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Perimeter defense to be key for Northland girls

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The Northland High School girls basketball team's hopes of getting to a third consecutive Division I regional tournament might include a test of its perimeter defense.

Dublin Coffman and Olentangy Orange, the highest seeds in the Vikings' district bracket, have offenses that coach Dean Washington believes are built around outside shooting.

"I know (Coffman has) some perimeter shooting and a big girl in the middle," Washington said. "(Coffman is) somewhat like Orange in that they can stroke it. We knew what (second-seeded) Gahanna had and we knew what (top-seeded) Reynoldsburg had, and we felt like this might be our best path to get to the regional."

Northland, the district's fifth seed, beat Delaware 77-37 in a second-round game Feb. 20 to improve to 18-5 and advance to a district semifinal against fourth-seeded Coffman at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, at Hilliard Davidson.

The winner plays third-seeded Orange or 11th-seeded Zanesville for a district title at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 2, at Davidson.

The district champion will meet Gahanna, Olentangy, Pickerington North or Dublin Scioto in a regional semifinal at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 5, at Otterbein University. The regional final is 7:15 p.m. March 8 at Otterbein.

Last season, Northland defeated Orange 51-50 for a district title. It then beat Gahanna 53-38 in a regional semifinal but lost to Reynoldsburg 47-37 in a regional final.

Coffman is 21-2 and led by sophomore post player Sade Olatoye and sophomore guard Kamerine Taylor, who average 10 and 11 points, respectively.

Orange features senior guard Taylor Agler, an Indiana signee who averages 15 points.

Northland senior guard Alexis Peterson averages 28 points.

Senior post player Jasmine Weatherspoon, who missed Northland's first 22 games because of a knee injury, had four points, five rebounds and three blocks in about 12 minutes against Delaware in her first action this season.

Peterson scored 29 points.

Junior guard Brooklynn Peterson served the first game of a two-game suspension after getting ejected from an 83-67 loss to Africentric on Feb. 9 in the City League title game.

Brookhaven, Northland bowlers finish strong

The Brookhaven boys and Northland girls bowling teams completed strong seasons last week.

On Feb. 19 at Eastland Lanes, the Bearcats beat Walnut Ridge 2,182-2,007 to win their first City League championship.

It was the final match for seniors Lei'Tonn Backus, Clevis Towns and Nathaniel Baker, while junior Ne'Tronne Backus and sophomore Brian Brockman also were key contributors.

The Bearcats finished just 21st (2,896) in a sectional Feb. 16 at Eastland Lanes.

"Going into the match our coach (Joaquin Jordan) said that we can make history and that we needed to step it up," Lei'Tonn Backus said. "(Not advancing to district was) extra motivation. We had to go out with a bang."

Northland lost to Briggs 2,279-1,870 in the City girls final Feb. 19 at Eastland Lanes but placed seventh (2,914) on Feb. 15 at Eastland Lanes to advance to district.

On Feb. 23 in the district tournament at HP Lanes, the Vikings were ninth (2,997) of 18 teams behind champion Cardington (3,682) as the top three advanced to state.

Sophomore Aleah Holley led Northland at district with a 474 series, followed by seniors Angela Holley and Janelle Tyler, who tied for 40th (454), and senior Jessica Adams (59th, 425).

"We didn't have our best bowler because (junior) Bradishia Foster was out ill, so we had to do just the best we could," coach Peggy Holley said. "We were just steady."

Cougars boys win tourney opener

The Beechcroft boys basketball team advanced to the second round of the Division II district tournament with a 66-55 win over 18th-seeded Independence on Feb. 23.

The 12th-seeded Cougars play at fourth-seeded Buckeye Valley at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, with the winner moving on to face fifth-seeded Hartley or 11th-seeded Marion-Franklin in a district semifinal Wednesday, March 6, at Newark. The district final is 8:30 p.m. March 8 at the Fairgrounds Coliseum.

Senior forward Khaleed Franklin had 12 third-quarter points to help Beechcroft outscore Independence 25-13 in that period. He finished with 20 points and sophomore guard Robert Martin added 14.

"We outrebounded them 43-30, so that was helpful," coach Humphrey Simmons said. "We were only 3-for-9 from the free-throw line in the first half, but we picked that up in the second half, making six of seven. I think the third quarter really helped us out."

While Beechcroft improved to 10-13, Buckeye Valley had a first-round bye and is 19-3. Senior forward Jordan Tomlinson averages 22.4 points but did not play in the Barons' 61-50 loss to Westerville South on Feb. 19 in their regular-season finale.

"We scrimmaged (Buckeye Valley) earlier in the season and did well against them," Simmons said.

Bearcats girls advance to semi

The second-seeded Brookhaven girls basketball team played 15th-seeded Caledonia River Valley in a district semifinal Feb. 27 at New Albany.

The winner will face top-seeded Eastmoor Academy or eighth-seeded Big Walnut in a district final at 7 p.m. Friday, March 1, at New Albany. The district champion will play Clarksville Clinton-Massie or Norwood in a regional semifinal at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 5, at Springfield. The regional final is 7:30 p.m. March 8 at the same site.

The Bearcats edged visiting Bexley 40-37 in a second-round game Feb. 20.

Brookhaven trailed 25-22 at halftime but held the Lions scoreless for the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter. Senior guard Renee Cheeks led the Bearcats with 19 points.

"Bexley did some things to rattle our guards and it was a real good tournament atmosphere," coach Darris Gattis said. "We threw the first punch and Bexley threw the second punch. In the fourth quarter we set them loose and it worked for us, plus we hit some shots. I'm a believer in that it takes a scare to realize that it's a one-and-done situation."

Eastmoor is 20-4 and led by senior guard Tajanee Wells, who averages 16 points and six assists.

Big Walnut is 15-9.

Northland, Brookhaven boys win openers

The Northland and Brookhaven boys basketball teams had no trouble advancing to the second round of the postseason.

The top-seeded and No. 1-ranked Vikings beat Hilliard Bradley 71-39 on Feb. 22 in its opening Division I district tournament game to improve to 23-0.

Northland played 41st-seeded Central Crossing on Feb. 27, with the winner to meet 12th-seeded Westerville South or 20th-seeded Walnut Ridge in a district semifinal at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, at Marysville. The district final is 6 p.m. March 9 at the Fairgrounds.

Brookhaven, the top seed in Division II, beat 27th-seeded Linden-McKinley 77-61 on Feb. 23 in its tournament opener to improve to 19-3.

The Bearcats play 21st-seeded London in a second-round game at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, at home, with the winner advancing to a district semifinal at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, at Olentangy against 14th-seeded River Valley or 15th-seeded Columbus East. The district final is 6 p.m. March 8 at the Fairgrounds.

Bearcats wrestlers end year at district

The Brookhaven wrestling team had three competitors end their seasons in the Division II district tournament Feb. 22 and 23 at Heath.

Senior Jalen Bonner went 1-2 at 152 pounds to finish 20-9, junior Keandre Powell went 0-2 at 145 to finish 26-10 and sophomore Giovaughni Bonner was 1-2 at 106 to finish 32-12.

The Bearcats tied Duncan Falls Philo for 38th (6) behind champion Uhrichsville Claymont (182.5) as 42 teams scored.

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