True to form, the Upper Arlington and Dublin Coffman boys played yet another game for the ages, while the Golden Bears girls snapped a 13-game losing streak against the Shamrocks.
Upper Arlington, OH – The inbounds pass with 4.2 seconds remaining in the second overtime went to the worst spot possible on the floor. Both plays drawn up in the huddle moments earlier were blown up.
But when all else fails, it sure helps to have a 6-foot-8 sharpshooter hovering at the three-point line to take the game-winning shot.
“Things didn’t go exactly as we planned, but as soon as I got the ball in my hand and put it up, I thought it was going in,” said sophomore Alex Smith, whose three-pointer a millisecond before the buzzer sounded gave Upper Arlington a 52-50 win over Dublin Coffman Friday in the nightcap of a well-attended Ohio Capital Conference Central Division doubleheader. UA’s girls also prevailed 53-43.
Colin McClure hit a baseline runner with 10.8 seconds left to give Coffman a 50-49 lead. UA got a timeout at the 8.3-second mark, and advanced it to midcourt before calling another timeout to map out the final play.
“We drew up action with several looks and they took away all of them,” Golden Bears coach Joe Bills said. “The ball wound up in the hands of (sophomore) Ciarnan Moloney, and fortunately he doesn’t panic and is able to find Alex just in time at the top of the key. People unfamiliar with us may not know it by looking at him, but he’s just a fabulous shooter and that’s why colleges are interested him.
“History shows that this is the way these games with Coffman usually go. In my time here, I can recall several games that ended in similar fashion. Dane Goodwin won one of these with a three at the buzzer. Alex gets to add his name to that list now. What a night of basketball. This is a moment these kids are going to remember for a long, long time.”
Since 2006-07, Coffman leads the series 21-17. Nineteen of those games have been decided within two possessions. The latest installation featured some 18 lead changes and 10 ties.
Senior Nate Schoeny scored 25 points and Smith added to pace UA (7-3, 2-2), which trailed by eight with 2:18 remaining in regulation. That’s when Schoeny hit two monster three-pointers at the same spot just in front of the Golden Bears student section.
“I told our guys during a timeout that it was still a three-possession game and all we needed to do was get some stops,” Bills said. “Thankfully, Nate – who usually does most of his work inside and on the baseline — said enough was enough and decided he was going to knock down some clutch shots.”
Smith found Schoeny on the baseline for the tying basket with 23.6 second left.
McClure sank two foul shots to put Coffman back ahead 42-40 at the 2.8-second mark.
After a timeout UA went to Schoeny one more time in his favorite spot. He drew a foul by Quinn Hart. He missed the first free throw, but made the second and third to force overtime.
With the game tied 47-all in the first overtime, Coffman held the ball for the final 1:10 in hopes of a winning shot, but couldn’t convert.
Down 49-48 in the second overtime, the Shamrocks used the same ploy, calling timeout three times in the final 1:47 before McClure delivered.
“You’re talking to us, but Zach Corna (who didn’t score) deserves a lot of credit for all the great defense he played tonight, mostly guarding McClure, who is one of the best point guards in the conference,” Schoeny said. “I hit some shots, but our defense really delivered at several key points when they seemed to be in control.”
McClure and Quinn Hart scored 15 points each to pace Coffman (5-6, 1-3), which seemed to have the game in hand late in the fourth quarter.
“That’s a tough one for us to take,” said Coffman first-year coach Adam Banks, who guided the girls team to a 90-13 record in four seasons before succeeding fired Jamey Collins. “I can’t fault our guys. They kept fighting and fighting all night. All you can do is give them credit. We made them take a tough shot and he hit an awesome buzzer beater.”
The girls game was much more competitive than the final score suggested. Clinging to a four-point lead with just under three minutes to play, Upper Arlington went on a 9-0 run and put away Coffman, snapping a 13-game losing streak to the Shamrocks dating to Jan. 8, 2016.
“We talk a lot about consecutive stops and when the game mattered most the girls buckled down and got it done,” Golden Bears coach John Wanke said. “We don’t like to dwell on the past but the girls were certainly aware we hadn’t beat them in a long time. Last year they came here and really handed it to us (61-33).”
Sophomore center Elizabeth Hunt scored 21 points and senior point guard Quinn Buttermore added 14 points and five assists to lead UA (9-2, 4-1), which remained one game back of Olentangy Liberty in conference play. The Golden Bears lost to Liberty 46-42 in overtime.
“Honestly, I can’t describe how good this feels,” said Buttermore, daughter of UA football coach Justin Buttermore. “We try to treat every game the same, but there’s no denying that this (a win over Coffman) has been a long time coming, that’s for sure.”
When Wanke took over in 2021-22, UA had won only 11 games in the previous two seasons. He insisted that the leadership and spirited play of Buttermore helped rejuvenate the program.
“She just battles every day and is electrifying for us in the way she runs the team,” Wanke said.
Ella Krumpak and Gwen Jenkins scored 11 points each and Peyton Mather nine for Coffman (5-7, 3-2), which is reloading under new coach Corey Kreinbrink after an amazing seven-year in which it lost only one OCC game and won three straight district titles. Three Division I scholarship players graduated last spring and Banks departed to take the vacant boys job.
“We just had too many lulls offensively tonight,” said Kreinbrink, who guided Napoleon to a Division II state championship in 2021 after a 27-0 season was cut short by COVID-19 in 2020. “We gave them way too many offensive rebounds. Upper Arlington is really good at what they do. We took some positive things out of tonight. We’re in a little bit of transition here this season and our goal is just to get better every day.”