The matchup between the Canal Winchester High School girls basketball team and its first-round opponent in the Division I district tournament features two squads that have fared quite differently in close contests.
Seeded 28th of 43 teams in the district, the Indians play at eighth-seeded Hilliard Davidson at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16. The winner faces 14th-seeded Newark or 33rd-seeded Walnut Ridge in the second round at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, at the home of the higher seed.
Davidson is 19-3, including 12-2 in games decided by nine points or fewer. Canal Winchester is 10-12, including 3-6 in contests decided by eight points or fewer.
"Good teams find a way to win tight games, and when Davidson goes on the floor, they expect to win," coach Gary Burke said. "We've lost five games by a total of 10 points, so we could have started our season with a 15-6 record (through 21 games) instead of a 10-11 record if we would have just made a few more plays.
"We've already proven that we're good enough to compete with the better teams on our schedule, and now we just need to get over the hump and beat a team that we're not supposed to beat. When we play Davidson, we need to get into the mindset that we can play with them and beat them because we've been close all season."
Davidson is 17-0 when scoring at least 43 and 2-3 when scoring 42 or fewer. The Indians are 7-11 when allowing 44 or more points.
The Wildcats are led by 5-foot-10 senior point guard Lauren Bates, 6-0 senior center Bri Ekanem, 5-10 senior guard Ashley Hurt and 5-5 junior guard Lea Edler. Bates and Hurt each scored 14 points in a 49-39 win over Olentangy Liberty on Feb. 5 and Bates had 16 points in a 49-37 win over Thomas Worthington on Feb. 8.
"We have to continue to get better defensively because we're scoring enough points to win more games than we've won," Burke said. "We need to communicate on defense and make sure we keep their outside shooters covered and help when they get the ball in the post."
Davidson is allowing an average of 39.1 points and Canal Winchester is scoring an average of 56.3. The Indians are 10-4 when scoring 52 or more points.
"Hilliard Davidson plays really good defense but they aren't a high-scoring team, so we've got to pass the ball to the open player and make shots when we get the opportunity," Burke said.
Canal Winchester defeated Hamilton Township 81-51 on Feb. 2 in an MSL-Buckeye Division game and Marion-Franklin 62-16 on Feb. 5 before closing the regular season with a 48-42 league loss to Fairfield Union on Feb. 8.
The Indians finished 8-6 in the MSL-Buckeye.
Forward Raven Hamilton had a team-high 25 points against Hamilton Township, with post player Sarah Miles and point guard Kaleigh Whitlatch scoring 19 and 14, respectively. Hamilton had 18 points, Miles scored 10 and guard Jade Smith scored nine against Marion-Franklin and Hamilton and Whitlatch both scored 13 against Fairfield Union.
Meade siblings fare well in sectional swim meet
Only one of the three members of the boys swimming and diving team competed in the Division I sectional meet Feb. 9 at Upper Arlington.
Wyatt Meade placed fourth in the 100-yard backstroke in 56.24 seconds and finished fifth in the 200 individual medley in 2:04.27. He scored 21 points, as Canal Winchester placed 11th of 12 teams behind champion UA (351).
The winner of each boys and girls sectional event automatically qualified for the district meet Friday, Feb. 15, and Saturday, Feb. 16, at Ohio State. In addition, 27 at-large district berths were awarded in each event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectional sites.
Meade is seeded seventh at district in the 100 back and 10th in the 200 IM.
The top two placers in each swimming event at district automatically advance to the state meet Feb. 21-23 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths will be awarded for each swimming event based on times statewide.
"Wyatt dropped two seconds in his 100 back, which was great," coach Julie Pastor said. "I don't think anyone from our boys or girls team is expected to go to state, but you never know because Wyatt is doing so good and he hasn't even tapered yet."
At sectional for the girls team, Lexie Meade placed sixth in the 200 freestyle (2:02.52) and ninth in the 500 free (5:38.66) and teamed with Devon Shull, Chloe Palmer and Kasey Pastor to place eighth in the 200 medley relay (2:12.17) and 10th in the 200 free relay (1:55.49).
Sydney Boyer finished 28th in the 500 free (7:32.5).
The Indians scored 29 points and placed ninth of 12 teams behind champion UA (463).
"Lexie swam well in her individual events, and both of our relays swam well, too," coach Pastor said. "Sydney Boyer was our best surprise, though, because she dropped 11 seconds in the 500 free in the last swim of her high school career.
"I just want to see all of our girls swim their best times at district."
Lexie Meade is seeded 13th at district in the 200 free and 26th in the 500 free. The 200 medley and 200 free relays are seeded 26th and 29th, respectively.
Boys basketball team closing regular season
The boys basketball team concludes MSL-Buckeye play Friday, Feb. 15, at Fairfield Union before closing the regular season Saturday, Feb. 16, at Chillicothe.
The Indians beat Fairfield Union 46-43 on Jan. 12.
Canal Winchester split a pair of league games last week, losing to Teays Valley 60-58 on Feb. 5 before beating Hamilton Township 65-63 on Feb. 9.
Forward Seth McCoy had a team-high 15 points against Teays Valley, with forward Skyler Scott and point guard Thomas Nolan scoring 14 and 11 points, respectively.
McCoy also led the way against Hamilton Township with 23 points. Nolan had 16 points, including two free throws with 4.8 seconds left that broke a 63-all tie, and forward Alex McCoy scored 12.
The Division I district tournament draw was held Feb. 10. The tournament begins Feb. 23.