ONTARIO – Quan Jackson only made one shot all night, but he made it count.
The Ontario junior hit a buzzer-beating, game-winning 3-pointer to lift the Warriors to a 52-50 historic victory over Mansfield Senior on Friday night in a boys basketball season opener in the O-rena. It was the first meeting between two of Richland County’s best programs over the last quarter century.
“It was difficult, real difficult,” Jackson said of his big shot. “I had to double clutch it. It was my only bucket of the night, but I’m not worried about that.”
It looked like the Tygers were going to pull it out when All-Ohio senior guard/forward Mario Young went one-on-one and hit a difficult pullup in the lane with less than 10 seconds left.
“(Coach) said just go and see what happens,” Jackson said.
Indeed, that’s what future hall of fame coach Joe Balogh instructed.
“Our thing with end-game situations with more than five (seconds), if we can, get it and go. If you call a timeout, you let the defense get set,” Balogh said. “Quan’s shot was contested and maybe in that position it’s better to be lucky than good.”
Mansfield Senior coach JT Reese wasn’t even thinking about the final sequence afterward.
“We lost the game in the first half,” he said, adding that his team played with little energy. “We allowed them to stay in the game. I thought, ‘JT, you’re going to hit some free throws and a shot,’ and we never did.”
Reese credited the Warriors for the win, but added that the Tygers “are circling the wagons right now.”
Ontario was 16 of 39 from the floor and 11 of 19 from the line. The Warriors outrebounded Senior High 37-35, but committed 21 turnovers which kept Senior High in the game. The Tygers were 19 of 55 from the field and 11 of 20 from the line with just 12 turnovers. There were six ties and six lead changes including two lead changes in the final 10 seconds.
Young carried the Tygers (0-1) with 19 points, 14 rebounds and six steals, while Andrew Rathburn had 19 points for Ontario (1-0) with eight rebounds, and Corey Thomas added 12 points with 10 free throws and nine rebounds.
“I thought the kids kept fighting. We didn’t let one bad play turn into two or three,” Balogh said.
Ontario 52, Mansfield Senior 50
Mansfield Senior 10-8-20-12 50
Ontario 7-13-14-18 52
Mansfield Senior: Chioke Bradley 2 0 4, David Hall 1 4 6, Antonio Weatherspoon 4 0 8, B.J. Patrick 1 4 7, Raheem Clark 2 2 6, Mario Young 9 1 19.
Ontario: Trey Jordan 1 2 4, Alex Vredenburgh 2 0 5, Logan Jones 1 0 2, Quan Jackson 1 0 3, Jackson Todd 2 0 6, Griffin Niss 0 1 1, Andrew Rathburn 8 3 19, Corey Thomas 1 10 12.