Tuesday's Westerville South vs. Pickerington Central matchup had all the makings of an instant classic. Whether it was the fact that both teams were undefeated, or that the game featured a big man matchup pitting 6-foot-10 Ohio State signee Kaleb Wesson against 6-foot-11 North Carolina signee Sterling Manley, proving would be done on Tuesday.
While Manley's Pickerington Central team got the best of Westerville South in a 62-57 victory, Wesson appeared to win the one-on-one battle. Finishing with 19 points and 12 rebounds, Wesson was efficient around the basket, converting several three-point plays and showing great touch inside. Wesson was able to use his massive size to get deep position on Manley, where the OSU signee finished more than he didn't. Manley was held to eight points and three rebounds, missing a large chunk of action due to foul trouble.
Wesson converted two three-point plays inside in which he was fouled by Manley and finished through the contact. On the defensive side of the ball, Wesson did a good job preventing Manley from getting deep position, while only giving up one bucket to the UNC signee head-to-head.
Wesson's double-double was nearly enough for Westerville South to pull off the home win, but Pickerington Central would be too much late, as a career night from another player with Buckeye ties proved to be the difference for the Tigers.
Buckeye Legacy Jeremiah Francis dazzles in win at Westerville South
Jeremiah Francis has grown up in and around Ohio State basketball. Like Wesson, Francis' father, Jerry Francis, played for the Buckeyes in the 1980s and scored more than 1000 points in his career.
Performing in front of Ohio State coaches Greg Paulus and Chris Jent, one of Jerry Francis' good friends, the young sophomore Jeremiah Francis played the best game of his career. Going for a career-high 27 points, Francis was in attack mode from the opening tip.
Attacking Westerville South off the dribble, from the perimeter and especially on defense, Francis showed the full arsenal of a skill set that is ever expanding. In a game where Francis needed to take control for Pickerington Central to win, Francis did just that, sparking a 25-5 second quarter behind four first half threes.
Francis would finish the job in the second half, hitting big shots and converting at the line, while keeping the ball on a string and limiting Pickerington Central turnovers. In a game that was supposed to feature the two elite big men, it would be Francis who stole the show.
Holding offers from Nebraska, Purdue and West Virginia, Francis is on the radar of more than a dozen high-major programs, including Ohio State. Taking point guards in the 2016 and 2017 classes, it is likely that OSU will not recruit that position in 2018, which could open up a scholarship opportunity for Francis in 2019.
It is no secret that Francis' recruitment would be changed with an Ohio State offer, especially given his father's deep ties to the Buckeye program. After all, Francis saved his biggest performance for the biggest game of his young career, all in front of the watchful eyes of OSU coaches and players, alike.
OSU Commit Justin Ahrens Out to Incredible Start
Leading his Versailles Tigers out to a hot start to the 2016-17 season, Ohio State commit Justin Ahrens has been on fire as of late. Ahrens had scoring performances of 26 points against Dayton Dunbar and 25 points against Anna to win the weekly "Who's Hot!" honors from Press Pros Magazine last week.
Ahrens is a big reason why Versailles is considered the regional favorite to come out of Dayton in Division III this March. With only one loss to the aforementioned Dunbar, who is one of the state's very best in Division II, Versailles can expect to get a heavy dose of offense each night from Ahrens.