The Watterson High School girls basketball team discussed the importance of getting out to a good start before playing Grove City in its Division I district tournament opener on Feb. 14 at Olentangy Orange.

The Watterson High School girls basketball team discussed the importance of getting out to a good start before playing Grove City in its Division I district tournament opener on Feb. 14 at Olentangy Orange.

The ninth-seeded Eagles backed that talk up by racing out to a 19-5 lead by the end of the first quarter and holding a 33-16 advantage at halftime en route to a 69-34 victory over the Greyhounds.

"We didn't want to have a slow start or to have any up-and-down quarters, so we came out ready to play and executed from the very beginning," said senior point guard Ashley Andracki, whose team was 17-4 before playing Hilliard Darby in the second round Feb. 22. "We were able to run on them a lot to get a lot of open looks, and everyone's shots were falling."

Junior forward Alexis Mayle scored a season-high 15 points to lead Watterson. Andracki had 12 points, senior post player Celeste Cantwell scored 10 and junior forward Annie Gavin scored nine, as 10 players scored for the Eagles.

Jen Draper had 15 points to lead Grove City, which finished 5-16.

"We didn't take them lightly at all because of their record," senior guard Regina Smith said. "We tend to do better when we start out strong and we came out with a lot of energy and beat them in every quarter."

With a victory over Darby, Watterson would advance to a district semifinal to face top-seeded Reynoldsburg or Franklin Heights at 8 p.m. March 1 at Orange.

The Raiders, who were first in last week's state poll, defeated Groveport 90-32 in their first-round game on Feb. 16 to improve to 21-0, as senior guard Adesua Aideyman had 22 points and sophomore post player Alyssa Rice scored 20.

Last year as the fourth seed, the Eagles were upset by Pickerington Central 65-61 in the second round of the district tournament.

"We know Reynoldsburg is good, but we played them over the summer and we know we can play at their level," Smith said. "If we end up playing Reynoldsburg, we'll need to play fast but not so fast that we're out of control."

Andracki was averaging a team-high 11.3 points through 21 games, followed by junior guard Kayla Cook (8.1), Gavin (8.1) and Smith (5.8).

"We shot the ball well and ran our transition well against Grove City," coach Tom Woodford said. "We've had eight different kids lead us in scoring this year, so I'd like to see a lot of kids continue to contribute for us throughout the tournament.

"To keep winning in the tournament, we need to keep our turnovers down and we'll need a minimum of 50 to 55 shots per game, because in the games where we've had 16 or more turnovers, we've usually lost or come close to losing."

•The boys basketball team beat DeSales 42-32 in a CCL game Feb. 17 at Ohio Dominican University to clinch its first league title since 2004.

Watterson finished 7-1 in the CCL, ahead of Hartley (6-2), St. Charles (4-4), DeSales (2-6) and Ready (1-7).

"Every time we play DeSales it's a meaningful game, but playing for a chance to secure the CCL title outright made it more relevant for both teams," coach Vince Lombardo said. "We're very excited about winning the CCL outright, because we didn't want to share it."

DeSales outscored Watterson 13-2 in the third quarter to take a 30-24 lead before Andy Grieser hit a 3-pointer with five seconds remaining in the quarter to start the Eagles on a game-ending 18-2 run.

Bryan Jackson led the Eagles with 11 points and Matt Lehmann scored 10.

"DeSales caused us some problems with a 1-2-2 press and went ahead 30-24 late in the third quarter," Lombardo said.

"It was a hard-fought game and our defensive effort made the difference."

•The bowling teams ended their seasons in sectional play.

The girls finished 11th (1,956) in the 22-team sectional Feb. 18 at Columbus Western Bowl behind champion Briggs (2,563), and the boys finished 13th (2,467) in the 24-team sectional Feb. 18 at Columbus Western Bowl behind champion Jonathan Alder (2,918).

The top nine teams and top nine individuals not on qualifying teams qualified for the district tournament on Saturday, Feb. 25, at HP Lanes.

•The girls swimming and diving team scored 213 points in the Division I district meet Feb. 18 at Ohio State to tie Thomas Worthington for second behind Upper Arlington (522).

"To only have seven girls in the lineup and to still finish as runner-up was pretty sweet," senior Camey Rabold said.

A total of seven Eagles qualified for the state meet Friday, Feb. 24, and Saturday, Feb. 25, at Branin Natatorium in Canton.

Aly Francis, Taylor Brown, Rabold and Michele Rielly won the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1 minute, 36.3 seconds ahead of UA (1:36.65). The relay is seeded first for state.

"That was exciting because we didn't even have our top four girls for that relay," Rabold said. "We might switch our lineup up at state and add Samantha Schuttinger, depending on what our coaches want to do."

Rielly won the 50 free in 23.62 and Francis placed fourth in 24.35. Rielly is seeded second at state and Francis is 18th.

Rielly finished second in the 100 backstroke in 55.77 behind UA's Lauren Comer (55.66) and one spot ahead of Rabold (55.86). They also are the top three seeds for state.

Rabold also finished second in the 200 free in 1:49.99 behind UA's Gracie Long (1:49.9).

"I'm extremely happy because I tied my best time in the 200 free, and Michele and I both had our best times in the 100 back," Rabold said.

"Michele's thrilled about where she's at going into state, and I feel I can race better at state, too."

Francis, Schuttinger, Brown and Rabold finished third in the 400 free relay in 3:34.87 at district and are seeded eighth for state.

Schuttinger also finished ninth in the 100 free in 53.21 and is seeded 21st for state.

The top two finishers in each swimming event at district qualified for state. In addition, 16 at-large state berths were awarded for each swimming event based on district times statewide.