Sam Decker of the Canal Winchester High School boys swimming and diving team had mixed feelings as he stood on the awards podium during the Division I state meet that concluded Feb. 25 at Branin Natatorium in Canton after placing third in the 50-yard freestyle in 21.2 seconds.

Sam Decker of the Canal Winchester High School boys swimming and diving team had mixed feelings as he stood on the awards podium during the Division I state meet that concluded Feb. 25 at Branin Natatorium in Canton after placing third in the 50-yard freestyle in 21.2 seconds.

On one hand, the senior, who also finished ninth in the 100 free (46.68), was disappointed that he didn't win a state title given that he had won the 100 free in a team-record 46.1 seconds and placed third in the 50 free (20.91) in the Division II state meet a year ago.

On the other hand, he was proud that he made a good showing in both events while competing on the Division I level for the first time.

"Technically, I finished ninth, but I think I had like the fifth fastest time, time-wise, (in the 100 free)," Decker said. "It was an OK day. I always feel like I could have done better."

With Decker as their lone representative, the Indians scored 25 points at state to finish 24th behind champion Cincinnati St. Xavier (297.5) as 47 teams scored.

"I am the only Canal Winchester swimmer here," Decker said. "It was kind of different not having any other friends here. That's part of the fun of this. You bond more with your teammates. All things considered, I am happy with my times. It's more a mentality. I am personally happy with how I did this time."

•The boys basketball team opened the Division I district tournament with a 53-46 loss to ninth-seeded Olentangy Orange on Feb. 23 at Marysville.

Canal Winchester led 17-12 after the first quarter, 26-24 at halftime and 32-30 late in the third quarter. The Pioneers led 36-34 after the third quarter.

The Indians pulled within 48-46 with less than three minutes remaining, but Orange scored the final five points.

"I'm proud of our effort because we played a good ballgame and we were right there with them until the very end," coach Kent Riggs said. "Defensively, we took away some things and we outrebounded them 29-24. But Orange is one of the better defensive teams that we've played and they didn't relent with their defensive pressure. They wore us down and we had 19 turnovers, including 12 in the second half, and those turnovers led to some easy layups for them."

Junior guard Thomas Nolan scored 14 points and senior forward Austin Whitlatch scored 11 for the Indians, who finished 10-11 overall. Orange improved to 16-5 and advanced to play Reynoldsburg in the second round Thursday, March 1.

"We shot 42 percent for the game and we needed to shoot better than that to win this game," Riggs said.

The loss capped an up-and-down season for the Indians, who beat Watterson 59-57 in overtime on Dec. 27 to avenge a 39-37 overtime loss to the Eagles in their Division II district tournament opener a year ago.

Canal Winchester won its last four regular-season games, including a 46-30 victory over Teays Valley on Feb. 11, which avenged a 55-53 overtime loss to the Vikings on Jan. 10.

The Indians went 9-5 in the MSL-Buckeye Division to tie Logan Elm for second behind Bloom-Carroll (14-0) and ahead of Amanda-Clearcreek (7-7), Circleville (6-8), Teays Valley (6-8), Fairfield Union (5-9) and Hamilton Township (0-14).

"Overall, our league was real competitive," Riggs said. "But we improved tremendously the last three weeks of the season and peaked in time for the tournament."

The Indians will lose two senior starters in Whitlatch and forward Alex Fox. Whitlatch averaged 8.5 points and was honorable mention all-league and Fox averaged five points.

"Our seniors kept us going with their character and work ethic," Riggs said.

Players who started multiple games and are expected to return are Nolan, sophomore point guard Shemar Waugh, 6-foot-5 junior center Zach Morehead and sophomore guard Daltyn Colley.

Waugh, who averaged 12.4 points, 3.5 assists and two steals, was first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district. Nolan averaged 13.1 points and was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district, and Morehead averaged 4.7 points.

"I'm excited about our future because we have some key players coming back" Riggs said.

•The wrestling team scored 7.5 points to finish 30th in the Division I district tournament on Feb. 24 and 25 at Hilliard Darby behind champion Marysville (174).

Max Lacey (220 pounds) went 2-2, Dalton Tullius (145) went 1-2 and Royce Calloway (152) went 0-2.

The top four placers in each weight class qualified for the state tournament, which runs Thursday, March 1, through Saturday, March 3, at Ohio State, and none of the Indians made the cut.