By Michael Rich
Joey Rolwing and Toby Mayle combined for 34 points to lead New Albany past Olentangy Orange 62-49 to take control of the OCC-Capital boys basketball standings Friday night in Lewis Center.
The Eagles took over first place in the league with Orange and Worthington Kilbourne, which beat Delaware Hayes Friday night, tied for second — a game behind.
“I thought we were the most capable of beating (New Albany),” Pioneers coach Anthony Calo said. “We gotta get lucky (now) — we don’t control our own destiny.”
Rolwing hit threes on consecutive possessions midway through the second quarter during a 13-0 run that helped the Eagles (10-1, 7-1 OCC) take control. It was capped by a Mayle bucket to give New Albany a 24-16 lead.
“They got really hot from the arc,” Calo said. “Give them credit. They were physical, they were hard-nosed — they were tough.”
Rolwing led the Eagles with 18 points and Mayle added 16.
Grant Gossard scored a pair of baskets sandwiched around a pair of Cam Barron free throws to pull the Pioneers (11-3, 6-2 OCC) within two, but Mayle hit his second three of the half to give the Eagles a 29-24 lead at the break.
Gossard found Josh Smith in the corner for three to open the third quarter, but Jalin Jackson answered with a three of his own.
Mayle and Bryson London assisted each other on back-to-back threes to push the New Albany lead to 38-29. London finished with seven points — all in the second half — along with five assists and three steals.
“It’s hard to cover both (London and Rolwing),” Calo said. “I mean, they have two really good scorers. And then the reason they make it so hard is when Mayle and Jalin Jackson score too … and Tariq Hutcherson scores. So, they have a lot of weapons.”
Orange cut it to five again on a basket by Colin Shepherd and two free throws by Smith, but Rolwing scored five points in a 7-0 run, capped by his fourth three of the night to extend the lead to 45-33 with three and a half minutes to play.
New Albany extended the lead to 49-33 on back-to-back baskets by Tommy McDonald to close out the third frame. McDonald scored eight points and pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds.
Orange outscored the Eagles 14-13 in the final quarter, led by a pair of thee-pointers by Zach Stablein.
Shepherd and Gossard paced the Pioneer offense in the first quarter with six points each. Shepherd’s second three of the frame put Orange ahead 16-11 before Mayle hit a three-pointer to close it at 16-14 after one.
Gossard led the Pioneers with 13 points and nine rebounds. Shepherd added 12 points and a pair of assists.
Orange is back in action at district-rival Olentangy Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.