The Canal Winchester High School boys basketball team lost its top defensive player when Daltyn Colley sustained a season-ending knee injury in the second quarter of a 63-36 loss at Hartley on Feb. 10.
With the senior guard out with a torn ACL, coach Kent Riggs said other players will need to step up to fill the void when Canal Winchester competes in the Division I district tournament.
The Indians are seeded 34th of 45 teams and have a first-round bye. They will face sixth-seeded Pickerington Central or 36th-seeded Columbus West in the second round Wednesday, Feb. 26, at the home of the higher seed.
The second-round winner advances to a district semifinal March 5.
"Having Daltyn get hurt right before the start of the tournament is a big blow for us," Riggs said. "He's our best defensive player and he's been scoring and rebounding really well lately, too. He's having a great season and he's a big part of what we do, so we need to find guys who can help fill his role to give ourselves a shot at winning in the tournament."
Riggs said guards John Eyerman and Rodney Tucker will see more minutes in Colley's absence.
"Rodney and John will need to play more in Daltyn's place, but we'll need several guys to chip in to replace all of the things he does for us," Riggs said. "Brendan Snyder's been our leading scorer all year, but DeAndre Slappy and Kamon Craine have had some good games lately and we'll need them both to keep scoring a little more in the tournament."
The Indians lost their final six games of the regular season, including a 54-47 loss to Dublin Scioto on Feb. 14, to drop to 7-15 overall and finish 2-12 in the OCC-Cardinal Division.
Canal Winchester enters the postseason having lost nine of its last 10 games.
"We played well in some of the games we lost recently where we just ran into good teams," Riggs said. "We got a bye in the first round of the tournament and that will give us some extra time to make improvements before our first tournament game, which will very likely be Pickerington Central."
Central, which went 16-5 in the regular season, will be without its best player in 6-foot-5 forward Jae'Sean Tate, an Ohio State signee who is out with a torn labrum in his right shoulder. Tate is the Tigers' all-time leading scorer.
Another key player for Central is guard Connor Kern, an Arkansas State signee.
"Losing a player like Tate is a big blow, but Kern is one of the best players in the state and they have some other guys who have stepped in there and kept them competitive," Riggs said. "Pickerington Central's still real good with or without Tate in the lineup.
"To win some tournament games, we'll need other guys to step up and help Brendan with our scoring and we'll need to play real good team defense."
Meade qualifies for state swim meet
Lexie Meade of the girls swimming and diving team will be making her first appearance in the Division I state meet.
The junior earned an at-large state berth in the 50-yard freestyle after placing sixth in a program-record 24.52 seconds in the district meet Feb. 15 at Ohio State. She is the Indians' only state qualifier.
"This is really exciting because I've been working for this since my eighth-grade year," Meade said. "My teammates cheered for me and really supported me and I did my best for them."
Meade is seeded 23rd in the event for the state meet. The preliminary heats will be held Friday, Feb. 21, and the final will be held Saturday, Feb. 22, at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
"I will try to get another best time there and hopefully I'll place as high as possible," she said.
Meade competed in three other events at district, placing 12th in the 100 free (53.85) and teaming with freshman Miaya Green and seniors Devon Shull and Kasey Pastor to finish 14th in the 200 free relay (program-record 1:45) and 15th in the 200 medley relay (1:56.59).
Also at district, Green placed 23rd in the 100 butterfly (1:02.68) and 29th in the 100 backstroke (1:07.15) and Pastor finished 25th in the 100 fly (1:03.17).
"They all swam well and dropped time," coach Julie Pastor said. "Our relays swam well and it was nice to see Lexie make the podium in the 50 free. Kasey was really happy because she swam her best time in the 100 fly in her last swim."
The top two placers in each 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.
Canal Winchester scored 28 points at district to finish 17th behind champion Upper Arlington (522.5) as 24 teams scored.
The boys team did not have any district qualifiers.
Hammond reaches district in wrestling
Nick Hammond was the only member of the wrestling team to advance to the Division I district tournament, which will be held Friday, Feb. 21, and Saturday, Feb. 22, at Hilliard Darby.
The junior went 4-1 and placed third at 152 pounds in the sectional Feb. 15 at Watkins Memorial, as the top four finishers in each weight class advanced to district.
Hammond, who is 34-6 on the season, also was a district qualifier last season, going 1-2 at 145.
The top four finishers in each weight class at district advance to the state tournament Feb. 27-March 1 at Ohio State.
Senior Justin Burge is a district alternate at 170 after going to 2-2 and placing fifth.
Canal Winchester scored 26.5 points in the 11-team sectional to finish last behind champion Delaware (248.5).
Girls basketball team concludes league play
The girls basketball team defeated Darby 61-57 in double overtime Feb. 11 to finish 5-9 in the OCC-Cardinal.
Raven Hamilton scored 23 of her 24 points after halftime, including two free throws with two seconds remaining in the second overtime, to help the Indians rally from a 34-24 deficit entering the fourth quarter.
Jasmine Smith added 11 points for Canal Winchester, which was 7-15 overall before playing ninth-seeded Dublin Coffman in the second round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 19.
The Indians were seeded 37th of 47 teams and had a first-round bye.
The second-round winner will face sixth-seeded Zanesville, 21st-seeded Big Walnut or 40th-seeded Franklin Heights in a district semifinal Feb. 27 at Hamilton Township.