The Dublin Jerome High School girls basketball team earned what coach Matt Martin hopes will become a signature victory for the program Feb. 18.

The Dublin Jerome High School girls basketball team earned what coach Matt Martin hopes will become a signature victory for the program Feb. 18.

The Celtics knocked off 12th-seeded Dublin Coffman 52-47 in a first-round Division I district tournament game at Hilliard Davidson. The victory was the team's first in the postseason since opening before the 2004-05 season as well as the first over a Dublin sister school.

"I thought it could be a game that has shown how far our program has come," said Martin, whose team was 9-12 overall before playing 11th-seeded Olentangy Orange last Wednesday in a second-round game.

"We had a lot of injuries to overcome and had a lot of young people stepping up for us, but we seem to be playing our best at the right time."

Senior post player Jamelia Banks had 17 points to lead Jerome, including eight in the fourth period to secure the win.

"It's our first tournament win at Jerome, and it's pretty exciting," Banks said.

"As seniors, we weren't ready for the season to be over. We wanted to make sure we didn't lose the first tournament game this year."

The Celtics played strong defensively, especially to start the game. They led 16-4 after the first period and never relinquished the lead. Meredith Stranges finished with 19 points to lead Coffman and pulled her team within one at 41-40 with 4 minutes, 29 seconds to play in the fourth quarter. But Banks scored the final six points for Jerome.

"We have gotten a lot better as the season has gone along," Banks said. "We have been playing better both offensively and defensively and that has been a key for us."

The Celtics lost a pair of returning senior starters to injuries, forcing Martin to change his team's identity.

Forward Hillary Kessler suffered a season-ending knee injury in the final preseason scrimmage.

Then point guard Lena DiBartolomeo suffered an ankle injury Dec. 18 in a 56-39 loss to Westerville South and had surgery earlier this month.

Martin went to Plan B, installing freshman Kaitlin Miller in at point.

"Kaitlin really came in and controlled the tempo of the game for us," Martin said. "She showed a lot of leadership for such a young player, but we have had a lot of young players step up for us."

Senior Julie Mooney scored 11 points for the Celtics, Miller had nine points and sophomore post player Lindsay Reiland added eight points.

"We kept playing hard on defense and that really worked to set up our offense," Miller said.

The winner from last Wednesday plays a district semifinal at 8:15 p.m. Monday at Olentangy Liberty against Hilliard Darby or fourth-seeded Brookhaven, two teams Jerome has not played this season.

The Panthers were 13-8 after a 64-55 victory over Delaware last Wednesday in a first-round district game.

Brookhaven beat Liberty 67-29 in a first-round game last Wednesday to improve to 19-2. The Bearcats won the City League title by defeating City-South champion Africentric 46-41 on Feb. 13.

The district final is at 1 p.m. on March 6 at Liberty with possible opponents being Reynoldsburg, Chillicothe, Westland or third-seeded Upper Arlington.


At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Jerome boys and girls basketball teams:

BOYS

Feb. 17 -- Lost to Watterson 67-41. Ben Nesdore scored nine points and both Cam Wilson and Ryan Linville added eight points apiece.

*Last Friday -- Lost to Westerville Central 74-60. Wilson scored 24 points with three 3-pointers, Nesdore added 11 points and Linville scored nine.

Last Wednesday -- Played Hilliard Darby in a first-round Division I district game. The winner plays at 8 p.m. Saturday at Hilliard Bradley against third-seeded Westerville South, which was 20-0 and had a first-round bye. The winner from Saturday will play in a district semifinal at 11:45 p.m. March 6 in the Fairgrounds Coliseum against Delaware, St. Charles or eighth-seeded Marion-Franklin.

Of note: The Celtics are 4-15 overall before last Wednesday and finished 4-10 in the OCC-Cardinal behind champion South at 14-0.

GIRLS

Feb. 18 -- Defeated 12th-seeded Dublin Coffman 52-47 in a first-round Division I district tournament game at Hilliard Davidson

Last Wednesday -- Played 11th-seeded Orange in the second round. The second-round winner will advance to a district semifinal at 8:15 p.m. Monday at Olentangy Liberty to face Darby or fourth-seeded Brookhaven. The district final will be at 1 p.m. March 6 at Liberty with possible opponents being Reynoldsburg, Chillicothe, Westland or third-seeded Upper Arlington.

Of note: The Celtics were 9-12 overall last Wednesday and finished 4-10 in the OCC-Cardinal behind co-champions Dublin Scioto and Olentangy at 11-3.

*OCC-Cardinal game