The Beechcroft High School boys basketball team will do everything in its power to keep things fast-paced in the Division I district tournament.

The Beechcroft High School boys basketball team will do everything in its power to keep things fast-paced in the Division I district tournament.

That approach has been a focus all season for the Cougars, but it became even more of one when they lost leading-rebounder Rasean Moore to ineligibility in late January.

First up for Beechcroft is a second-round matchup at 6:15 p.m. Friday at Harvest Prep against Hilliard Darby or Logan, which met last Tuesday.

Guards Josh Gouch and Dominique Freeman have been among those who have stepped up to lead the way, with junior Leo Devlin (6-foot-3) seeing increased action in place of Moore.

"We just have to create some turnovers like we have been," coach Scott Davis said. "We have to get the tempo to be in our favor, and we've got to get people to play our style. If someone can beat us in an up-and-down game, we've got to be sure to play a Beechcroft style of game. If the score is in the 70s or 80s, I like our chances."

The Cougars averaged more than 77 points and have scored more than 90 four times. Darby had been held to 50 or fewer 10 times and edged Hilliard Davidson 35-26 in its regular-season finale Feb. 20.

The Panthers, who were 9-11 before facing the Chieftains, have shown signs that their offense is coming around. In a 61-45 win over Thomas Worthington on Feb. 6, Darby shot 50 percent from the floor and 49 percent from 3-point range. Marquis Copeland, who made three 3-pointers in that game, led the way with 18 points, including four 3-pointers, in a 66-44 victory over Westland on Feb. 13.

Tyler Wilson and Dylan Rudy are other key players.

Logan is 11-9 and features several players who were key to the football team's run to a Division II regional semifinal and an 11-1 record.

Patrick Angle (6-foot-2) and Zach Adams (6-2) are the tallest key players. Lucas Wright, Jordan Rutter and Mason Mays are 5-10 guards and also see significant action.

Davis hadn't yet seen the Chieftains before their game with Darby.

"(Darby is) a little younger than they've been in the past, but they're very well-coached and play extremely hard," Davis said. "They're very, very scrappy and we'll have to play well to win if we play them. They're not really big, but they're more of a halfcourt team. They do have some quickness and they're capable of getting down the floor.

"Josh Gouch has continued to get better as the year has gone on, and Leo Devlin is only about 6-3 but he's really long and plays taller than he is. We're just really trying to get our guards to dig out rebounds when they can."

•The wrestling team had three competitors at the Division II sectional last Friday and Saturday at Amanda-Clearcreek but did not score as Canal Winchester (191.5) won the title at the 12-team event.

Competing for the Cougars were sophomores Eric Taylor (119) and Juane Daniels (140) and freshman Amos Gweh (171). All three won their opening matches before losing their next two.

The team's two most successful wrestlers during the regular season, juniors Wallace Hale and Hamid Turay, could not compete. Hale won 11 matches before getting injured last December and Turay was participating in driving school.

The Cougars, who finished third in the City in 2004-05, scored just 4 points at the City tournament two seasons ago and none a year ago after having only a couple athletes show interest in the sport.

Tom Dunlap, who coached the football team the last 23 seasons before stepping down in late December, attempted to revive the program this year along with football assistants Kirk Jackson and Eric Music.

The Cougars had about a dozen wrestlers show up for drills and matches throughout the season and ended up scoring 15 points to finish last of 16 teams at the City tournament Feb. 13-14 at Centennial.

Dunlap and Music are hoping most of the wrestlers also will come out for the boys track team, which both are coaching as well.

"We were real proud of the kids," Music said. "They all did a good job. I think actually just having a team was a success. We provided an opportunity for the kids, and having the kids work toward a goal. Just because you don't win doesn't mean it was not a success. All of the guys will be back next year. It was a great way to gain some muscle."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Beechcroft boys basketball and girls basketball teams:


Last Friday -- Lost to Cleveland Heights 85-64. Josh Gouch scored 18 points and Dominique Freeman had 14. Beechcroft was outscored 44-29 in the second half.

Friday -- At Harvest Prep vs. Hilliard Darby or Logan in second round of Division I district tournament (6:15 p.m.). The winner will advance to a district semifinal March 7 at the Fairgrounds Coliseum against Brookhaven, Groveport, fifth-seeded Dublin Coffman or Pickerington North. Beechcroft is the sixth seed.

Of note: The Cougars are 16-4.


Last Tuesday -- Played Buckeye Valley in second round of Division II district tournament. The winner will play in a district semifinal at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Pickerington North likely against third-seeded Eastmoor, with the winner of that advancing to a district final March 6 at North against fifth-seeded Granville, sixth-seeded Mifflin, Caledonia River Valley or fourth-seeded DeSales. Beechcroft is the seventh seed.

Of note: The Cougars were 10-10 before last Tuesday.