The Westerville Central High School boys basketball team earned the program's first postseason victory Wednesday, using a balanced effort to beat Pickerington Central 61-53 at Worthington Christian in the first round of the Division I district tournament.

The Westerville Central High School boys basketball team earned the program's first postseason victory Wednesday, using a balanced effort to beat Pickerington Central 61-53 at Worthington Christian in the first round of the Division I district tournament.

Max VanMeter scored 16 points and Jerrell Fernandez had 12 for the 12th-seeded Warhawks, who improved to 16-5 and will play 11th-seedd Mount Vernon or Thomas Worthington in the second round Saturday at New Albany.

Pickerington Central, which finished 8-13, led 6-2, but the Warhawks pulled ahead for good at 12-9 on Fernandez's 3-pointer with two minutes remaining in the opening quarter. Westerville Central never trailed again.

The Warhawks opened a 28-17 lead late in the first half before Pickerington Central managed to cut the deficit to 28-20 at the half on Anthony McGarrah's basket.

Westerville Central maintained its lead in the third quarter as VanMeter scored on a pass from Fernandez and Trey Devereaux added a bucket inside to push the lead to 43-32 after three quarters.

Pickerington Central cut the deficit the six points late, but got no closer. Jourdon Devoll and Fernandez made a pair of free throws in the final minute to seal the victory.

Devereaux scored nine points and Devoll had eight.

"The kids came in with a belief, the coaches came in with a belief," Westerville Central coach Todd Minney said. "We had a good plan. We had two great days of prep for them. We followed the game plan pretty well. Pickerington Central was quicker than I thought they were going to be off of the dribble."

McGarrah scored 16 points for the Tigers followed by Kris Strange with 12.

"One thing our kids have done a pretty good job of lately is not giving in when things aren't going our way, but we just didn't play well enough to win tonight," Pickerington Central coach Jerry Groves said. "We missed way too many layups, we missed way too many free throws (5 of 12) and gave up too many easy baskets."