The Bexley High School boys basketball team enters the Division II district tournament with experience in close games and a share of the MSL-Ohio Division title. The Lions defeated Newark Catholic, the top-ranked team in Division IV state poll, 56-50 last Monday to secure a share of the title, its first since 2005.

The Bexley High School boys basketball team enters the Division II district tournament with experience in close games and a share of the MSL-Ohio Division title. The Lions defeated Newark Catholic, the top-ranked team in Division IV state poll, 56-50 last Monday to secure a share of the title, its first since 2005.

Sparked by Jalen Robinette's 67-footer at the third-quarter buzzer, the Lions held Newark Catholic to one field goal in the fourth quarter as they rallied from an eight-point deficit. Bexley improved to 18-2 overall and finished 13-1 in the MSL-Ohio. The Green Wave fell to 18-1 overall and 13-1 in the league.

"I didn't think that shot had a chance," said Robinette, who finished with 10 points. "It definitely gave us a lift going into the fourth quarter."

Bexley faces either Centennial or Whitehall in the second round of the Division II tournament at 6:15 p.m. Friday at Centerburg. Those teams played in the first round last Tuesday.

Bexley defeated the Rams 74-62 on Dec. 18 and 81-67 on Jan. 30, but has not faced the Stars this season.

Whitehall was 7-12 overall after losing to Granville 58-52 last Friday. Keith Cobb scored 18 points in the first meeting. Chris Morrow had 21 points and Josh Bernthold added 18 in the second matchup. The Rams made 17 3-pointers in the two games against Bexley.

The Stars, 10-9 overall, averaged 75.25 points while winning their last four games.

The Lions found the second trip through the MSL-Ohio more challenging than first. Bexley defeated Heath, Whitehall, Granville, Lakewood, Licking Valley and Columbus Academy by an average of 17.83 points in the first trip through the conference and 10.6 in the second round.

The Lions defeated Heath 64-39 on Dec. 12, Licking Valley 61-49 on Jan. 22 and Columbus Academy 72-39 on Jan. 22 in the first round.

Bexley had to hold off the Bulldogs 48-43 on Jan. 26, the Panthers 56-55 on Feb. 17 and the Vikings 52-49 last Friday.

•Last season, the swimming season ended too early for Ranen Jones.

The senior made sure that did not happen this year. Last Friday in the Division II meet at Ohio State's McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion, Jones anchored the 200-yard freestyle relay to a fourth-place finish in 1 minute, 44.84 seconds. She followed Anna Bauer, Amanda Young and Allie Cardenas in the lineup.

The top four finishers in each event advanced to the Division II state meet, which began last Wednesday and concludes Saturday in Branin Natatorium in Canton. The relay is seeded 24th at state meet and competes in the preliminaries on Friday. The top 16 finishers advance to the night finals on Saturday.

"This means I get to continue to be with the girls I love and continue swimming for another week," said Jones, whose team was sixth with 112.5 points behind champion Hartley (317). The boys team finished 31st with five points, as Columbus Academy (270) won. "We worked very hard for this and it all came together."

Last year, the same four finished sixth in the 200 free relay (1:45.66) and the top five finishers advanced to state. Young was determined to send seniors Jones and Cardenas back to the state meet. Jones participated in the state meet as a freshman and as a sophomore and Cardenas made it as a freshman.

"It's really big for us," Young said. "It's Allie and Ranen's senior year and this was such a great end to the season. We were all there for each other and we did what we could."

Cardenas (eighth in the 200 free, 2:05.86) and the girls 200 medley relay (sixth, 1:58.11) and the 400 free relay (seventh, 4:00.87) also made the awards podium, but didn't advance.

"For those four girls, getting to the state meet is the prize," coach Natalie Mossman said. "Anything else is the icing."

•In the last four games of the regular season, the girls basketball team got about one-fourth of its offense from behind the 3-point arc.

How far the Lions go in the postseason might depend on the development of their inside game.

"We cannot just be one-dimensional," said coach Jim Strode, whose team was 10-11 overall before facing second-seeded Big Walnut last Wednesday. "(In a 50-26 win over Centennial in the first round on Feb. 17 at Watkins Memorial), we got balanced, efficient scoring. We hit a lot of 3s, but we started (our scoring) inside and worked our way out."

The winner last Wednesday will meet either Highland or DeSales in a district semifinal Tuesday at Pickerington North.

The Stallions won five of their last seven games, including a 53-29 decision over Licking Valley in the first round on Feb. 17. Junior guard Maddie Lockhart scored 14 points for the Stallions.

Highland is led by Kristen Anderson, who made 51.9 percent of her field-goal attempts and averaged 7.3 rebounds in the regular season.

Against the Stars, the Lions shot 47 percent from the floor as Danielle Van Bibber scored 11 points and Lily Watson added nine.

•The wrestling team finished eighth with 93 points behind champion Licking Valley (246.5) last Saturday in the Division II sectional meet at Licking Heights and advanced five to the district meet, which is Friday and Saturday at Uhrichsville Claymont.

Mikey Penn and D.J. Jones placed third in the sectional.

Jones defeated Jonathan Alder's Ben Robinson 12-6 in the consolation final at 125 pounds and Penn defeated London's Keith Carius 8-6 in the 189 consolation final.

Tommy Bolon (152), Dan Doersam (112) and Devlin Carver (171) all finished fourth to advance to district.

In the first round at district, Doersam (28-13) will meet Beaver Local's John McComas (30-9), Jones (22-5) will battle New Philadelphia's Josh Seldenright (13-5), Bolon (31-8) will face Minerva's Scott Boyce (30-5), Carver (23-14) will pair up against West Holmes' Zach Didinger (21-11) and Penn (27-5) will test Claymont's Travis Davis (17-8).

At a glance

Below are the state qualifiers with district result and state seed for the Bexley boys and girls swimming teams:

Boys -- No qualifiers; Girls -- 200 free relay (1:44.84, fourth, 24th seed)

Others who competed at the district were: Boys -- Jake Block: 50 free (24.85, 27th); Hayden Humphrey: 100 breast (1:07.07, 17th), Jacob Turner: 500 free (5:54.42, 19th); 200 medley relay: (1:56.93, 18th); 200 free relay (1:40.55, 18th); Girls -- Anna Bauer: 50 free (26.83, 18th), 100 free (59.24 , 21st); Claire Beckett: 100 breast (1:17.41, 20th); Allie

Cardenas: 200 free (2:05.86, eighth), 100 butterfly (1:06.99, 17th); Sierra Humphrey: 100 breast (1:20.15, 27th); Hayley Johnson: 100 back (1:07.47, 17th); Ranen Jones: 50 free (26.99, 23rd), 100 free (57.66, 10th), Georgia Sutter: 200 free (2:13.12, 16th), 500 free (6:12.38, 20th), Nora Steele: 100 back (1:07.41, 16th), 200 IM (2:32.12, 17th); Bryee Wernicke: 100 breast (1:13.17, 12th); Amanda Young: 200 free (2:12.20, 14th), 500 free (5:59.49, 13th); 200 medley relay (1:58.11, sixth); 400 free relay (4:00.87, seventh)

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for Bexley boys basketball, girls basketball, swimming and wrestling teams:

BOYS BASKETBALL

*Feb. 17 -- Defeated Licking Valley 56-55. The Lions outscored the Panthers 14-6 in the third quarter. Reuel Rogers had 20 points. Matt Asensio scored 11 points and Jalen Robinette added 10

*Last Friday -- Def. Columbus Academy 62-59. The Lions outscored the Vikings 20-14 in the third quarter. Rogers had 26 points and Asensio added 16

Last Saturday -- Def. Marysville 45-44. The Lions outscored the Monarchs 14-9 in the fourth quarter. Rogers had 19 points and Asensio added 13.

*Last Monday -- Def. Newark Catholic 56-50

Friday -- At Centerbug vs. Whitehall or Centennial in second round of Division II district tournament. The winner will play in a semifinal against Big Walnut, Buckeye Valley or Hamilton Township on March 4 in the Fairgrounds Coliseum

Of note: The Lions are 18-2 overall and 13-1 in the MSL-Ohio. They had a first-round by in the district tournament.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Feb. 17 -- Def. Centennial 50-26 in first round of Division II district tournament at Watkins Memorial. Danielle Van Bibber had 11 points.

Last Wednesday -- Played Big Walnut in second round of district tournament. The winner will play in a semifinal at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday at Pickerington North against Highland or DeSales. The district final would be at 8:45 p.m. March 5 at North.

Of note: The Lions were 10-11 overall before last Wednesday and finished 5-9 (sixth) in MSL-Ohio.

SWIMMING

Last Friday -- Boys: Finished 31st (5) behind champion Academy (270) at Division II district meet at Ohio State's McCorkle Aquatic Center. Girls: Finished sixth (112) behind champion Hartley (331).

WRESTLING

Last Saturday -- Finished eighth (93) behind champion Licking Valley (246.5) in Division II sectional at Licking Heights. Dan Doersam (112), D.J. Jones (125), Tommy Bolon (152), Devlin Carver (171) and Mikey Penn (189) all advanced to the district meet.

Friday-Saturday -- District meet at Claymont. The top four individuals in each class advance to the state meet on March 4-6 at Ohio State.

Of note: The Lions finished 5-12 overall and 2-5 in the MSL-Ohio