Led by future collegians such as LaShawna Thomas, Ayana Dunning and Cherise Daniel, the Eastmoor Academy girls basketball team captured six consecutive Division II district championships from 2005-10.
With that standard in mind, the top-seeded Warriors made it back to familiar territory when they beat 15th-seeded Caledonia River Valley 58-38 in a district final March 1 at New Albany to improve to 22-4.
Eastmoor had won 14 of its previous 15 games before playing Dayton Chaminade Julienne in a regional semifinal March 5 at Springfield. The winner plays Clarksville Clinton-Massie or Dayton Carroll in a regional final at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 8, at Springfield.
"It feels great," said Tia Jameson, a 2001 Eastmoor graduate who is in her second season as coach. "To see the reward at the end is the most amazing thing of it all. This is what you work for."
Against River Valley, senior forward Tajanee Wells had 18 points and sophomore guard Imani Hill scored 14 but did not play in the fourth quarter because of breathing problems, according to Jameson.
Wells, who has committed to Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, recently was named district Player of the Year in Division II.
The regional champion will play Athens, Fairfield Union, Hartley or Millersburg West Holmes in a state semifinal at 8 p.m. March 14 at Ohio State. The state final is 2 p.m. March 16 at the same site.
Eastmoor beat eighth-seeded Big Walnut 48-44 in a district semifinal Feb. 27.
Mifflin's Robinson places in state wrestling
Making his first appearance in the Division II state wrestling tournament held Feb. 28-March 2 at Ohio State, Mifflin senior Jalen Robinson reached the podium by placing fourth at 220 pounds.
After pinning Peninsula Woodridge's Mason Hilling in 50 seconds in his opening match, Robinson lost to Wauseon's Zane Krall 7-3 to move into the consolation bracket. He followed with three victories before being pinned by Norton's Sean Rutherford in 29 seconds in the third-place match.
"It's just win or go home (after losing in the second round), and I didn't want to go home," Robinson said.
Robinson, who didn't wrestle the past two seasons, finished 26-8 on the season and was one of two state qualifiers for Mifflin. The other was junior Hannibal Tate, who went 0-2 at 152 to finish 26-6.
"He calls the consolation round a shark tank, and he just said it's time to go through the shark tank," coach Caska Thompson said of Robinson. "He wrestled really well."
Also representing the City League at state were Columbus West senior Paco Quinonez, who went 0-2 at 182 in Division I, and Marion-Franklin junior Jhulyis Monroe, who was 1-2 at 182 in Division II.
Briggs girls finish 15th in state bowling
The Briggs girls bowling team got off to a strong start but couldn't sustain it in the state tournament March 1 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
After rolling an 826 in the first game, the Bruins followed with scores of 781 and 771 and finished 15th (2,824) during the qualifying round, as the top eight teams advanced to the championship round.
Coldwater had the best score (3,327) during the qualifying round and went on to win the team championship.
Junior Sam Rainey led the Bruins, tying for 27th (526) of 103 competitors. Coldwater's Erika Hartings (648) won the individual state title as the top 15 finishers earned all-state honors.
"We struggled with making spares as the day went on," coach Jim Martiny said. "We had probably 45 open frames and just left a lot of pins out there."
Rainey had the sixth-best score at state among area competitors. Also competing for Briggs were sophomore Tori Pappas (39th, 507), senior Jordyn Estep (tied for 57th, 473), sophomore Randi Chalfant (67th, 451) and junior Jaid Radde (74th, 421).
The Bruins won championships in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-South Division and City League and won a sectional title Feb. 15 at Columbus Western Bowl before placing second (3,614) at district Feb. 23 at HP Lanes behind Cardington (3,682).
"It's a once-in-a-lifetime type of experience being (at state)," Rainey said. "As a team, we came together and did really well this year."
Africentric girls win another district title
The Africentric girls basketball team outscored its three Division III district tournament opponents by an average margin of 55.3 points en route to winning its ninth consecutive district title.
The top-seeded Nubians beat 12th-seeded Grandview 80-22 in a district semifinal Feb. 28 at Granville and 15th-seeded Marion Pleasant 81-49 in a district final March 2 at the same site to improve to 19-5.
Africentric played Bucyrus Wynford in a regional semifinal March 6 at Lexington, with the winner facing Archbold or Findlay Liberty-Benton in a regional final at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, March 9, at the same site.
The regional champion plays in a state semifinal at 1 p.m. March 14 at Ohio State and the state final is 10:45 a.m. March 16 at the same site.
Africentric won Division IV state championships in 2007 and 2009 and the Division III title last season.
Nine City boys teams make semis
Nine City League boys basketball teams advanced to a district semifinal.
Top-seeded Northland, which was ranked first in the final state poll, played 20th-seeded Walnut Ridge in a Division I semifinal March 6 at Marysville, with the winner facing third-seeded Olentangy Liberty or 11th-seeded Westland in a district final at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 6, at the Fairgrounds Coliseum.
Walnut Ridge, which was a district runner-up last season, upset 12th-seeded Westerville South 46-39 in a second-round game Feb. 27. Senior forward Rob Wheelwright led the Scots with 16 points and played a major role defensively in limiting South standout forward Marcus Ball to two points.
"At the time of the drawing, we were only seeded 20th, so our choices were limited," Walnut Ridge coach Jason Bates said. "It was a game we felt we were capable of being in."
In Division II, 11th-seeded Marion-Franklin played 12th-seeded Beechcroft and eighth-seeded Centennial faced 13th-seeded DeSales in district semifinals March 6. The winners play for a district title at 8:30 p.m. Friday, March 8, at the Fairgrounds.
Also in Division II, seventh-seeded Eastmoor played second-seeded Watterson and top-seeded Brookhaven faced 15th-seeded Columbus East in district semifinals March 6. The winners play for a district title at 6 p.m. Friday, March 8, at the Fairgrounds.
Heading into the game against Watterson, Eastmoor senior guard John Draper needed six points to reach 1,000 for his prep career.
"He's a good kid and he's worked hard," coach Jim Miranda said of Draper, who had nine points and seven assists in a 59-42 second-round win over 20th-seeded Big Walnut on Feb. 28. "He's tremendously athletic and I think he's had an outstanding career."
In Division IV, top-seeded Africentric played 11th-seeded Delaware Christian in a district semifinal March 4, with the winner facing fourth-seeded Danville or sixth-seeded Gahanna Christian in a district final at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 6, at the Fairgrounds.