The Dublin Jerome High School boys basketball team is playing its best when it counts the most.f

The Dublin Jerome High School boys basketball team is playing its best when it counts the most.

Despite ending the regular season with a 4-16 overall record, the Celtics won two of their final three games. They defeated Dublin Scioto 45-34 on Feb. 10 and beat Watterson 54-53 on Feb. 13.

Jerome lost to Westerville Central 57-47 in its regular-season finale. Cam Wilson scored 14 points to lead the Celtics. Nick Neale had nine points with three 3-pointers and Kyle Christman had eight points.

"Our shots have started to fall for us," coach Dave Hale said. "That's good because the postseason is coming around and hopefully we have built some momentum going into the tournament."

Jerome faces fourth-seeded Pickerington Central in the first round of the Division I district tournament at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, at Jonathan Alder.

Central is 18-2 and was ranked seventh in the state poll last week behind top-ranked Northland. The Tigers defeated the Celtics 78-62 on Dec. 13, as Connor Kern had 23 points with four-3-pointers. Also for Central, Caris LeVert had 16 points, Jae'Sean Tate scored 10 and Zach Beaver and Taco Charlton both scored nine.

Neale led the Celtics with 17 points, followed by Christman (16) and Donavan Wilson (12).

"We lost by 16 when we played (Pickerington Central) before, but it was a lot closer game than that," Hale said. "It was more like an eight- or 10-point game. We know the team we will be playing and, if we can get our shots to keep falling and play good defense, we should have better results."

The winner plays Groveport in the second round at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 29, at Jonathan Alder. The Cruisers had a first-round bye and are 1-19.

Jerome did not play Groveport this season.

The second-round winner advances to a district semifinal against eighth-seeded Westerville South, Teays Valley, Logan or Westerville Central at 6 p.m. March 7 at Jonathan Alder. The district final is at 6 p.m. March 10 at the Fairgrounds Coliseum.

Jerome finished 2-12 in the OCC-Cardinal Division to place seventh, behind Olentangy Liberty (12-2), Westerville North (11-3), Westerville South (11-3), Westerville Central (7-7), Scioto (6-8) and Olentangy (6-8) and ahead of Marysville (1-13).

•The girls team finished 11-10 overall after losing to Delaware 27-24 in the opening round of Division I district tournament on Feb. 15.

Madison Watson, a 6-foot sophomore post player, led the Celtics with eight points and both senior wing player Emily Moss (5-7) and senior post player Lindsay Rieland (6-1) added six points.

"We weren't making shots and allowed (the Pacers) to stay in their zone for four quarters," said coach Matt Martin, who completed his fifth season leading the program. "I know I wouldn't have left (the zone) the way we were shooting."

Jerome finished 8-6 in the OCC-Cardinal to tie South for fourth, behind Olentangy (13-1), Scioto (11-3) and North (9-5) and ahead of Liberty (5-9), Marysville (2-12) and Central (0-14).

The Celtics lose two seniors in Moss, who averaged 1.4 points and 1.2 steals, and Rieland, who averaged 6.4 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and 1.8 steals.

"Lindsay Rieland really turned it on in the last couple of weeks," Martin said. "She really finished her career on a high note."

Junior wing player Kaitlyn Miller was the leading scorer for the Celtics, averaging 9.1 points. She also averaged 3.5 rebounds and 1.9 steals. Junior post player Sarah Auker averaged 7.2 points and 7.6 rebounds and freshman guard Hadley Kiefer averaged 6.4 points.

Watson averaged 4.1 points and 3.3 rebounds and junior guard Katherine McCoy averaged 4.1 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals.

"We have the makings of a good core group coming back," Martin said. "It all depends on how much they want to work in the offseason to make themselves better."

Miller was first-team all-league, Auker was second team, Rieland was special mention and Kiefer was honorable mention.

Others expected to return include juniors Kaitlin Beebe (guard), Madison Colvin (wing player) and Hannah Gibbs (post player) and sophomores Andrea Davidson (guard) and Amanda Kessler (guard).