The Canal Winchester High School boys basketball team will be at a size disadvantage when it plays at 23rd-seeded Dresden Tri-Valley in the first round of the Division I district tournament at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23.
How well the 29th-seeded Indians, whose roster consists mostly of players who are 6-foot-1 or shorter, defend 6-6 center Avery Williams could determine the outcome, according to coach Kent Riggs.
Riggs said 6-1 forwards Skyler Scott and Alex McCoy and 6-1 center Keenan Tate likely will take turns guarding Williams, 6-2 guard Daltyn Colley will guard the Scotties' top outside shooter, 6-1 point guard Trevor Krouskoupf.
Tri-Valley beat New Concord John Glenn 47-38 on Feb. 16 to improve to 15-7, as Krouskoupf scored 21 points and Williams had 14 points and nine rebounds.
"Williams is a good inside player, but we've seen a lot of good big men this year and we're used to being at a size disadvantage," Riggs said. "Not having an inside presence has been an issue for us all year. There's nothing you can do to add height, so we've got to work around it.
"We'll need to be more physical and aggressive under the basket and do a good job blocking out to keep their big man off the glass. We've got to do a good job anticipating where the ball is going to keep him from getting it in the paint for easy baskets and rebounds."
The winner will play at third-seeded Olentangy Liberty in the second round Wednesday, Feb. 27. The Patriots, who have a first-round bye, are 21-1 and enter the postseason on a 17-game winning streak.
The second-round winner advances to a district semifinal March 6 at Marysville.
Canal Winchester, which has not played Tri-Valley or Liberty this season, closed the regular season Feb. 16 with a 58-53 win at Chillicothe to improve to 10-12 overall. Wing player Seth McCoy led the Indians with 22 points and point guard Thomas Nolan scored 19.
Canal Winchester beat Fairfield Union 51-49 on Feb. 15 to finish 9-5 in the MSL-Buckeye Division. Nolan scored 14 points and assisted on the winning basket. With the game tied at 49 in the closing seconds, he stole the ball and passed it to guard Jalen Smith, who converted a layup with one second remaining.
The Indians finished second in the MSL-Buckeye, behind Bloom-Carroll (14-0) and ahead of Logan Elm (8-6), Amanda-Clearcreek (6-8), Fairfield Union (6-8), Teays Valley (5-9), Circleville (4-10) and Hamilton Township (4-10).
In a 71-58 loss to Pickerington Central on Feb. 12, McCoy had 22 points and Nolan scored 13.
"We like to spread the court and make bigger guys come out and guard us on the perimeter," Riggs said. "That opens up space so our guards can use their quickness to drive and get open looks at the basket. We don't have a true offensive post player, so we'll need to have some guys shoot well for us. Seth McCoy's been shooting well and scoring for us lately, but consistency has been an issue for most of our players this season. That needs to change in the tournament."
Riggs said Colley has been the Indians' most consistent player this season.
"Daltyn doesn't score a lot so his value isn't easily seen in box scores, but he plays well night in and night out," Riggs said. "He usually guards the other team's best player and he's done a good job of keeping us in games with his defense."
Two wrestlers advance to district
Two members of the wrestling team advanced to the Division I district tournament Friday, Feb. 22, and Saturday, Feb. 23, at Hilliard Darby.
Sophomore Nick Hammond went 2-1 in a sectional tournament Feb. 16 at Watkins Memorial and placed second at 145 pounds, and senior Max Lacey went 3-1 and placed second at 220.
The top four finishers in each weight class advanced to district.
Hammond opened with a 4-1 win over Thomas Worthington's Alex Good and beat Pickerington Central's Jordan Pieczynski 3-2 in a semifinal before being pinned by Olentangy's Cody Pollitt in 40 seconds in the final.
Lacey defeated Hilliard Bradley's Fraser Smith 8-4 in a semifinal before losing to Olentangy Orange's Chris Crumb 18-10 in the final.
At district, the top four placers in each weight class advance to the state tournament Feb. 28-March 2 at Ohio State.
"Both Max and Nick wrestled pretty well, but they came out flat-footed in the final or they could have won this tournament," coach Trent Brooks said. "Both of them could make it to state, especially if they get good draws. They just need to open up and wrestle better than they did here."
Placing fifth to be district alternates were senior Emmanuel Barnes (2-2 at 132), senior Zach Snyder (2-1 at 152) and junior Kevin Wade (2-2 at heavyweight).
Also competing at sectional were juniors Justin Burge (0-2 at 182) and Matt Schell (0-2 at 120), sophomore Trace Luckett (0-2 at 170) and freshmen Jamirhan Jackson (1-3, sixth at 106) and Leveland Taylor (0-2 at 138).
The Indians scored 80 points at sectional to finish ninth of 10 teams, behind champion Bradley (205).
"We did all right considering that we only filled 10 of the 14 weight classes and five of our guys are first-year wrestlers," Brooks said.
Girls basketball team falls in tourney opener
The girls basketball team lost to eighth-seeded Hilliard Davidson 54-27 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 16.
Seeded 28th, Canal Winchester finished 10-13.
Point guard Kaleigh Whitlatch and post player Raven Hamilton each scored seven points to lead the Indians. Point guard Lauren Bates had 20 points to lead the Wildcats, who led 32-12 at halftime.
Swim teams end season at district
No members of the boys and girls swimming and diving teams qualified for the Division I state meet Thursday, Feb. 21, through Saturday, Feb. 23, at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
The girls team scored 16 points to place 21st in the district meet Feb. 16 at Ohio State, behind champion Upper Arlington (491) as 24 teams scored.
Sophomore Lexie Meade finished ninth in the 200-yard freestyle in 1 minute, 58.17 seconds and 10th in the 500 free (5:24.91) and teamed with junior Devon Shull, junior Kasey Pastor and freshman Chloe Palmer to finish 22nd in the 200 medley relay (2:04.61) and 26th in the 200 free relay (1:52.72).
The boys team scored 11 points at district to place 22nd, behind champion UA (380) as 24 teams scored.
Senior Wyatt Meade finished 10th in the 100 backstroke (54.27) and 13th in the 200 individual medley (2:01.78).
The top two placers in swimming event at district automatically advanced to state. In addition, 16 at-large state berths were awarded for each swimming event based on times statewide. The top three boys divers and top four girls divers also advanced to state.