Tag Archives: OHSAA

“Bearcat Till I Die”: The story behind Brookhaven’s closing and its impact

Brookhaven


COLUMBUS, Ohio — “I’m (gonna) be a Bearcat ’till I die, no matter where I am at, I’m gonna always represent Brookhaven.”

This quote came from sophomore starting quarterback Macyah Fleming, and I’m not sure there is a better way to end the video story above. Our video, edited and shot by fellow Ohio State student Dan Hessler and I, was a final project for our Multimedia Journalism class and it had to deal with an “issue in the community”.

The closing of Brookhaven High School is certainly one of the biggest issues to me, but more importantly to the students, faculty and community of people who spent countless hours at the school on 4077 Karl Road.

I grew up watching high school basketball, and almost religiously from 1999 onwards. One thing that I will always remember is Brookhaven’s run of dominance over Columbus in Division I in the early 2000s, and still to this day their success and prowess, finishing their final year in Division II.

The banners will still hang in the gym and parts of the history will carry on, now at Mifflin HS, where there will be a special hall of fame-type section dedicated to Brookhaven athletics. The decision to carry on some traditions at Mifflin was simple, as most of the students who did attend Brookhaven will spend the rest of their high school days there, as the attendance lines are being redrawn.

Some students however, like Macyah, will attend Beechcroft next year. The new attendance boundaries will funnel most of the kids to either of the two schools. The open enrollment policies of Columbus Public still do allow kids to attend whatever school in the district they choose.

The Upset: Brookhaven 67, Northland 66

With the fate of the school up in the air, the boys basketball team played on, and was able to snatch the spotlight one final time.

“Before the game, I told everybody that this was gonna be a special night,” senior guard Ronnie Williams said of the Feb. 10 match-up with Northland. “I told everybody to come and play for each other, and just play together and make smart plays.”

The night was special for Williams and his teammates, knocking off state-ranked and longtime rival Northland 67-66, as his made free-throw with two seconds left gave the Bearcats the lead for good. The win ended the Vikings’ 118-game City League win streak, and sent the Bearcats to the City Championship game, where five days later they defeated Walnut Ridge 44-42 in overtime to bring the title back to Brookhaven for the first time since 2006.

“When I first thought about Brookhaven closing down, it was detrimental to me and my teammates,” Williams, the ODU signee said. “I told my team, and everybody in my school that we need to come together as a unit, and just finish strong throughout the year, and we did so.”

An Undefeated Cinderella? Gahanna 71, Northland 45

For some teams, making it to the round of eight in the OHSAA Basketball tournament can be an entire dream in itself in any division. The Gahanna-Lincoln Lions had achieved that dream for the first time in school history. Not only was it the