The Whetstone High School boys basketball team is hoping to take a page out of the Groveport playbook when it visits eighth-seeded Reynoldsburg in the first round of the Division I district tournament at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23.
Seeded 31st of 42 teams in the district, Groveport hung with Reynoldsburg in a 64-54 loss in an OCC-Ohio Division game Feb. 15. The Braves are seeded 37th.
"I saw that (score), and I think it's a good sign for us," said senior guard Claude Bogan, who had a career-high 31 points in a 70-52 win over Beechcroft on Feb. 8. "Anybody is beatable. It's a matter of who plays well that night. We're finally starting to put things together. I wish we could start the season over again."
Reynoldsburg is 17-5 and is led by 6-foot-4 senior guard/forward Wendell Davis, who was averaging 19.6 points and 9.9 rebounds through 21 games. He had 33 points and 10 rebounds against Groveport.
"We haven't really gone over much about (Reynoldsburg) yet," Bogan said. "But anyone who looks at (area stats) knows that Wendell Davis is a big-time scorer and rebounder, so I know that will be our first assignment, finding someone to stop him."
Other key players for Reynoldsburg are forward Mykel Traylor-Bennett and guards Travis Gleason, Lloyd Chatman and Jaylen Givens.
The winner will play 26th-seeded Worthington Kilbourne in the second round Wednesday, Feb. 27, at the home of the higher seed. The Wolves, who have a first-round bye, are 9-13 and are led by point guard Seth Hill.
Other key players for Kilbourne are wings players Tyler Stern-Tucker and Ryan Adolph.
The second-round winner advances to a district semifinal March 6 at Westerville Central.
Whetstone was 6-14 overall before playing Independence on Feb. 19. It entered that contest having gone 3-3 in its previous six games
The Braves finished 3-11 in the City League-North Division to place seventh, behind Northland (14-0), Brookhaven (11-3), Centennial (10-4), Beechcroft (7-7), Columbus East (6-8) and Mifflin (5-9) and ahead of Linden-McKinley (0-14).
"I think we've played pretty well lately and I think if we put in the hours to prepare for Reynoldsburg with some hard practices, we should be ready to go," Bogan said. "I think we should've won a few more games than we have and it'd be fun to beat them."
Girls basketball team falls in tourney opener
The girls basketball team lost to third-seeded Olentangy Orange 83-40 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 16.
Freshman guard Cecilia Bulgrin had 14 points to lead Whetstone, which finished 8-15. Freshman guard Lily Morris and junior forward Kalie Mascarello added nine and eight points, respectively.
Forward Mya Walker had 19 points and guard Taylor Agler scored 18 to lead Orange, which led 35-3 after the first quarter.
Whetstone hasn't won a district tournament game since the 2005-06 season.
Swim teams end season at district
The boys and girls swimming and diving teams ended their seasons in the Division I district meet Feb. 16 at Ohio State.
The top two finishers in each swimming event qualified for the state meet Thursday, Feb. 21, through Saturday, Feb. 23, at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 24 at-large district berths were awarded in each swimming event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast district sites. The top three boys divers and top four girls divers advanced to state.
The boys team competed at district in two individual events and all three relays.
Nick Nottage finished 21st in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1 minute, 5.85 seconds and Nathan Smith finished 27th in the 100 backstroke (1:02.69).
"Nottage was almost three seconds faster than his sectional time and a second better than his all-time best," coach John DeRing said. "Smith's goggles snapped when he hit the water and he lost them. He also had a bad turn and he was only one-tenth of a second slower than his all-time best, so that tells you how well they swam."
Smith, Nottage, Bert Pajor and Nico Azuad teamed to finish 20th in the 200 medley relay (1:50.47) and 21st in the 200 freestyle (1:38.51). Ben Alexander, Evan Myers, Sam Green-Lauber and Pajor finished 27th in the 400 free relay (3:58.98).
"The medley relay was 1.5 seconds better than sectional and Pajor and Nottage had season-best splits," DeRing said. "In the 200 free relay, all four boys were in the 24-second range and that's the first time we've had that since 2009. The 400 free relay was 7.7 seconds faster than sectional and was just fantastic."
The Braves did not score at district. Upper Arlington won with 380 points as 24 teams scored.
The girls team was represented at district by two relays.
Alana Bruzzese, Karina Spulgis, Kaylina Ruth and Audrey Bollas finished 22nd in the 400 free relay (4:12.47) and Eleanor Downie, Bruzzese, Bollas and Ruth finished 29th in the 200 medley relay (2:12.82).
The Braves did not score. UA won the title with 491 points as 24 teams scored.
"I was very pleased with the girls as well," DeRing said. "The 400 free relay was 6.5 seconds faster than sectional and the medley relay was a season-best by .44. It was a great day for all of our swimmers and a terrific way to end the season."
Arnold places fifth for wrestling team
No members of the wrestling team qualified for the Division I district tournament Friday, Feb. 22, and Saturday, Feb. 23, at Hilliard Darby.
Senior Alex Arnold placed fifth at 182 pounds in the sectional Feb. 16 at Marysville and is a district alternate, as the top four finishers in each weight class advanced to district. He went 1-2 at sectional and is 11-9 on the season.
"Alex wrestled well, especially that last match when he needed a pin to win and he got it," coach Tom Jones said. "He and (senior) Cameron Au are our only two four-year wrestlers who finished every season with us. I'm proud of Alex because as a freshman, he not only never won a match, but he never made it through the first round. He showed some heart and for him to be a district alternate proves his determination to stick with it was worth it."
Au went 1-3 at sectional to finish sixth at 160 and finish 28-11 on the season. Also placing sixth were senior Kevin Ellison (195), juniors Christian Bobo (152) and Chris North (170) and sophomore Nate Perry (113).
Ellison finished 21-9 on the season and Bobo finished 22-11. North went 13-8.
"Bobo lost his first match 4-2 in sudden victory and he needed to win that one because the bracket wasn't good for him if he didn't," Jones said. "He wrestled fairly well overall. Cameron Au didn't roll over for anybody, either. But we obviously didn't wrestle to our potential because I thought we had four or five guys who could qualify for district and we didn't get anyone out."
Whetstone finished eighth (27) in the 10-team sectional, behind Marysville (265.5), Westerville North (203.5), Gahanna (164), Lancaster (160), Dublin Jerome (151), Columbus West (83) and Franklin Heights (62) and ahead of Northland (11) and Briggs (3).
Senior Daylon Smother (132) did not make weight for sectional and finished 21-3.
Also competing were seniors Michael Gilespie (138) and Tyrik Zegler (heavyweight) and junior Ricky Bowman (145). Bowman finished 17-16.
Season ends for bowling team
The boys bowling team finished 26th (2,842) in the 30-team sectional tournament Feb. 16 at Columbus Western Bowl.
Senior Cameron Thompson led Whetstone with a 506 series to tie for 47th of 166 competitors, as the top nine teams and top nine individuals not on a qualifying team advanced to the district tournament Friday, Feb. 22, at HP Lanes.
Newark (4,030) won the sectional title and Hilliard Davidson (3,438) earned the final district-qualifying berth.
Groveport's Brandon Klentz (674) won the sectional title and Gilead Christian's Sammy Stiffler (545) secured the final district-qualifying berth.
Also competing for the Braves were junior Annalise Van Luinen (405), senior Abbie Nypaver (398) and junior Win McCarter (362). Freshman Laurin Perfect and senior Gareth Schreiner also competed, splitting a series.
Whetstone, coached by Lori Jackson, used a co-ed lineup in its first season. The Braves finished 3-12 overall and in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-Central Division, tying Beechcroft and Mifflin for 13th in the 16-team league behind champion Ready (14-1).