BB D1 FINAL: #4 Pickerington Central outlasts #5 Toledo Whitmer, 45-40
March 27, 2012By E. Shawn Aylsworth of Ohio Preps Authority
COLUMBUS – In a physical, defensive, grind-it-out championship game, fourth-ranked Pickerington Central outlasted fifth-ranked Toledo Whitmer, 45-40, to win the 2012 OHSAA Division I state championship March 24 in Value City Arena at the Jerome Schottenstein Center on the campus of The Ohio State University.
Pickerington Central (26-2) made enough plays down the stretch en route to winning its first state championship in its first trip to the state tournament in basketball.
Despite outshooting the Tigers, 46 percent to 36 percent, Whitmer was plagued by turnovers, losing possession of the basketball 14 times in the game. Central converted the Panthers’ mistakes into 19 points.
There were only three lead changes in the game, with neither team able to truly pull away. The largest lead of the game for both Central and Whitmer was five points, and the score was tied 10 times throughout the game.
Central was paced by senior Caris Levert, who led all scorers with 20 points on 7-of-16 shooting. Sophomore Jae’Sean Tate added 10 points and four rebounds to the Tigers’ cause.
Whitmer was led by senior LeRoy Alexander (19 point)s and junior Nigel Hayes (15 points and nine rebounds).
The Panthers (24-3), playing in their first championship game, finish as runner-up for the first time in school history. Whitmer had previously made it to the state tournament three other times (1931, 1987, 2008).