The final 16 minutes belonged to the Braves.
Clinging to a 3-point, 21-18 halftime lead, Olentangy caught fire in the first 5:35 of the third quarter, outscoring Big Walnut 20-7 to open up a 41-25 lead en route to a 69-56 Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division victory over the host Golden Eagles last Friday night in Sunbury.
“We got off to a great start defensively, but we struggled offensively with two of our starters in early foul trouble,” Olentangy head coach Chris Kelly said. “Fortunately we found our offensive rhythm to start the second half while continuing to play solid defense.”
Olentangy (4-7, 2-4 OCC) opened the third quarter on a rebound basket by 6-foot-3 sophomore Derrick Wyche and back-to-back threes by junior Ryan Sieve in their first three possessions to take an 11-point lead. After the Golden Eagles answered with one of senior Logan Boyd’s five threes and a fast-break lay-in by senior Nick Herbert to cut the Olentangy lead to 29-23, the Braves came back with a 12-2 run to open up a 41-25 advantage with 2:25 left in the period.
“Olentangy took advantage of our third-quarter turnovers to go up by 16 points, scoring 11 of those points off five of our turnovers,” Big Walnut head coach Eric Myers said. “Not only did we commit too many turnovers, we also shot the ball poorly through the first three quarters.”
Big Walnut (6-7, 2-6 OCC) was 9-for-30 (30 percent) from the floor while turning the ball over 18 times, including five times in its last seven possessions of the period, in the Golden Eagles’ first 47 possessions (38.3 percent) at the cost of 16 points after 24 minutes of play. The Braves, however, after shooting only 28.6 percent (8-for-28) in the opening half, came back to hit 7 of 15 (46.7 percent) shots, including 3 of 5 from beyond the arc, in the decisive third period. They turned the ball over only times in the third quarter.
“Once we found our confidence at the start of the second half, our offensive rhythm returned,” Kelly said. “We were hungry … we played like a team on a mission.”
Olentangy went on to open up as much as a 19-point, 53-32 lead on Wyche layin and a free throw by junior Jimmy Gundling with 5:43 remaining in the contest. Big Walnut closed within 13 of the lead at 61-48 on sophomore Josh Seabrook as the clock ticked under two minutes before Boyd buried a trey to trim the deficit to 11 at 67-56 with under a minute to play.
“We continued to battle in the fourth quarter, but the deficit was too great” Myers said, noting his Golden Eagles outscored Olentangy 31-28 in the final eight minutes. “But we don’t want to dwell on this loss .. we want to turn our focus on Tuesday night’s home game with Marion Harding.”
Junior Ryan Sieve paced Olentangy in scoring with 15 points. Gundling followed with 12 and Wyche with 11 points. Sophomore Seth O’Neal and Sieve counted two threes apiece. The Braves finished with a 23-for-55, 41.8 shooting, including a 31.6 percentage (6-for-19) from three-point range. They were 17-for-29 (58.6 percent) at the line. Olentangy, led by Wyche with 11 and Sieve with 9 rebounds, won the battle of the boards, 50-30. The Braves turned the ball over 18 times in 64 possessions (28.1 percent) at the cost of 18 points.
Boyd, who canned 5 treys, took game scoring honors with 27 points. Herbert joined Boyd in double figures with 11 points. Junior Kyle Gose, with two threes, added 9 points. BW was without the services of 6-foot-5 junior Zac Asher who was sidelined with a hip and ankle injuries.
The Golden Eagles, who were 20-for-53 (46.0 percent) from the field, converted 9 of 28 3-pointers (32.1 percent). They were 7-for-8 (87.45 percent) at the line. Boyd and Seabrook topped Big Walnut on the glass with 8 rebounds apiece. The Golden Eagles committed 22 turnovers in 69 possessions (31.9 percent). The lost 21 points to the Braves as the result of turnovers.
BIG WALNUT 59, HORIZON SCIENCE ACADEMY 44 — The Golden Eagles road a 21-point third quarter on Monday, January 13, non-conference basketball victory over the visiting Eagles in Sunbury.
Leading 28-24 after the opening half, Big Walnut (7-6) came back out and outscored Horizon Science (3-6) by a 21-8 margin in the third period to take a commanding 17-point, 49-32 advantage into the final eight minutes.
Matt Tarney, who buried three treys in the contest, led Big Walnut with 15 points. Nick Herbert followed with 13 points and Logan Boyd with 11 as the Golden Eagles climbed over the .500 mark. Josh Seabrook and Zac Asher added 7 points apiece. Jeremy Bok, Herbert, Boyd, Seabrook and Asher also counted threes in the victory.