Chris Jones' final season as coach of the Columbus Academy boys basketball team was a memorable one.

Chris Jones' final season as coach of the Columbus Academy boys basketball team was a memorable one.

The Vikings reached a Division III regional semifinal, where they lost to St. Bernard Roger Bacon 58-52 on March 14 at Kettering Fairmont.

Academy finished 20-5 overall and 12-2 in the MSL-Ohio Division to share the league title with Newark Catholic.

Jones, 39, announced this week that he was stepping down as coach. Jones, who is a college counselor at Academy, will resign from that position at the end of the school year and his family will relocate to the Los Angeles area.

"It was definitely a hard decision and there's lots of things that go into it," Jones said. "No. 1, you say we're still a fairly young family and if we're going to do something like this, this is going to be the time to do it -the idea of opportunity and the spirit of adventure - but then also my (wife Janine's) family is there. Both of her sisters live out there, so we've been talking about trying to get the family back together at some point."

Jones said his family made its decision in January, but he wanted to wait until after the season to make the announcement.

In Jones' 10 seasons at Academy, the Vikings went 129-94 and won three league titles and two district titles.

"It's obviously just not the coaches," Jones said of the success. "It's not just the players, either. It's the families of the players, it's the families who have younger kids. My first two, three years here we started to have some parents getting a youth league together where they were getting kindergarteners, first-graders and second-graders in with a ball in their hands, and we still have leagues like that going."

Junior guard Daniel Aronowitz said Jones left his mark on the program.

"He completely turned the program around during his tenure at Academy," Aronowitz said. "I'll be playing under a new coach next year, but everything he taught me not only as a basketball player but as a person will stick with me long after my senior year."

Academy will lose five seniors, including forward Zach Ratcliff, who led the team in scoring (13.6 points per game) and rebounding (7.6). Ratcliff reached 1,000 points for his career in a 63-44 win over Berne Union in the second round of the district tournament Feb. 29. He finished with 1,060 points.

Ratcliff was first-team all-league and second-team all-district.

"I'm proud of each person on this team," Ratcliff said. "We did some pretty special things like winning the league and district. We will be able to look back and be proud of what we accomplished."

Senior Jacob Mikalov was third on the team in scoring at 12 points per game. He was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district.

Senior point guard Tim Eldridge averaged 8.6 points and was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district.

Other seniors are guards Ben Bechtel and Stephen Casey.

Aronowitz was second on the team in scoring at 12.4 points per game. He was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district.

Junior guard Jared Harris was honorable mention all-league.

Other players expected to return next season are juniors Jack Lint (guard), Aakaash Paladugu (forward), Abram Schottenstein (guard), Kyle Turner (guard) and Hart Wise (guard) and sophomores Bryce Bailey (guard), Jonathan Kornberg (forward) and Jimmer Ryan (guard).

In the MSL-Ohio, Academy and Newark Catholic finished ahead of Licking Valley (9-5), Granville (9-5), Heath (6-8), Bexley (4-10), Whitehall (2-12) and Lakewood (2-12).

Academy and Newark Catholic split two games, with the Green Wave winning 63-42 on Dec. 10 and the Vikings winning 62-48 on Jan. 24.

Academy's other league loss came against Granville, 63-53 on Feb. 14.

"Achieving a share of the league title was a terrific accomplishment," Jones said. "To have lost our first game in the league so early in the season gave us no margin for error, which means winning the next 10 league games and 11 of the next 12 is something the boys should feel proud of having done. We seek every year to contend for a league title, so to see a goal come to fruition is fulfilling."

The Vikings opened the district tournament by defeating Cardington 72-25 on Feb. 22. Academy also defeated Berne Union, Ready 70-41 on March 6 and Horizon Science Academy 91-72 in a district final March 8 at the Fairgrounds Coliseum.