Olentangy boys overwhelm Big Walnut, 63-36
By GARY HENERY
News Managing Editor
Olentangy jumped out to a 15–4 lead with 2:49 left in the opening quarter and never looked back in handing host Big Walnut a 63–36 in the Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division opener for both teams Friday night in Sunbury.
The Braves were a team on a mission coming into Sunbury. Olentangy came into the contest after dropping two road games to Dublin Jerome and Dublin Scioto to open the season with an 0–2 mark.
“Our goal coming into tonight’s game was to play with a lot of intensity,” Olentangy head coach Chris Kelly said. “We were coming off two road losses, including a double overtime loss to Dublin Jerome, and we knew we would have to be ready to play hard in our OCC opener against Big Walnut tonight.”
And play hard they did!
Seth Clark got Olentangy (1–2, 1–0 OCC) rolling early as the 6-foot-1 senior guard scored seven of the Braves’ first nine points. By the end of the first eight minutes Clark had put 11 of his game-high 16 points in the book as Olentangy took a 19–7 advantage in the second quarter.
“We came out ready to play … with an attitude,” Kelly said. “We wanted to take control of the game early and our defense did a great job of keeping Big Walnut’s offense of balance and giving us the opportunity to build our early lead.”
Olentangy’s ever-switching defense, which saw Kelly’s troops incorporate a man-to-man alignment with an active 2–3 zone, played a key role in the Braves’ fast start. It forced Big Walnut into early mistakes while holding the Golden Eagles to a 3-for-14, 21.4 first-quarter shooting percentage while forcing four turnovers that resulted in eight of Olentangy’s 19 points.
“It was partly my fault. I should of called a time out sooner,” Big Walnut head coach Eric Myers said of the Golden Eagles’ slow start. “Olentangy did a good job taking us out of our offense by switching defenses … and we did not respond to the challenge.”
Big Walnut (1–2, 0–1 OCC) slowed the Braves’ attack in the second quarter, holding Olentangy to nine points in the first six minutes of the period, but the Golden Eagle offense continued to struggle, turning the ball over nine times in the period and went into the intermission trailing by 18 points, 35–17.
The Golden Eagles were never closer than 18 of the lead in the second half, trailing 37–19 following sophomore Michael Buckles’ basket two minutes into the third quarter. By the end of the period, the Braves were up by 21 points, 49–28, thanks to a pair of treys by 5–9 senior guard Tyler Sobieray.
The Braves went on to lead by as many as 26 points in the final period before sophomore guard James Gundling’s lay-in off a steal in the closing two minutes gave the Braves the 27-point margin of victory.
Olentangy posted a 25-for-68, 36.8 shooting percentage, including a 6-for-19 effort from 3-point range. The Braves were 7-for-9 at the free throw line. Scoring behind Clark for Olentangy were Sobieray and Gundling with 9 points apiece. Senior guard Erik Brandt contributed 8 points. The Braves, led by 6–1 junior guard Michael Delaney’s 7 rebounds claimed a 41–37 advantage off the glass. Morycz followed with six boards.
In the turnover department, the Braves did not turn the ball over in the first half and only six times over the entire game, losing only 6 points on their mistakes. By comparison, the Golden Eagles turned the ball over a total of 22 times at the cost of 23 points.
Senior Adam Shaheen led Big Walnut with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Senior Zach Laughman, sophomore Zachary Asher and Buckles followed with 6 points apiece. The Golden Eagles shot 31.8 percent, 14-for-44, from the field while converting 4 of 7 free throws. They were 4-for-19 from behind the arc.
“We’re going to go back to work and address our weaknesses,” Myers said. “Hopefully we learned from our mistakes we made tonight and correct them in our practices.”