Bexley High School wrestling coach Bob Triano has been around the sport long enough to know that a postseason performance can come down to a little luck.

Bexley High School wrestling coach Bob Triano has been around the sport long enough to know that a postseason performance can come down to a little luck.

Freshman Michael Johnson wrestled his way through the losers' bracket of a Division II sectional tournament Feb. 28 at Whitehall and emerged as a district qualifier at 182 pounds. He was one of three Lions to earn a top-four finish and advance to compete Friday, March 6, and Saturday, March 7, at Heath.

"(Johnson) went into the sectional with an 8-14 record, so (him advancing) was a surprise," said Triano, whose team finished ninth (78 points) of 12 teams at sectional behind champion Caledonia River Valley (219). "It was one of the weakest weight classes, but he came down into the losers' bracket and got a pin. He came in at the right time in the right weight class."

Johnson, who is 10-16 overall, will be joined at district by sophomores Perrin Ruff (29-11 at 126) and Eric Crane (21-13 at 145). The top four finishers in each weight class at district advance to the state tournament March 12-14 at Ohio State.

All three went 2-2 at sectional, as Crane finished third and Johnson and Ruff both were fourth. Freshman Grant Robinson (24-13 at 220) is a district alternate following his fifth-place finish at sectional.

Triano is in his first season with the Lions, but his coaching career in central Ohio dates to the 1960s. He coached DeSales from 1965-74, winning state championships in 1971 and 1974.

"It was really a pretty even day for us (at sectional)," Triano said. "Everybody won a match with the exception of one wrestler. We'll head into district and see what we can do. Our guys are going to be facing No. 1 and No. 2 (seeds) from other sectionals, but we're a team that's improving."

Crane was the only Bexley wrestler to win his first match, as he pinned Jonathan Alder's Jake Davis in 2 minutes, 49 seconds. He also pinned Walnut Ridge's Mohamet Ndiaye in 2:59 in the third-place match.

Also competing at sectional but failing to advance to district were Chance Sidoti (106), Zak Welsh (132), Jon Clark (138), Reece Wilson (152), Avery Abel (160) and Jalen Hatton (170).

Hoffman swims at state meet

As a first-time competitor in the Division II state swimming and diving meet, Bexley senior Ben Hoffman wasn't so sure of a strategy. But he was well aware of the speed around him in the 100-yard butterfly.

"I probably went out a little too hard," he said. "Swimming fly is like bouncing something on the head of a needle. You can't go out too hard because you're going to fly and die. You can't go out too slow because if you come back you'll never catch up."

Hoffman competed in the preliminaries Feb. 26 at Branin Natatorium in Canton and clocked 53.44 seconds, one-hundredth of a second slower than his district time. He finished 21st, one place higher than his seed, but failed to make the field of 16 in the finals.

"I could've been better, but I essentially didn't lose any time, so that was a good thing," said Hoffman, who was Bexley's first state competitor since 2011, when Hayden Humphrey qualified in the 100 breaststroke.

Girls basketball team reaches district semi

Led by sophomore guard Brie Toney, the ninth-seeded girls basketball team won its first two postseason games and reached a Division III district semifinal.

The Lions were 14-10 before playing at second-seeded Africentric on March 4. The winner plays top-seeded North Union or eighth-seeded Utica in a district final Friday, March 6, at Ohio Dominican.

Bexley defeated 11th-seeded Fredericktown 49-42 on Feb. 24 and 12th-seeded Centerburg 46-33 on Feb. 28, both at home.

Toney led all scorers with 15 points against Centerburg. She scored all of her 15 points in the second half against Fredericktown, including 13 in the fourth quarter.

Elise Torrence added 14 points against Fredericktown.

The district champion faces Genoa Area, Oak Harbor, Bucyrus Wynford or New London in a regional semifinal Wednesday, March 11, at Lexington. The regional final is March 14 at Lexington.

Boys basketball team opens district tourney

The boys basketball team entered the Division II district tournament in a familiar spot after losing its final three MSL-Ohio Division games against the top teams in the league.

The Lions had the same scenario last season before falling to Watterson 76-51 in a district semifinal.

Bexley, which was seeded 11th and 13-9 overall, opened tournament play March 2 at home against 21st-seeded Marion-Franklin. The winner plays at third-seeded Columbus South in a second-round game Saturday, March 7, with that winner advancing to a district semifinal Tuesday, March 10, against ninth-seeded Bloom-Carroll or 19th-seeded Big Walnut at a site to be determined.

South beat the Lions 72-66 in overtime on Dec. 27.

Entering the postseason, Bexley was looking to end a four-game losing streak that included a 66-62 loss to Grandview on Feb. 25 in the league finale.

Niejel Young had 17 points, Simon Kroos scored 15 and Carter Williams added 11 as the Lions finished 8-6 in the MSL-Ohio.