Northland 54 Dublin Scioto 53, OT

Northland rolls in OT

Sunday,  March 22, 2009 3:15 AM

By Steve Blackledge

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

<p>Marco St. John of Dubin Scioto attempts to corral a rebound in front of Northland's Javon Comley in the second quarter.</p>

LEONARDO CARRIZO Dispatch

Marco St. John of Dubin Scioto attempts to corral a rebound in front of Northland's Javon Comley in the second quarter.

As fans from Northland and Dublin Scioto roared in unison before overtime of a Division I regional final last night, Northland junior center Jared Sullinger wanted to be heard, so he interrupted his father and coach, Satch, which is a Herculean task in itself.

"I looked the four seniors straight in the eyes and told them that I was going to take over in overtime," said Sullinger, a 6-foot-9 Ohio State recruit. "I let them down last year and there was no way that was going to happen again."

Sullinger, who missed a district semifinal loss to Westerville South in 2008 for falling behind in his schoolwork, made several pivotal plays to lead Northland over Scioto 54-53 in the Ohio Expo Center Coliseum and advance to the state tournament.

The top-ranked Vikings (25-1) will face Warren Harding (22-3) at 5:15 p.m. Friday in Value City Arena.

"They've got two great players inside who are going Division I and they showed why tonight," said senior guard Bradley McDougald, who led Scioto with a career-high 32 points. "Those two guys are just so hard to cover."

Sullinger had 17 points, 20 rebounds and six blocks and J.D. Weatherspoon had 17 points and eight rebounds. Trey Burke also played a big role with 15 points and 5-of-6 free-throw shooting in overtime.

Weatherspoon scored on the first possession of overtime and Northland, which trailed by as many as nine points in the third quarter, never gave up the lead. On a set play after a time out, Sullinger took a backdoor pass from Burke, missed but tipped the

ball in for a 49-45 lead with 48 seconds left.

"The three things I put on the blackboard today were, No. 1, do what we do; No. 2, do what we do more; and No. 3, close out the game," Satch Sullinger said.

The last part didn't come easy.

McDougald, who forced overtime by hitting a tightly defended three-point shot with 6.8 seconds left, couldn't repeat the feat. His 25-foot three-point attempt rimmed out, and Eric Stamets tipped it in as time expired.

"It was an unbelievable game," Dublin Scioto coach Tony Bisutti said. "I couldn't ask any more of one guy or of a team tonight."

Midway through the third quarter, Scioto (24-2) grabbed control and increased its lead to 34-25. Then Northland stormed back with an 18-4 run to lead by five with 1:30 left.

"Some of their jump shots disappeared and I think that tends to happen when the game gets longer and legs get tired," Satch Sullinger said.

Said Jared Sullinger, "Bradley just kept bailing them out. I know he's a good football player, but he's really good at basketball."

After being ranked No. 1 and being favored the past two years to take the state title, finally getting there will be a relief for Satch Sullinger.

"When you're favored every day from day one, it's like we were swimming in waters with sharks," he said. "I had to convince the guys that there weren't any man-eating sharks. From this point on, it's time to have some fun."

sblackledge@dispatch.com