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January 2019
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Columbus Northland defeats Cincinnati Colerain, 70-41

Also contributing to this story is Joe “Big Head” Coopersmith

Each game that they play, the Northland Vikings are faced with various defenses and tactics from the other team. It could be a 3-2 zone, 2-3 zone, 1-3-1 zone, 1-2-2 zone,2-1-2 zone or a matchup zone to force outside shooting. Or the opponent will slow the pace of the game or they’ll double- team of triple-team players. It’s a pick-your-poison type of game plan and usually nothing ever works because the Vikings are so skilled and talented that they’ll find a way to win.

Case-in-point, Thursday game against Cincinnati Colerain in the Division I regional semi-final at the Ohio Exposition Center Coliseum.

Colerain opted to collapse its defense on 6’9 Jared Sullinger and 6’5 J.D. Weatherspoon , trying to keep the ball away from them. The strategy was to force the guards to shot the ball from the outside. Good Strategy? Well, it is if the shots don’t fall, but you’re talking about Columbus Northland, the number 1 team in the city, state and nation.

Led by point guard Trey Burke, the guards and small forwards made seven, 3-point baskets to combat the strategy enroute to a 70-41 win.

Northland led 17-5 at the end of the first quarter due to Burke’s 10 points which include three, 3-point baskets.

Finding themselves down by 12, Colerain tried to push the tempo which got them back in the game and trailing only 26-25 with 3:00 to go in the second quarter. The Cardinals only trailed 35-27 at the half and were more than pleased with their performance to that point. Not many teams can say they only trailed Northland by 8 at the half.

The third quarter was another story. The Vikings didn’t waste anytime coming out of the locker room like gang-busters and putting up a 15-2 run to bury Colerain for good. The emphasis was defense and it worked to fuel the offense.

The 23-0 Vikings were led by Jared Sullinger with 17 points and 7 rebounds; J.D. Weatherspoon followed with 14 points and 7 rebounds and Jordan Potts had six steals.

Colerain at 19-5 ends its season with the school’s deepest tournament run since 1967.

Jared Sullinger Northland (aol)

Northland will now play Gahanna (25-0) in a regional final Saturday at the Coliseum. Game time is 7:30 p.m. The two teams finished the regular season 1-2 in the Associated Press poll.

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