Riding a six-game winning streak and off to a strong start in its district semifinal, the Gahanna Lincoln High School girls basketball team seemed poised to make it to a Division I district final for the fifth consecutive season.
Those hopes evaporated during the second and third quarters of a 45-33 loss to 12th-seeded Hilliard Bradley on Feb. 27 at Bloom-Carroll.
The 11th-seeded Lions led 11-2 early in the second quarter but were outscored 43-22 the rest of the way to finish 17-8.
"I guess the key was that we had problems with their half-court trap and they had too many offensive rebounds," coach Rick Hauser said. "They got too many second shots and we didn't execute very well offensively. If you hold a team to 45 points, you'd think you should win the game. We didn't have much movement on the offensive end."
Bradley, which lost to Reynoldsburg 46-44 in a district final March 1 to finish 19-7, got 17 points during the second and third quarters and 22 overall from Meredith Miller.
Yasmin Norman led Gahanna with 12 points and Sam Jenkins and Chandlar Helms both scored seven.
Bowling season ends at district
Neither the boys nor girls bowling teams had any competitors advance to state.
On March 1 in the Division I girls district tournament at Eastland Lanes, the Lions finished eighth (2,886) of 20 teams behind champion Briggs (3,424) as the top four teams and top four individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to state.
Senior Erika Reed led Gahanna with a 20th-place finish (472). She was followed by senior Mickayla Moyer (26th, 460), junior Samantha Toale (67th, 376), senior Erin Holt (79th, 349) and freshman Breanna White (81st, 334).
The boys team finished 13th (3,312) of 20 teams at district behind champion Westerville South (3,815).
Senior Shane Hull Jr. was 19th (552), followed by juniors Alex Kasson (35th, 520) and Conner Hammonds (47th, 499). Junior Brandon Pierce and freshman Kaelan Celetano also competed.
Three district wrestlers expected to return
The wrestling team didn't have a competitor in the Division I state tournament for the first time since 2007, but three of its district qualifiers -- junior Andy Chau (195 pounds) and sophomores Doland Martin (170) and Tanner Harding (145) -- all should be back.
Martin went 3-3 to finish 31-18 overall and place sixth in the district tournament Feb. 21 and 22 at Hilliard Darby as the Lions finished 29th (14) behind champion Marysville (147.5) as 37 teams scored.
Harding went 0-2 at district to finish 32-20, and Chau went 0-2 at district to finish 24-29.
The Lions' other district qualifiers were seniors Nick Nader (2-2 at heavyweight, 44-8) and Jordan Sprunger (1-2 at 160, 32-17).
"I wasn't happy with us only getting five out (to district)," coach Kyle Bentley said. "I think we probably should have gotten seven guys out. Some of our guys are three-sport athletes, which makes it hard to be one of the elite athletes (in wrestling).
"Jordan is a senior and I'm going to miss Jordan as a person. He was a really phenomenally great kid. His personality and leadership I'm going to miss. Nick wants to wrestle in college and wants to go to Utah Valley State, which is close to where some of his family is from."
Gahanna was seeded fifth in Region 5 for the state team dual tournament and lost 39-22 to fourth-seeded Teays Valley in its opening match Jan. 22 at Pickerington Central.
The Lions finished fifth (3-4) in the OCC-Ohio Division behind Pickerington Central (7-0), Lancaster (6-1), Pickerington North (5-2) and Grove City (4-3) and ahead of Reynoldsburg (2-5), Groveport (1-6) and Newark (0-7).
Gahanna placed seventh (114) behind champion Teays Valley (229) in the 11-team Pickerington Central sectional Feb. 15.
Nader won a sectional title, Sprunger and Martin each placed third and Chau and Harding placed fourth. Also placing were senior David Dembroski (fifth at 152) and sophomores Dylan Ryther (sixth at 120) and Zach McDougle (fifth at 132).
Hockey team to lose four seniors
Before this winter, the hockey team never had posted back-to-back winning seasons.
In addition to coming within two wins of its program record, the Lions made it to the third round of the district tournament for the first time.
Ninth-seeded Gahanna, which lost to third-seeded Dublin Jerome 6-1 on Feb. 22 in a third-round game to finish 18-12-2, loses four senior forwards in Casey Jolly, Evan Kraus, Mason Settle and Joe Slyman.
"It was our third winning season in school history and we were a couple wins away from our school record for wins (20)," coach J.J. Stallsworth said. "I think we're going to be pretty solid next year."
Gahanna went 7-9 (14 points) in its first season in the Capital Hockey Conference-White Division to place behind St. Charles (14-2, 28), Upper Arlington (10-3-2-1, 23) and DeSales (8-8, 16). Stallsworth expects the Lions to drop back to the CHC-Blue next season after winning that division a year ago.
In the Blue Jackets Cup, Gahanna was seeded 10th and placed in the consolation bracket, where it lost to 11th-seeded Worthington Kilbourne 5-1 in its opener Feb. 8.
In the district tournament, the Lions beat 12th-seeded Cincinnati St. Xavier 4-2 on Feb. 15 and eighth-seeded Springboro 2-1 on Feb. 16.
Junior forward Skyy Goebel made first-team all-CHC-White and finished with 21 goals and 21 assists. Settle was the leading scorer with 26 goals and 22 assists, and Kraus had 19 goals and 22 assists.
Others eligible to return include juniors Austin Chrobak (forward), Chase Kauser (defender) and Colby Hanna (forward), sophomores Zach Chapman (forward) and Jake Chobany (forward) and freshmen Jared Chobany (forward, 18 goals, 15 assists), Jacob Nemec (defender, 13 assists) and Chris Henestofel (goaltender).
Henestofel went 17-15-1 to set the program record for wins in a season. He had two shutouts.