Coach Ashley Holmberg believed that if her Northridge High School girls basketball team took care of the ball and ran its offense, the Vikings would reach their first Division III district tournament semifinal in nine years.

Coach Ashley Holmberg believed that if her Northridge High School girls basketball team took care of the ball and ran its offense, the Vikings would reach their first Division III district tournament semifinal in nine years.

The Vikings handled those tasks but were only 2-for-12 from the free-throw line in a 65-55 overtime loss to ninth-seeded Mount Gilead on Feb. 24 at Granville.

Northridge finished 11-11 overall after winning three games last season and eight in the previous four seasons. The Vikings' last district semifinal appearance came in 2002, when they had a first-round bye and defeated Johnstown-Monroe 49-45 before losing to North Union 54-53.

"We really played well, but it came down to free throws, which have been our Achilles' heel all season," said Holmberg, whose team committed only five turnovers. "We played great defensively, and we played great when (Keilah Ketron) got into quick foul trouble."

Ketron, a 6-foot-2 senior post player, committed her second foul with 3 minutes, 9 seconds remaining in the first period and the Vikings leading 8-4.

With their inside presence and leading scorer on the bench until the second half, the Vikings led 18-16 after one period and 31-30 at halftime.

"We had some of our other girls step up when we needed them to the most," Holmberg said. "They kept us in the game. I couldn't have been happier with the way they played."

Mount Gilead led 42-38 entering the fourth quarter, but a Ketron layup gave Northridge a 47-44 lead with 3:37 remaining in regulation. The Vikings went 1-for-6 on free throws the rest of the fourth quarter, sending the game to overtime tied at 48.

Mount Gilead's Ashley Ohler scored 14 of her 19 points in overtime.

Lauren Cornwell led the Vikings with 14 points with two 3-pointers and Sara Pribonic had 12 points with two 3s and four rebounds. Kelsey Garrabrant had 10 points with three 3-pointers and Sierra Fronk scored seven points. Ketron had eight points with six rebounds and six blocked shots.

•The boys basketball team opened Division III district tournament play by beating Galion Northmor 54-52 in the first round Feb. 23 at Newark.

The 11th-seeded Vikings advanced to play eighth-seeded Horizon Science in the second round Feb. 26. The winner advanced to a district semifinal against top-seeded Heath or Ready at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 2, in the Fairgrounds Coliseum.

Northridge lost at Heath 45-42 on Dec. 3 in the season opener for both teams. Heath was 15-5 before Feb. 26. The Vikings have not played Ready, which was 6-15 before Feb. 26.

The district final will be at 9 p.m. March 9 at the Fairgrounds against fourth-seeded North Union, sixth-seeded Columbus Academy, seventh-seeded Marion Pleasant or Worthington Christian.

Against Northmor, Nick Nixon led with 19 points and four 3-pointers.

Caleb Higgins had nine points and Aaron Estep, Justin Howard and Tony Rios added eight points apiece.

"Nick was on with four 3-pointers, and we had a balanced attack behind him," said coach John Wheeler, whose team improved to 13-8 overall. "It was good to get out there and get a win in a close game like that. That can hopefully help us out down the road."

Northridge lost its regular-season finale 42-36 to Utica in MBC play. Nixon scored 12 points and Connor Burke added nine points.

Fredericktown won the MBC title at 13-1 followed by Utica (11-3), Northridge (10-4), Centerburg (9-5), East Knox (6-8), Loudonville (3-11) and both Danville and Johnstown (2-12).

•The wrestling team qualified five competitors for the Division III district tournament, which concluded Feb. 26 at Coshocton.

The top four in each weight class advanced to the state Thursday-Saturday, March 3-5, at Ohio State.

Thomas Williams improved to 47-1 by winning a championship at 130 pounds in the sectional at Cardington, which concluded Feb. 19. The sophomore defeated Alex Cornwell of Northmor 10-1 in the title match.

Also placing in the top four to advance to district were Parker Fox (112), Rob Mickey (140), Shane Mulligan (125 pounds) and Anthoney Verhovec (heavyweight).

Mulligan was runner-up and improved to 35-13, and Mickey was third and improved to 33-10. Fox (21-7) and Verhovec (31-16) both finished fourth.

The Vikings (140 points) were sixth of 15 teams at sectional behind champion Northmor (182).

•The boys and girls swimming teams failed to advance any competitors to the Division II state meet, which concluded Feb. 25 in Canton.

The Vikings competed in the boys 400-yard relay and the girls 400 relay at district Feb. 18 at Ohio State.

The top three boys and top four girls in each district event advanced to state, with the remainder of the field coming from top times throughout the state.

The boys 400 relay of Brandon Eckstein, Joe Larson, Beau Hammock and Paul Hager finished 28th (4:16.98). Columbus Academy (3:14.71) won the event.

The girls 400 relay of Brittany Hupp, Vivian Carney, Allison Everhart and Mickellea Tennis finished 26th (4:29.43).

The Vikings did not score any team points. Granville won the boys (368) and girls (256) meets.