By Don DiFrancesco
Lutheran East 8 15 9 10 = 42
Harvest Prep 16 17 10 12 = 55
OHSAA Division 3 State Final
Harvest Prep, from Canal Winchester, Ohio, took home their first-ever state championship trophy with a wire-to-wire 55-42 victory over Cleveland Heights Lutheran East on Saturday.
The Warriors (28-2) combined a solid shooting performance with a stubborn defense to thwart Lutheran East’s try for a third Ohio title. The Falcons (20-9) won previous championships in 2005 and 2017.
Junior guard Christopher Anthony got the Warriors off to a good start with 9 first-quarter points as Harvest Prep raced to a 16-8 lead. Anthony was the game’s top scorer with 21. He also tied for a team-high five rebounds.
Lutheran East struggled to score for most of the game, but they did connect for seven baskets in the second quarter. Junior forward Nehemiah Benson scored 6 of his team-high 13 points in the period, but the Falcons trailed 33-23 at halftime.
Anthony made a steal and converted a nifty layup to give Harvest Prep a 12-point lead at 37-25 a minute into the third quarter. From that point on the Warriors were never seriously threatened.
Lutheran East reduced the deficit to single digits on a couple of occasions. With 6:38 to play in the fourth quarter, Falcons’ sophomore guard E. J. Farmer scored on a layup to make the score 44-36.
At the 2:26 mark, Benson pulled down his team-high ninth rebound and got the put-back hoop to make it 51-42. But Harvest Prep followed that up with a basket from senior forward Elijah Glenn (14 points, 5 rebounds) and free throws from Anthony and senior guard Bryce Beavers to close out the contest.
The Warriors’ zone defense was very effective throughout the game, but especially in the second half when Lutheran East put up a barrage of outside shots.
The Falcons connected on only 2 of 26 three-pointers for the game…and were zero for 15 in the fourth quarter.
Rebounds: 37 Turnovers: 11
Field goal shooting: 19/60, 32% 3-point shots: 2/26, 8% Free throws: 2/7, 29%
Rebounds: 29 Turnovers: 16
Field goal shooting: 18/34, 53% 3-point shots: 7/17, 41% Free throws: 12/16, 75%
— Spectrum Sports OH (@SpecSportsOH) March 23, 2019