Because of congested traffic, the Watterson High School girls basketball team needed nearly an hour and a half to drive to Westland for its Division I district tournament opener Feb. 15.
Seeded 24th of 43 teams in the district, the Eagles arrived at Westland just 45 minutes before the start of the game and were able to warm up for only two minutes, but they rolled to a 48-32 victory over the 20th-seeded Cougars.
Watterson was 13-10 before playing fourth-seeded Dublin Coffman in the second round Feb. 20.
"It was supposed to take us 20 minutes to get to Westland and it ended up taking an extra hour to get there because the traffic was so bad," senior post player Annie Gavin said. "Our coach (Tom Woodford) was really worried, but it didn't bother the rest of us that much because we still felt prepared for the game. Luckily, we had already done a shoot-around in our own gym after school, and once we began playing we felt comfortable in their gym."
Watterson trailed 10-8 after the first quarter but led 24-18 at halftime and 38-27 after three quarters. Westland never got closer than 10 points in the fourth quarter.
Guard Makenzie Bevins had a game-high 17 points to lead the Eagles. Guard Kayla Cook and center Emma Nikolai had 10 and seven points, respectively.
"Westland hit some (3-pointers) off of ball screens in the first quarter, but then coach had us switch who we were defending so we wouldn't get screened, and we guarded them well the rest of the game," Gavin said. "Makenzie made three 3-pointers in a row in the second quarter and, once she gets started making shots, she doesn't stop."
The second-round winner advances to play fifth-seeded Northland or 32nd-seeded Delaware in a district semifinal Feb. 28 at Hilliard Davidson.
"Our communication is the key for us to make a run in the tournament," Cook said. "When we're talking, everyone is on the same page and we execute. We need to improve our transition defense and turn our defense into more offensive opportunities."
Four girls advance to state swim meet
The girls swimming and diving team qualified for the Division I state meet Thursday, Feb. 21, through Saturday, Feb. 22, at Branin Natatorium in Canton in a relay and two individual events.
Madeline Grubbe, Carrie Horan, Sam Schuttinger and Josephine Fike finished third in the 200-yard medley relay (1 minute, 48.82 seconds) in the district meet Feb. 16 at Ohio State and are seeded 13th for state.
Grubbe placed fifth in the 100 backstroke (57.87) and is seeded 17th for state, and Horan finished sixth in the 100 breaststroke (1:06.82) and is seeded 22nd.
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. The top four girls divers also advanced to state.
Watterson scored 111 points at district to place 10th, behind champion Upper Arlington (491) as 24 teams scored.
The boys team scored 112 points to finish sixth in the Division II district meet Feb. 15 at Ohio State, behind champion Granville (332) as 36 teams scored.
Watterson did not have any state qualifiers.
Isaiah Mefferd led the Eagles, placing third in the 100 back (personal-best 56.0) and eighth in the 100 butterfly (55.72).
"I dropped a lot of time (3.8 seconds) in my 100 back, so I'm really happy with that race," he said.
Mefferd also teamed with Michael Schwartz, Noah Oliver and Jack Preston to place fourth in the 400 freestyle relay (3:33.55).
"Our biggest highlight was our 400 free relay because we dropped six seconds," Schwartz said. "We all did phenomenal and dropped time in our last meet of the season."
Carter, Eberhart advance to district in bowling
Junior David Carter rolled a 568 series in the sectional tournament Feb. 16 at Columbus Western Bowl to lead the boys bowling team.
Carter placed 15th of 166 competitors and qualified for the district tournament Friday, Feb. 22, at HP Lanes, as the top nine teams and top nine individuals not on a qualifying team at sectional advanced.
Watterson finished 12th (3,293) of 30 teams at sectional, behind champion Newark (4,030).
At district, the top three individuals not on a qualifying team advance to the state tournament March 2 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
Senior Katie Eberhart led the girls team at sectional by rolling a 506 series to tie for 10th of 161 competitors and advance to district, which will be held Saturday, Feb. 23, at HP Lanes.
Watterson finished 13th (2,560) of 25 teams, behind champion Briggs (3,757).
The girls state tournament will be held March 1 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
Last year at district, Eberhart tied for 46th (446).
Two wrestlers qualify for district
Two members of the wrestling team qualified for the Division II district tournament Friday, Feb. 22, and Saturday, Feb. 23, at Heath.
Nick DiCarlo went 2-1 and placed second at 145 pounds in the sectional Feb. 16 at Licking Heights and Michael Guza went 2-2 and placed fourth at 126, as the top four finishers in each weight class advanced to district.
Mark Guza is a district alternate at 132 after going 2-2 and placing fifth at sectional.
The top four placers in each weight class at district qualify for the state tournament Feb. 28-March 2 at Ohio State.
Watterson scored 53 points at sectional to tie Columbus South for ninth of 13 teams, behind champion Whitehall (265.5).
Also competing for the Eagles were Ben Kring, who went 0-2 at 120, and Seth Cones, who went 1-2 at 138.
"All of our guys wrestled well," coach Jeff Kring said. "(DiCarlo) has an outside shot at qualifying for state, but he's going to need to wrestle his butt off to get there."
DiCarlo was a district qualifier last season, going 1-2.
Boys basketball team goes undefeated in CCL
The boys basketball team beat DeSales 58-33 on Feb. 15 at Otterbein University to improve to 20-1 overall and finish 8-0 in the CCL, marking the first time it has gone undefeated in league play during coach Vince Lombardo's 20-year tenure.
Wing player Andy Greiser had 13 points and forward Matt Lehmann scored 12 to lead Watterson, which closed the regular season against Caledonia River Valley on Feb. 19.
Seeded second of 27 teams in the Division II district tournament, the Eagles have a first-round bye and will play host to 10th-seeded Bexley or 16th-seeded Mifflin in the second round Feb. 28.
Last season, Watterson advanced to a district final, where it lost to second-seeded Brookhaven 57-43.
Hockey team falls in district opener
The hockey team lost to 12th-seeded Gahanna 7-3 in the first round of the district tournament Feb. 16 at OhioHealth Ice Haus. Forward Sam Magee had all three goals and goaltender Aaron King had 38 saves for the 21st-seeded Eagles, who finished 5-18-1-1.