The Whetstone High School boys basketball team couldn't have asked for much better of a stretch heading into the Division I district tournament than the one it produced to begin this month.

The Whetstone High School boys basketball team couldn't have asked for much better of a stretch heading into the Division I district tournament than the one it produced to begin this month.

After falling to Centennial 74-60 on Jan. 31, the Braves closed the regular season by winning three of their final four games.

During a 55-38 win over Briggs in its regular-season finale Feb. 14, Whetstone led 14-4 after the first quarter and showed signs of the play that coach Kevin Arway has been striving for all season.

Arway knows the Braves will need a similar effort just to hang with their opening postseason opponent. Whetstone, which is 15-5, faces City League runner-up Walnut Ridge in the first round at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, at Reynoldsburg.

The Scots lost to Northland 66-55 in the City title game Feb. 18 but are 18-1 and seeded second in the district.

"They're definitely a big team and an athletic team," Arway said. "One thing I'm excited to see is our guys perform, because the last four games we've played our best basketball of the year."

Senior guard Marvin Draper and 6-foot-8 senior post player Gabe Reece give the Braves a pair of veterans who earned honorable mention all-City League-North Division. Against Briggs, Reece had 16 points and Draper scored 14 to help Whetstone bounce back from a 75-73 loss to Beechcroft on Feb. 10.

Junior point guard Josh Sanders also has been a standout of late, according to Arway.

Playing a schedule that included two matchups against 2011 Division I state runner-up Northland is something that Arway believes will help limit any intimidation factor the Scots might face.

The Whetstone-Walnut Ridge winner advances to a second-round game against Worthington Kilbourne or Hilliard Darby at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 29, at Reynoldsburg.

"We've been really doing a nice job offensively and in getting the shots we want out of our offense," Arway said. "We've definitely been playing more hard-nosed defense and limiting teams to one shot. One thing we've talked about is that we don't like to do too many things that we've not worked on for most of the season. We like to make adjustments, but not a lot of changes. We'll do our best to deny them the ball in the post."

•Three members of the wrestling team advanced to the Division I district tournament on Friday, Feb. 24, and Saturday, Feb. 25, at Darby, marking the most district qualifiers the Braves have had since 2007 when they also had three.

Anthony Lehnen (106 pounds) and N.D. Matson (195) both went 2-2 and placed fourth and Mac Conkling (113) was 1-2 and finished fourth in the 10-team sectional Feb. 18 at Watkins Memorial.

The top four finishers in each weight class at sectional advanced to district.

"They all did a good job, but we are capable of doing better," coach Tom Jones said. "The positive thing is I don't think we've wrestled to our true potential individually or as a team."

Lehnen (31-6) will open the district against Central Crossing's Josh Wimer (33-7), Conkling (33-6) will face Teays Valley's Kyle Dooley (23-11) and N.D. Matson (15-12) will open against Pickerington Central's J.J. Chowoe (25-4).

The top four finishers in each weight class at district advance to the state tournament March 1-3 at Ohio State.

Placing fifth at sectional was Daylon Smoothers (132). Alex Arnold (182), Kevin Ellison (220) and David Lipscomb (heavy) all were sixth.

"They all wrestled pretty well," Jones said. "Mac wrestled (Reynoldsburg's Greg) Chang twice and pinned him the first time, and Chang was a state alternate last year. With (195) being a new weight class, we weren't sure what to think about it, but Matson did well."

•The swimming and diving program's season ended in the Division I district meet Feb. 18 at Ohio State for Olivia Degitz as well as five relays.

Degitz, who placed 25th in the 100-yard backstroke (1 minute, 3.46 seconds) and 29th in the 100 freestyle (57.24), was one of three seniors in the program, along with Oran Irwin and Suding Seiter from the boys team.

For the boys team at district, Seiter, sophomore Albert Pajor, freshman Alex Nottage and junior Nick Nottage all competed on the 200 free relay (1:45.35, 28th), Nick Nottage, junior Ben Alexander, junior Michael Yokosuk and Pajor swam on the 400 free relay (3:57.78, 26th) and Alexander, Pajor and both Nottages swam on the 200 medley relay (2:03.5, 28th).

Also competing at district for the girls team were junior Christie Norris, sophomore Ellie Downie, junior Alana Bruzzese and junior Audrey Bollas in the 200 free relay (1:56.67, 27th) and Bollas, Bruzzese, Degitz and Norris in the 200 medley relay (2:06.82, 29th).

Neither the boys nor girls team scored at district.

"We had a good season with a lot of new kids who contributed to this year's successes," coach John DeRing said. "It was a learning process, but all the kids were quick learners and hard workers. We lost just three seniors, so the outlook is good for the coming year."

•The girls basketball team lost to third-seeded Olentangy Orange 72-31 on Feb. 14 in the first round of the Division I district tournament to finish 7-14 overall.

Sophomore Kalie Mascarello, who had a team-best 11 points against the Pioneers, and senior Symiah Campbell, who averaged a team-best nine points, both made honorable mention all-City-North.

The other senior was Alexis Harrison.

Others eligible to return are juniors Arionna Darling, Allie Thomas and Taylor Thomas and freshman Liz Khoury.

Whetstone, which finished 5-16 overall and 1-13 in the City-North a year ago, placed sixth in the league this season at 4-10, behind champion Northland (14-0).

The Braves won their final three games of the regular season, beating Centennial 66-29 on Jan. 31, Linden-McKinley 41-23 on Feb. 3 and Columbus West 55-33 on Feb. 7.

"I thought we took a step forward this year," second-year coach Scott Radde said. "I think the girls got used to the planning and preparation that we threw at them more and they grasped things in year two more than last year. It's good that we'll have a lot of experience back."