Thunder Win Ohio Special Olympics Division IV Championship

George Paroz
April 03, 2012

The Thunder rolled down to Strasburg High School this past weekend for the Division IV State Championship basketball tournament.  On Friday night the Thunder took on Upper Arlington from Franklin County.  The contest was back and forth the whole game with neither team ever holding a lead more than 6 points.  In the end the Thunder prevailed with a hard fought 5 point victory.  Kevin Garlitz sealed the game with clutch free throws in the final minute and Robert Lisonbee had an offensive put back that proved pivotal in the win.  Mason Lease led the offensive charge with 28 points and Chris Dejanovitz held their leading scorer at the half to 5 total points in the second half.  With that win the Thunder earned the right to play Hardin County for the state title on Saturday.
The Thunder battled foul trouble in the first half and an amazing player for Hardin County (he tallied 36 of their 46 points respectively).  The Thunder trailed at the half by 13 points.  The third quarter provided much of the same with Kevin Garlitz keeping the Thunder somewhat close with his offense (team high 30 points) but again foul trouble played a key role and the Thunder found themselves in a 16 point deficit heading into the final quarter.  Mason Lease (20 points) re-entered the game with 4 fouls to start the quarter in hopes to provide the Thunder with more offense and not pick up his 5th foul.  The turning point came when with 3 and a half minutes left and the Thunder down by 13 Chris Dejanovitz stepped up and took a charge.  This proved to be Hardin County’s best players 5th foul.  At this point the team realized they had a chance to come back and the fans and cheerleaders rallied around the team.  The Thunder took advantage and Jeremy Sands provided steal after steal and the Thunder proceeded to go on an 18 to 0 run to end the game and bring Portage County their first ever Special Olympic state championship in basketball.  The Thunder held Hardin County to 0 field goals in the final 8 minutes and only allowed 2 made free throws.  As the final seconds ticked off the clock the fans and players began to celebrate what was an epic comeback that everyone in attendance will remember.

If you see any of the players please be sure to congratulate them as the whole team supported each other and every player gave their best effort all year long.