The Columbus Academy boys basketball team capped a successful 2010-11 season by reaching a Division III district final, where the Vikings lost to Heath 62-57 in double overtime in the Fairgrounds Coliseum.

The Columbus Academy boys basketball team capped a successful 2010-11 season by reaching a Division III district final, where the Vikings lost to Heath 62-57 in double overtime in the Fairgrounds Coliseum.

Coach Chris Jones, who is in his 10th season, believes his team has the potential to make a return trip to the Fairgrounds. Academy is seeking its first district title since 2008.

The Vikings open at home against Wellington on Friday, Dec. 2.

Last season, Academy was 17-6 overall and 10-4 in the MSL-Ohio Division.

"I'm looking forward to the season," Jones said. "We've gotten off to a pretty decent start so far. Looking back at last year we had a pretty good team and we only had three seniors (Austin Peterman, Collin Ricker and Jeff Salomon), so we have a lot of experience coming back."

The top returnee is 6-foot-4 senior forward Zach Ratcliff, who led the team in scoring last season at 14.1 points per game and rebounding at 8.8 per contest. He was first-team all-league and second-team all-district.

Also back is 6-0 senior guard Tim Eldridge, who averaged 12.2 points and 5.5 assists. He was first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district.

Junior guard Daniel Aronowitz (6-3), who averaged 12.4 points and 5.3 rebounds, was honorable mention all-league and all-district.

Also back are senior guards Ben Bechtel (6-2) and Stephen Casey (6-2), senior forward Jacob Mikalov (6-8), junior guards Jared Harris (5-7) and Kyle Turner (6-2) and junior forward Aakash Paladugu (6-4).

Juniors Abram Schottenstein (6-2, guard) and Hart Wise (5-7, guard) and sophomores Bryce Bailey (5-10, guard), Jonathan Kornberg (6-4, forward), Jack Lint (5-10, guard) and Jimmer Ryan (5-10, guard) round out the team.

"If we handle business the way we should, we should be able to do some pretty big things," Jones said. "Having finished where we finished last year in the district final, if we do what we did last year and if we continue to improve, we should at least be able to get back there. We want to compete in the league (and) we want to compete for a district (championship)."

Last season in the MSL-Ohio, Academy finished third behind co-champions Granville and Heath (both 11-3) and ahead of Newark Catholic (8-6), Bexley (6-8), Licking Valley (5-9), Whitehall (5-9) and Lakewood (0-14).

•The girls basketball team finished 12-9 last season after losing to Newark Catholic 40-39 in the first round of the Division III district tournament.

Academy finished fifth in the MSL-Ohio at 7-7, behind co-champions Granville and Licking Valley (both 10-4), Bexley (9-5) and Newark Catholic (8-6) and ahead of Lakewood (5-9), Heath (4-10) and Whitehall (3-11).

The Vikings open Thursday, Dec. 1, at Lakewood.

Academy returns six letterwinners, including 5-7 senior guard Erin Simmons, who led the team in scoring last season at 12 points a game. She was first-team all-league.

Also back are senior guards LaShaun Ransom (5-8), who averaged nine points and was second-team all-league, and Dina Sinno (5-6), who was honorable mention all-league.

Senior guard Allison Martin (5-5), senior forward Meredith McCloud (5-10) and sophomore guard Brianna King (5-4) are the other returning letterwinners.

Senior forward Ana Tylka (5-7), junior forward Deepa Manda (6-2), sophomore guards Margaret Sutton (5-9) and Kat Weikert (5-5) and freshman guard Nat Weikert (6-0) round out the team. Kat and Nat Weikert are sisters.

"We have some really great athletes on the team this year," second-year coach Heather Gepper said. "There are a lot of seniors. They have had a lot of success in soccer, field hockey and lacrosse, so hopefully it transfers this year."

Gepper expects a close battle in the league and hopes her team can contend.

"Our goals are to improve upon how we played last season," Gepper said. "All the teams are tough in our conference."