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Ten of the best performances from OHSAA boys basketball finals weekend

By: MATTHEW B. MOWERY, March 25, 2021, 11:35 am

Looking back and last weekend’s OHSAA semifinals and finals on Tom Blackburn Court at the University of Dayton Arena, here are 10 of the best performances of the weekend (in alphabetical order): 

Jalin Billingsley, Cleveland Heights Lutheran East — Had 24 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks in the 61-56 win over Worthington Christian in the Division III finals. Saddled with four fouls in the 58-52 semifinal win over Ottawa-Glandorf, Billingsley was limited to 10 points and five rebounds — eight of those points coming in the fourth quarter. 

Malaki Branham, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary — Had 37 points on 15-for-21 shooting in the 72-50 win over St. Francis DeSales in the Division II title game, after struggling from the floor — 3-for-12 shooting — scoring just seven points in the 71-42 win over Lima Shawnee in the semifinals. He’s signed with Ohio State. 

Tasos Cook, Westerville Central — Had 20 points in the 51-42 win over St. Ignatius in the Division I semifinals, despite playing just three minutes in the fourth quarter. He followed that up with 14 points, three rebounds and two assists in the 43-42 loss to Centerville in the D-I finals.

Gabe Cupps,  Centerville — Had 16 points, three rebounds and three assists in a 43-42 win over Westerville Central in the Division I title game. His steal with 3:28 left led to the go-ahead layup by Rich Rolf 18 seconds later, putting Centerville ahead for good. Cupps had 11 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals in Centerville’s 63-49 win over Mentor in the semifinals. 

Sencire Harris, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary — Had 21 points on 8-for-13 shooting, along with three assists and three steals in the 71-42 win over Lima Shawnee in the D-II semifinals, and a six-rebound, five-point, five-assist, five-steal game in the 72-50 win over St. Francis DeSales in the D-II title game.

Tom House, Centerville — The 6-foot-6 junior shooting guard had 21 points, 10 rebounds in Centerville’s 63-49 win over Mentor in the Division I semifinals, following it up with nine points in the 43-42 win over Westerville Central in the DI finals. 

DJ Moore, Worthington Christian — Had 28 points, five rebounds and three steals in the 61-56 loss to Lutheran East in the Division III finals. That followed a 20-point, 10-rebound, four-assist game in a 47-45 win over Cincinnati Taft in the semifinals, when he hit the game-tying bucket with 54 seconds left, and beat the buzzer with a jumper for the game-winner. The 6-foot-3 point guard is committed to Liberty.

Jayden Priddy-Powell, Botkins — Had 27 points on 10-for-13 shooting in the 60-44 win over Columbus Grove in the Division IV championship game,  adding four rebounds and two assists.  That followed a 19-point, two-rebound, two-steal performance in the 44-40 win over Richmond Heights in the semifinals, when he hit the jumper with 1:13 left to give Botkins the lead for good.

Blake Reynolds, Columbus Grove — Had 22 points, six rebounds and eight assists in the 58-53 win over Glenwood in the Division IV semifinals, including the go-ahead bucket with 1:46 remaining. He followed that up with a 17-point, nine-rebound performance in the 60-44 loss to Botkins in the D-IV finals. He finished with a career 1,584 points scored and the school record for made free throws and field goals, assists, rebounds and steals. 

Desmond Watson, Columbus St. Francis DeSales — Had 21 points, six rebounds and four assists in the 51-34 win over Chaminade Julienne in the Division II semifinals, and 23 points in the 72-50 loss to St. Vincent-St. Mary in the title game. He is committed to Davidson University.