Circleville, Ohio – (5)Sinclair (28-3) Men’s basketball team found themselves on the wrong side of March Madness Friday night. Fresh off their upset of Owens in the 1st round, Cuyahoga continued their Cinderella story as they held on to knock off the #1 seed Sinclair 79-72 in the District Semifinals.
Like the first two games of the season between the two, this was going to be a physical match up that would come down to the final few possessions. Neither team had more than a 9 point lead at any given point of the game as Sinclair held the lead for 20 minutes and Cuyahoga 19.
The story of the game for the Pride was an inability to score the ball. Sinclair was ranked in the top 10 of the nation all year averaging 93 points per game and Cuyahoga needed get the game in the 70’s if they had a chance.
Sinclair was able to somehow take a 34-29 lead into half as the Pride was not connecting on all cylinders. Sinclair shot 34% from the field and missed several shots at the rim that they normally convert. Cuyahoga was able to keep the game played at their pace and limit Sinclair’s scoring opportunities.
Midway through the second half, Cuyahoga took a lead that Sinclair could never regain. As Sinclair opened the game going scoreless for the first 4 minutes, the Pride hit a fatal drought with about 13 minutes to go that lasted almost 5 minutes that cost Sinclair the game.
Just as Sinclair was struggling to find any success at scoring, Cuyahoga was lighting it up at the other end as the Challengers shot a blistering 62% in the second half. Under normal circumstances this would be a lethal blow but add the additional pressure of March Madness and the possibility of ending your season, the situation turned grave real fast.
The Pride made one more frantic run in the final minutes to get to within 4 points only to once again miss normally makeable shot as Cuyahoga painfully made free throws to ice their 2nd upset victory of the week and a spot in the District Finals.
A truly unusual game for the Pride, recording only 12 team assist after being ranked 3rd in the nation with 23 assist per game. Another telling stat other than the shooting %, Sinclair was 2nd in the nation in rebounding with 48 boards per game and on Friday night Cuyahoga out rebounded the Pride by 16.
Leading Sinclair in the final game was DeAngalo Gates (6-2/SO – Thurgood Marshall H.S.) as he sparked the Pride with 17 points and 4 rebounds. The lone returning starter for next season, Akiean Frederick (6-8/FR – Columbus Franklin Heights H.S.), poured in 16 points and grabbed 6 rebounds. Manny Powell (5-8/SO – Gahanna Lincoln H.S.) scored 13 points and handed out 9 assist and Marcellous Washington (6-1/SO – Lexington Bryan Station H.S.) scored 14 points.
Sinclair enjoyed a very special year breaking all kinds of school records. Winning a conference championship for only the fifth time in the 51 years of Sinclair Men’s Basketball and setting a school record for best start and longest winning streak 21-0 will be marks long remembered.
Building 8 Arena was alive for all home games this year as the campus community showed incredible support all year long for both teams.
A season that fell short on one goal but achieved so many others and will continue to achieve through graduation, this group has moved the standards higher for all other teams to follow.
You can follow the Men’s Basketball team on our new website: