led what was a balanced BV (14-10) attack, finishing with 12 points apiece.
The Barons, who led 10-6 after the first quarter, used defense to secure the early edge. The Panthers found some space in the second quarter, though, and their shots started to fall as a 20-9 period gave them a 26-19 lead heading into halftime.
Buckeye Valley regained its form in the third, outscoring Linden 19-13, then buckled down on defense to create some separation in the fourth.
The Barons didn’t have their best shooting night, finishing just 32 percent from the field (18-for-56), but they dominated the glass. BV finished with 46 rebounds, 18 offensive, compared to Linden’s 27.
Hughes sparked the showing with a team-best 13 boards while Alaina Radcliffe finished with 10. Hatcher was also solid from a rebounding standpoint, finishing with nine, while Veneman hauled down seven to go with a team-leading seven assists.
Next up, Buckeye Valley will take on MOAC-Red Division foe and sixth-seeded River Valley in Tuesday’s district semifinal. The Barons and Vikings split their two regular-season showdowns. Buckeye Valley won the first 53-42 back on Jan. 5 before River Valley won the rematch 75-64 in overtime last Saturday.
Tip is set for 7 p.m. at a site to be determined.
It took until the last game of the regular season, but it was well worth the wait as Buckeye Valley wrapped up its second straight MOAC-Red Division championship with a convincing 65-46 win over visiting Fairbanks Friday night in Delaware.
The Barons were a bit shaky in the first half, up just 27-26 at halftime, but owned the second half en route to earning at least a share of the league title.
BV outscored Fairbanks 18-12 in the third and 20-8 in the fourth to seal the deal.
The Barons’ Nick Hyatt led a group of four double-figure scorers with 17 points. Braxton Wells added 13, Mitch Rotondo finished with 12 and Grant Kelly closed with 10 in the win.
Northland 85, Big Walnut 34
Seth Towns poured in a game-high 37 points, breaking Jared Sullinger’s career scoring mark in the process, as third-seeded Northland notched a convincing win over Big Walnut in the first round of the Division I district boys basketball tournament Friday in Columbus.
Towns, a Harvard signee, now has 1,967 career points
Hayden Bowmar finished with 14 points to lead the Golden Eagles.
Follow Ben Stroup on Twitter @delgazette_ben.