Senior forward Seth Wandling isn't sure if the Big Walnut High School boys basketball team would've found a way to win its Division II district tournament opener had the game been played more than two months ago.

Senior forward Seth Wandling isn't sure if the Big Walnut High School boys basketball team would've found a way to win its Division II district tournament opener had the game been played more than two months ago.

He believes a 55-50 win over Granville on Feb. 22 at Dublin Scioto is evidence that the Golden Eagles have transformed themselves over the course of the season.

"We didn't play on our normal level, but we faced adversity and did some things (to win), and that's what's changed since the beginning of the season," Wandling said. "The team before that probably wouldn't have been able to pull out close wins. We would've gotten down on ourselves. Now we've gotten a lot better and we stick through (adversity)."

Seeded 11th, Big Walnut improved to 12-9 and advanced to play fourth-seeded Watterson in the second round at 7:45 p.m. Thursday, March 1, at Scioto. The winner plays third-seeded Hartley or Lakewood in a district semifinal at 6 p.m. March 7 at Scioto. The district final is at 6 p.m. March 9 at the Fairgrounds Coliseum.

Watterson improved to 15-6 with a 63-23 win over Sparta Highland in its tournament opener Feb. 22. Cody Calhoun, a 5-foot-10 guard, led the Eagles with 19 points. Other key players include 6-3 post player Jake Brobst, 6-0 wing player Erik Oman and 6-0 wing player Jake Lombardo.

Big Walnut hasn't played Watterson since defeating the Eagles 62-56 in the first round of the tournament in 2005.

"Watterson's traditionally a strong team and we know that they have some solid kids and they shoot the ball well and are very disciplined," coach Eric Myers said.

"First, we need to play good defense (against Watterson)," Wandling said. "Our defense is like our focal point because it keeps us in games, but we also need to bring our offense because if you can't score, you can't win. We're just going to have to hit our shots and keep our heads up no matter what happens."

Big Walnut, which hasn't lost its tournament opener since 2006, trailed Granville 15-13 after the first quarter, but the Golden Eagles held a 23-21 advantage at halftime and extended their lead to 31-28 by the end of the third quarter.

"I thought we were nervous early in the game. I thought we showed some jitters," Myers said. "We had some guys out there who are experiencing the tournament for the first time, so that's typical."

Big Walnut scored 12 of its final 14 points at the foul line and made 14-for-17 free throws in the fourth quarter.

"We had talked about how this was the beginning of a new season, and the growth of this team has been outstanding," Myers said. "I think our team has more confidence (than earlier in the season) and our shot selection is better and over a period of time you find your identity. I think our team now knows its identity and guys know what their roles are. They all do a great job of accepting that."

The game against Granville was the third in a row in which the Golden Eagles had at least three players score in double figures. Senior guard Grant Beam led the way with 22 points, including going 8-for-8 from the foul line in the fourth quarter. Senior guard Tyler Beam and junior forward Adam Shaheen both had 10 points.

Michael Steensen had 15 points to lead Granville, which finished 11-10.

"We're shooting the ball better, and I think that's a sign of our confidence and that they're comfortable with each other on the floor," Myers said. "We've also been doing a great job passing the ball."

Grant Beam is averaging a team-high 12.5 points, followed by Tyler Beam (9.1), Shaheen (8.7), junior guard Zach Laughman (6.2) and Wandling (6.0).

Big Walnut defeated Franklin Heights 68-51 in its regular-season finale Feb. 17 to finish 7-7 in the OCC-Capital Division.

Laughman led the Golden Eagles with a career-high 18 points. Shaheen had 16 points, Tyler Beam scored 14 and Grant Beam added 10.

Big Walnut tied Delaware for fourth in the league, behind co-champions Mount Vernon (11-3) and Olentangy Orange (11-3) as well as New Albany (10-4), and ahead of Hilliard Bradley (6-8), Franklin Heights (3-11) and Watkins Memorial (1-13).

•Four members of the wrestling team advanced to the Division II district tournament held Feb. 24 and 25 at Uhrichs-ville Claymont.

Placing in the top four in the sectional tournament Feb. 18 at home to advance to district were seniors Aaron Gase (152 pounds), Gene Hogg (220) and Tyler Schenz (145) and freshman Donny Didion (106).

Gase and Schenz also were district qualifiers last season.

"I thought we wrestled pretty well," said coach Luke Moore, whose team scored 93.5 points in the 13-team sectional to finish eighth behind champion Highland (172.5). "We competed well and won some matches we weren't supposed to win."

The top four finishers in each weight class at district advanced to the state tournament, which runs Thursday, March 1, through Saturday, March 3, at Ohio State. Big Walnut's last state qualifier was then-senior Matt Brown in 2010 at 215.

Gase went 3-1 at sectional to improve to 30-7 on the season, winning his first three matches before losing to Whitehall's Ifa Abduljelil 5-4 in the championship match.

A three-time district qualifier, Schenz, who was 30-10 entering district, also was a sectional runner-up. He won his first two matches before losing to Whitehall's Matt Straight 4-1 in the final.

Hogg advanced to district for the first time. He went 3-1 at sectional to improve to 21-16 and placed third. After winning his first match, he lost to Jonathan Alder's Mitch Ridder by technical fall. He then pinned DeSales' Emmanuel Mawutor in 49 seconds before beating Utica's Kevin Bigler by forfeit in the third-place match.

"One of his big goals was to get to district," Moore said of Hogg. "It was his last chance being a senior and he came through in a big way. I'm real proud of him."

Didion went 3-1 at sectional to improve to 29-16 and placed third. He won his opening match before losing to Whitehall's Noah Jay 12-1 in a major decision. He then defeated Utica's Austin Burris 4-1 before beating Brook-haven's Righteous Bridges 6-5 in the third-place match.

"He's had a great year," Moore said of Didion. "I knew (entering the season) he was going to be pretty tough, but he has exceeded our expectations. Before the season, I told him that I won 30 matches my freshman year and I bet him a pop that he couldn't get to 30 wins. Looks like I will be buying him a pop."

Also placing at sectional were freshman Tyler Satterfield, who went 2-3 at 120 and finished sixth, and sophomore Alec Eisnnicher, who went 1-3 at 160 and came in sixth. Eisnnicher won his opening match but was injured during his second and couldn't continue. He had to default his final three matches.

"Alec's head hit (Highland's Cody Kucera's) knee and he was out cold for 10, 15 seconds," Moore said. "Obviously, it was a scary moment."

A district qualifier last season, Eisnnicher was taken to a hospital, where he was treated and released, Moore said.

"If not for the injury, I think he gets to district as well," Moore said.

Also competing at sectional for Big Walnut were juniors C.J. Harness (170, 0-2), Niko Masters (195, 1-2) and Anthony Roberto (138, 0-2) and sophomore Jhordan Lang (182, 0-2). The Eagles did not have any competitors at 113, 126, 132 or heavyweight.

•Even though no members of the boys and girls swimming and diving teams advanced to the state meet, coach Andy Chatterton was pleased with how the Eagles fared at district.

"They all did a really good job," Chatterton said. "We had all (six) relays and (five) individuals there. That was pretty neat. And we had more (district qualifiers) than last year, and the more the better."

Competing for the boys team in the Division II district meet Feb. 17 at Ohio State were sophomore Carter Marsch in the 100-yard breaststroke (1 minute, 12.5 seconds, 22nd), junior Carson Chatterton in the 100 butterfly (1:00.94, 25th), the 200 freestyle relay of Marsch, junior Parker Marsch, sophomore Joel Windle and Chatterton (1:40.39, 14th), the 400 free relay of Windle, freshman Jens Paglialunga, junior Ben Stefaniak and Chatterton (3:54.2, 14th) and the 200 medley relay of Carter Marsch, senior Connor Moran, Chatterton and Windle (1:54.98, 15th).

The top two finishers in each swimming event at district automatically advanced to state, and 16 at-large state berths also were awarded for each swimming event based on district times statewide.

The boys team did not score at district. Granville won the championship with 325 points as 39 teams scored.

Competing for the girls team in the Division I district meet Feb. 18 at Ohio State were sophomore Jessica Osburn in the 100 breast (1:15.47, 27th), sophomore Michelle Stefaniak in the 500 free (5:49.95, 26th) and junior Natalie Chatterton, freshman Claire Chatterton, Osburn and Stefaniak in the 200 free relay (1:48.83, tied for 19th), 400 free relay (4:02.23, 19th) and 200 medley relay (2:05.87, 28th).

Also competing was freshman Ashley White, who finished ninth in diving with 353.45 points, as the top four finishers advanced to state.

"She's got quite a future ahead of her," coach Chatterton said of White.

The girls team scored nine points at district to tie Worthington Kilbourne for 22nd behind champion Upper Arlington (522) as 27 teams scored.

Last year at district, the boys team was represented in two relays and one individual event and the girls team was represented in all three relays and one individual event.