Guard Law Jones took a feed from forward Mike DeLeon, set his feet and calmly drilled what proved to be a game-winning three-pointer with 3.2 seconds left to lift Liberty over host Upper Arlington 34-31 in Friday’s OCC-Central Division boys basketball clash.
The game was all about defense up until Jones’ heroics, and was tight throughout. The Patriots owned a slim 8-7 advantage after the first quarter and led 19-18 at halftime after both teams netted 11 in the second.
Things tightened up even more in the third when Liberty (2-1, 1-0 OCC) limited UA to two points, but scored just four itself to take a 23-20 cushion into the final eight minutes of action — a back-and-fourth affair capped by Jones’ late triple.
DeLeon led the way with a game-high 12 points while Jones added nine.
Gabe Akins paced the Golden Bears with nine points in the setback.
Buckeye Valley sophomore guard Jesse Tomlinson played the role of hero Saturday, draining a jumper with 1.5 seconds left to left his Barons to a 50-49 Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference win over visiting Jonathan Alder.
The Barons (2-2, 2-1 MOAC) made things harder on themselves then they needed to be, blowing a nine point fourth-quarter lead, but none of that mattered after Tomlinson’s shot.
BV outscored Alder 16-9 in a solid opening quarter and led 28-21 at the break. The visitors won the third quarter by a 10-8 margin and the fourth 18-14 to account for the final margin.
Tomlinson finished with a game-high 16 points while Brad Edmonds, who hit half of the team’s eight three-pointers, backed him with 13 in the win.
•The Patriots struggled to find their form just 24 hours removed from their thrilling win in Upper Arlington, falling to the visiting Warriors of Westerville North 65-47 Saturday in Powell.
Liberty was edged in all four quarters, but still had a chance after heading into the fourth down just eight. That’s when North picked up the pace, outscoring the hosts 22-12 to put the game out of reach.
DeLeon and Jones led the Patriots with 15 and 10 points, respectively, and Zach Nice added eight, but the balanced Warriors finished with four players in double figures when all was said and done.
•Dublin Jerome used a big first quarter to set the tone Saturday, scoring 24 points in the opening eight minutes of action en route to handing visiting Olentangy a 65-57 non-league setback — the Braves’ first loss of the young season.
Olentangy, which trailed 24-15 after one, tried to climb out of the hole with a 22-17 edge in the second, but was outscored in each of the final two quarters to seal its fate.
Ryan Sieve finished with a game-high 19 in the loss while Jimmy Gundling added 13 for the Braves.