Two teams that are certainly quite familiar with each other battled it out in the second round of the playoffs and for a chance to compete for a state title.  There was no love lost between these two, as you could see that both teams wanted to have a chance to be crowned a champion.  Both teams started out a little slow but got things going, as varsity held a narrow 12-11 lead after the first quarter.  Things started to pick up a little bit in the second quarter and get a little heated, as teams started to trade baskets and the lead. The Simpkins twins continue to lead the charge, scoring 12 of their 25 points in the first half, while it was a very balanced attack by the National team, helping them gain the narrow lead at halftime 29-25.

The second half got underway and these two teams continued to go at it. Specific players started to really step up in big moments but neither team really was able to create any separation from each other. Elijah Jamison was coming up big in the second half with some big shots, but Liberty Heights Varsity continued to have an answer.  It wasn’t until the final few minutes that the National team was able to create a small of space and eventually went up by double-digits in the final seconds and ultimately seal the win and a chance for a state title.

Final: Liberty Heights National 61 – Liberty Heights Varsity 54

Stats:
National:
Elijah Jamison 15pts
Ryan Prather Jr. 11pts
Jabare Perry 10pts

Varsity:
Tajuan Simpkins 11pts
Takai Simpkins 11pts
Chas Stinson 11pts

Standouts:

2022 Elijah Jamison (Liberty Heights National): The senior stepped up like a veteran senior should, as Jamison really elevated his play in the second half. He was able to get to his spots, knockdown key shots in big moments, and make plays off the dribble, much like he has done all year long.  He scored eight of his 15 points in the fourth quarter, when his team really needed him the most.

2022 Jabare Perry (Liberty Heights National): Perry has simply continued to improve his game over the season, really being a strong presence in the paint and on the boards.  Perry made big plays on the boards, kept the ball active, really displayed his low post moves, and finished strong around the basket.

2022 Chas Stinson (Liberty Heights Varsity): It still amazes us that Stinson is not being looked at more by college programs.  He continues to produce at a high level, make big play after big play, does what his team needs him to do on the court, is a leader and someone you can trust to make the right play, and brings versatility and athleticism to the table.

2022 Josiah Dow (Liberty Heights Varsity): Dow is an intriguing prospect with his 6’7 frame and his ability to pop out and be a threat from outside. He showed that he isn’t afraid to pull the trigger from three and has a smooth release, as well as operate and play big inside. He does a lot of the little things for his team but can be a tough matchup on the court.