It was a season of transition for the Whetstone High School girls basketball team.
Third-year coach Scott Radde abruptly resigned four games into the season with no explanation. Athletics director Kathleen Coughlin stepped in as coach for three games before hiring Bucky Walters.
Whetstone finished 8-15 overall, including 6-10 under Walters. The Braves, seeded 38th of 43 teams, ended the season with an 83-40 loss to third-seeded Olentangy Orange in the first round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 16.
"It took the girls awhile to adjust after their season was turned upside down," Walters said. "It took me awhile to figure out who could do what. I think the girls handled (the transition) well, but the season ended way too soon as far as I'm concerned. We were just figuring it out and playing well."
The Braves played most of the game against Orange without their two senior post players.
Taylor Thomas was unable to play because of illness and Arionna Darling was injured in the first quarter and didn't return.
"We were shell-shocked and we had four freshmen and a sophomore playing," Walters said. "The next thing we knew, it was 35-3. But we outscored them in the second quarter and played maybe our best ball of the season the rest of the game. It's not that you can throw away the first quarter, but other than that we played really well."
Whetstone finished 5-9 in the City League-North Division to tie Columbus East for fifth, behind Northland (14-0), Brookhaven (11-3), Centennial (11-3) and Beechcroft (6-8) and ahead of Mifflin (4-10) and Linden-McKinley (0-14).
In addition to Darling and Thomas, the Braves lose senior guard Allie Thomas, who was named honorable mention all-league.
Junior forward Kalie Mascarello led the team in scoring and was honorable mention all-league, and freshmen guards Cecilia Bulgrin and Lily Morris also should return as starters.
Others expected back are junior forward Emily Tuttle, sophomore post player Elizabeth Khoury, freshmen forwards Quasia Poole and Sophie Rizzi and freshmen guards Emily Morrison and Brenna O'Sullivan.
"I plan on being back, but nothing is official," Walters said. "I look forward to seeing them in the summer after most of them play AAU ball. They're going to be bigger and stronger and they all have at least one year of experience. They were playing 17- and 18-year-olds this year.
"Whetstone has some good athletic programs, but girls basketball hasn't been one of them. I'd like to have a hand in changing that and we've got a good base coming back."
Boys team falls in tourney opener
The boys basketball team lost at eighth-seeded Reynoldsburg 71-44 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 23 to finish 6-16.
Whetstone trailed 18-16 after the first quarter but was outscored 19-8 in the second quarter and 18-7 in the fourth.
Senior guard Claude Bogan had 11 points to lead the 37th-seeded Braves and senior guard Gary Hoover and junior guard Aaron Adair both scored six. Forward Wendell Davis had 32 points to lead the Raiders, who improved to 18-5 and advanced to play Worthington Kilbourne in the second round Feb. 27.
Season ends for wrestling team
The wrestling team ended its season in a Division I sectional tournament Feb. 9 at Marysville.
Senior Alex Arnold placed fifth at 182 pounds and finished 11-9 on the season, as the top four finishers in each weight class advanced to the district tournament Feb. 22 and 23 at Hilliard Darby.
Also competing were seniors Cameron Au (160, 28-11), Kevin Ellison (195, 21-9), Michael Gillespie (138. 5-16), Daylon Smothers (132, 21-3) and Tyrik Zegler (heavyweight, 13-15), juniors Christian Bobo (152, 22-11), Ricky Bowman (145, 17-16) and Chris North (170, 13-8) and sophomore Nate Perry (113, 5-12).
The Braves finished eighth (27) in the 10-team sectional behind champion Marysville (265.5).
Whetstone had six top-three finishers, including three champions, in the 16-team City League tournament Feb. 9 at Centennial, as the Braves finished third (170) behind champion Mifflin (192.5) and Columbus West (187). Winning league titles were North, Smothers and senior Tony Lehnen (113). Bobo was runner-up and Au and Ellison placed third.
The Braves are losing 11 seniors.