By Michael Rich
Buckeye Valley used a 19-1 run to overcome a slow start and ultimately cruised to a 62-45 victory over Lakewood in the first round of the Division II district tournament Monday night in Delaware.
The 10th-seeded Barons (17-6), fresh off their sixth MOAC title in the last seven seasons, had been one-and-done in tournament play since 2010.
“I’m happy for our seniors … sometimes those things become a mental block where you’re so nervous and uptight about winning a tournament game,” BV coach Andy Gast said. “I’m very pleased with our seniors for getting our first tournament win in a long time.”
“It’s great ending it on the home court,” BV senior guard Nick Hyatt said.
Jesse Tomlinson had 13 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and seven steals to pace the Barons while Hyatt led with 14 points to go with five boards.
“Early (Hyatt) made some shots,” Gast said. “He’s a longer player — he needs to do everything for us. Jesse and Nick at the guard position, since we’re not very big anyway, we need our guards to rebound and do the little things. We’re a lot better team (when they do that).”
BV looked poised to cruise from the start, opening 7-2 with five points coming from Hyatt. Mitch Rotondo capped the start when he jumped an inbound pass and laid it in.
“I think this is the first time I made a shot (early) in three games,” Hyatt said. “I came off a horrible Jonathan Alder game — it’s good to improve.”
But the Lancers scored 13 of the next 15 points, eight of which came on a pair of four-point plays by Cameron Brooks and Kevin Boerstler, and led 17-9.
“We’re a senior-laden team and have five senior guards … we can’t afford to start out a game like that,” Gast said. “We’ve got to be locked in and ready to go and I didn’t really feel that we were (Monday night).”
Brooks had nine points and 10 rebounds by halftime and finished with 11 points and 19 rebounds for Lakewood.
“I told our guys, that’s the type of player we’re going to see Thursday at Beechcroft,” Gast said. “But Beechcroft has four or five of those guys.
Tomlinson scored the next three points, two of which came off his own steal.
“Jesse Tomlinson had an unbelievable game (Monday night),” Gast said. “He had some great passes, his on-the-ball defense was tremendous and he rebounded the ball for us. So, he played an overall great game.”
He fed Tim Schilling for a layup to cut the lead to three with about a minute and a half left. The Lancers (5-17) led 19-15 after one.
“I try to get my teammates involved and play good defense,” Tomlinson said.
Justin Coffey opened the second frame with a three-pointer, assisted by Boerstler, with 6:40 left in the half. Boerstler led the Lancers with 19 points and Coffey added 11 and a team-high five assists.
“After the first quarter, I thought we really settled in,” Gast said.
The Barons held Lakewood scoreless for the next five minutes and 17 seconds and put up 11 points to take control.
Schilling pulled down a pair of offensive rebounds to keep one possession alive before Tomlinson found him in the right corner for three with 4:47 left in the half to cut the deficit to two. Schilling had seven points and six rebounds for BV.
Brooks ended the run by hitting 1-of-2 at the line, but another steal-and-score by Tomlinson gave the Barons a 28-23 lead at the break.
Rotondo scored four points and assisted on the other basket during a 6-0 start to the second half. BV outscored Lakewood 21-8 in the third quarter and led 49-31 after three. Rotondo finished with eight points.
The Barons pushed the lead to as many as 20 in the final frame before Coffey hit a three with five seconds left for the final margin.
Grant Kelly added eight points for the Barons.
BV will travel to eighth-seeded Beechcroft in the second round Thursday night at 7 p.m.
Ridgedale 50, Delaware Christian 40
The 13th-seeded Eagles played virtually even with host and ninth-seeded Ridgedale … with the exception of the third quarter.
With Monday’s Division IV sectional semifinal all tied up at 14 at halftime, Ridgedale created some separation with a 16-8 third — a quarter which proved to be the difference.
Andrew Dunnavant led DCS with 11 points while Roger Gill III and Isaac Rindfuss finished with eight apiece.
Ridgedale’s Alex Eldred led all scorers with 15 points in the win.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.