The Delaware Christian School boys basketball team welcomes the challenge it faces at 8 p.m. Monday, March 4, when it plays top-seeded Africentric in a Division IV district semifinal at Reynoldsburg.
The 11th-seeded Eagles advanced by defeating 12th-seeded Millersport 88-32 in the second round Feb. 26 at home. They had a first-round bye.
"We know what we're up against," said coach Matt Moore, whose team is 12-11. "As long as we go out there, believe in ourselves, play hard and play for God, we'll be winners no matter what the score is. When you play the giant, you have to weather the storm and just keep it close. If you can do that, you never know what can happen."
The Nubians are 20-3 after beating Columbus International 85-40 on Feb. 27. Their losses have been to Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph (67-58 in opener Dec. 1), Columbus South (57-54 on Jan. 18) and Northland (55-53 on Feb. 16). The loss to Northland, the top-ranked team in the state in Division I, was in overtime in the City League championship game. The Nubians won the City-South and the Vikings won the City-North.
"They'll try to pressure us, score in transition, score off turnovers and make us rush our shots," Moore said. "We've got to keep our composure, limit our turnovers and slow the game down. Hopefully we can surprise them."
The Nubians, looking to make their third consecutive trip to the state tournament, are led by guards Kenny Robinson (15.1 points per game), Trevon Saunders (10.0) and Cyquil Tucker (8.1) and post player Jaquan Harrison (9.0).
The winner advances to play fourth-seeded Danville or sixth-seeded Gahanna Christian in a district final at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6, at the Fairgrounds Coliseum. The district champion moves on to a regional final March 12 at Ohio Dominican University.
Against Millersport, point guard Pete Kerins had 21 points, seven assists, five rebounds and five steals, and shooting guard David Tobin had 18 points, all on 3-pointers. Guard MacGregor Roberts had 12 points and forward Jackson Quist added nine.
Forward Austin Roden (10.2) leads the Eagles in scoring average, followed by Kerins (9.8), Roberts (9.3), Tobin (9.3) and sophomore center Ben Evans (8.8). Kerins leads in assists (4.2) and steals (3.4), and Evans leads in rebounds (7.1) and blocks (4.1).
Girls team falls in second tourney game
The girls basketball team finished 17-7 overall after losing to fourth-seeded and host Gahanna Christian 64-53 in the second round of the Division IV district tournament Feb. 19.
The 10th-seeded Eagles advanced by beating 11th-seeded and visiting Fisher Catholic 49-33 in the first round Feb. 16.
"You would think that a 17-win season following a year when we lost a lot of talented seniors would be gratifying and I guess it was somewhat," coach Jackie Boggs said. "But unfortunately five of our seven losses were in the MOCAL and I am disappointed we finished fourth and didn't compete for the league championship."
Delaware Christian finished 7-5 in the MOCAL to place behind Gahanna Christian (10-2), Granville Christian (9-3) and Tree of Life (8-4) and ahead of Fairfield Christian (6-6), Madison Christian (2-10) and Grove City Christian (0-12).
The Eagles lost to Gahanna Christian three times, including 53-28 on Dec. 11 and 50-45 on Jan. 19. Other league losses were to Granville Christian (48-44 on Jan. 8 and 33-30 on Feb. 2) and Tree of Life (51-36 on Jan. 17).
In the tournament loss to Gahanna Christian, Delaware Christian trailed 25-10 at halftime before making a game of it in the second half. Senior post player Brenna McCullough had 23 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks.
Gahanna Christian was led by guard Dana Parkman, who scored 37 points.
The Eagles lose five seniors in forward Lenora Boyer, McCullough and guards Emily Kirkham, Erin Morgan and Alex Warwick.
"Emily, Brenna and Lenora played all four years together and had great chemistry, which carried over to the entire senior class and the entire team," said Boggs, who was named MOCAL Coach of the Year. "We'll miss this group."
McCullough averaged team highs of 13.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 3.2 steals. She was named the Player of the Year in the MOCAL and was honorable mention all-district.
Kirkham (7.2 points, 4.8 rebounds) was second-team all-league and Warwick (4.3 points, 2.0 assists) was honorable mention all-league.
Expected key returnees include junior guards Katie Morgan and Bethany Kuykendall and freshman forward Erin McCullough.
Katie Morgan (10.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists) was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district. Kuykendall (5.6 points, 3.7 rebounds) was honorable mention all-league. Erin McCullough averaged 3.4 points and 3.9 rebounds.
"I think Katie and Bethany will step up and be great leaders and Erin McCullough is going to be an exceptional player," Boggs said. "I think (junior guard) Carmon Weldi and (sophomore guard) Emily Cornelius also played well for us. Our j.v. team was 14-4 and unbeaten in the MOCAL and this program is developing depth now."