It wasn't an easy way to end the season for the Dublin Jerome High School boys basketball team.
The 32nd-seeded Celtics lost to host Coffman 64-55 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 23 to finish 7-15 overall.
Freshman guard Mason Baich scored with 1 minute, 19 seconds remaining to cut Jerome's deficit to 56-51, but the seventh-seeded Shamrocks went 6-for-6 from the foul line in the final minute to secure the outcome.
Senior post player Austin Sherman led the Celtics with 15 points and junior forward Connor Kerns scored 13.
"I told them I was really proud of them the way they played and executed," coach Dave Hale said. "Coffman made some runs, but it didn't faze us and we battled right back. We had some opportunities to make it even closer. We just didn't make a few shots."
The Celtics showed improvement in the second half of the season. They defeated Scioto 41-35 on Feb. 1 after losing to the Irish 63-33 on Dec. 21 and beat Westerville Central 56-53 on Feb. 15 after losing to the Warhawks 69-57 on Jan. 11.
"We've had a lot of close games, so our record is deceiving," Hale said.
Jerome went 4-10 in the OCC-Cardinal Division to tie Worthington Kilbourne for sixth, behind Westerville North (14-0), Scioto (11-3), Westerville South (9-5), Hilliard Darby (8-6) and Westerville Central (6-8) and ahead of Hilliard Bradley (0-14).
Senior post player Kyle Christman led the Celtics in scoring, averaging 13.1 points, and was named honorable mention all-district and second-team all-league. Kerns averaged 8.9 points and Baich averaged 8.1.
The Celtics lose six seniors in Christman, Sherman and guards Danny Callahan, Matt Holden, John Laufersweiler and Kyle Moser.
Sherman averaged 5.6 points and Holden and Laufersweiler averaged 5.0 and 4.1, respectively.
"I'm proud of the way the guys played this year and we've made progress," Hale said. "We've gotten a whole lot better. These seniors have done a great job this year with their leadership and hopefully the younger guys come out and kind of take that torch and move forward with it."
Expected to return are Baich, Kerns, junior forward Thomas Menker and freshman guard Seve Stavroff, who averaged 4.6 points.
Girls team set record for wins
The girls team was seeded 15th in the Division I district tournament and lost to 18th-seeded Central Crossing 49-32 in the first round Feb. 16 at home to finish 15-8 overall.
The Celtics broke the program record for wins in a season, topping the previous high of 12, which had been set in 2008-09 and matched in 2010-11.
"We set a program record for wins, but we were bounced by Central Crossing in the first round," coach Rob Dunsmore said. "But we weren't as healthy as we would have liked to have been with (junior post player) Madison Watson out after having hip surgery earlier in the month."
The Celtics went 9-5 in the OCC-Cardinal to tie Scioto for second, behind Westerville North (12-0) and ahead of Bradley (8-6), Westerville Central (7-7), Westerville South (5-9), Darby (4-10) and Kilbourne (0-14).
Senior post player Sarah Auker averaged a team-high 10.1 points and was honorable mention all-district. Senior post players Katherine McCoy and Hannah Gibbs averaged 9.5 and 8.4 points, respectively.
The Celtics lose five seniors in Auker, Gibbs, McCoy, guard/forward Kaitlin Beebe and post player Madison Colvin.
Beebe missed most of the season with concussion-related issues. Colvin averaged 4.1 points.
"We had two seniors in Madison Colvin and Hannah Gibbs who didn't have a lot of varsity experience coming in but really embraced their roles," Dunsmore said. "Hannah probably averaged 10 rebounds a game for us and Madison Colvin's decision-making really helped us as a team.
"Sarah and Katherine have been playing varsity for several years and they really helped us out. Sarah is really high-energy and comes out guns-a-blazing, leaving everything on the floor. Katherine's performances in key games were outstanding."
Expected to return are Watson, juniors Christy Chou (guard/forward), Andrea Davidson (guard/forward) and Amanda Kessler (guard/forward) and sophomores Madison Costner (guard/forward), Hadley Kieifer (guard/forward) and Sarah Youngs (guard/forward).
Watson averaged 6.6 points and Kessler averaged 4.3.