Last week, we had the opportunity to check out the 7th grade Middle School championship game at Hasting Middle School in Upper Arlington, and we’re glad we did! The matchup pitted the top 2 teams in the Central Ohio with Gahanna Middle School South and Pickerington Ridgeview JH, as well as some of the top kids in the class of 2029. Traditionally, Gahanna and Pickerington are fierce rivals at every level, and could feel the anticipation from the capacity crowd on Thursday night.

As expected, the score was tight though-out the game, and although Gahanna led virtually the entire way, Pickerington had a chance to win it late. Not surprising, the top players for each team took turns knocking down timely shots at key moments in the game.

Evan McNeil was the work horse for Gahanna as he went for a team-high 21 points, most of which was in the post. While McNeil was holding it down in the paint, Steve Blackmon got busy on the perimeter, hitting several clutch shots on his way to a 12-point night. Not only did Blackmon drain a pair of late-game treys, he played a great floor game, while distributing to rock to open teammates.

For Pickerington, Dallas Stewart was worth the price of admission! Fighting through a leg injury, this kid left everything out on the floor and almost singlehandely willed his team to the win. Stewart scored in a variety of ways including long distance bombs, strong drives to the cup, and tough finishes near the rim in route to a monster 26-point effort. Although Stewart’s scoring production was big, what he did defensively was nothing short of impressive.  All-in all, it was a great middle school championship game! Congratulations to Gahanna’s coach, players and fans for a big time season!

Evan McNeal

Dallas Stewart

Steve Blackmon