DeSales High School girls basketball coach Brian Cromwell hopes his team's 71-58 win over Delaware in the second round of Division I district tournament Feb. 20 set a precedent.
The 15th-seeded Stallions thrived on an up-tempo approach, posting their second-highest point total of the season and effectively controlling the pace of the game. According to Cromwell, such a strategy could pay dividends when his team plays third-seeded Newark in a district semifinal at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, at Westerville Central.
"We felt like (Delaware) wanted to play a slower game and, since we play 11 or 12 girls on a pretty regular basis, we felt like we could wear them down," Cromwell said.
"That's probably the best we've looked offensively all year. Newark plays only six or seven girls from the times we've seen them, but that means they are in excellent shape. They like to push the tempo, too, similar to us, and we need to be able to match that."
Andrea Grassbaugh had 18 points on six 3-pointers to lead a balanced effort against 20th-seeded Delaware. Maggie Simon added 15 points, Jori Arnold scored 14 and Coley Tuel scored 11 as the Stallions improved to 17-5. Their season high in points came in a 73-20 win over Columbus School for Girls on Dec. 5.
Newark, which is 19-5, advanced by defeating 39th-seeded Hilliard Davidson 55-38 in a first-round home game Feb. 15 and 46th-seeded Hilliard Darby 77-21 in a second-round home game Feb. 19.
According to Cromwell, DeSales lost to Newark by 15 points in a two-quarter scrimmage Nov. 21.
The Wildcats are led by Kym Royster, a 6-foot-2 forward who averaged 20 points, nine rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.8 steals during the regular season and was named first-team all-district, and Maggie Mitchell, a 5-8 guard who averaged 14.9 rebounds, 3.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.8 steals to earn third-team all-district.
Mitchell has signed with Ashland University.
"Guarding Royster is going to take a team effort," Cromwell said. "We've seen her the past few years. She has matured into a complete player."
The semifinal winner will play second-seeded Upper Arlington or 16th-seeded Watterson in a district final at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 1, at Ohio Dominican University. The district champion will face Dublin Coffman, Olentangy, Pickerington Central or Zanesville in a regional semifinal at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 4, at Otterbein University.
The regional final is March 7 at Otterbein.
DeSales, which is seeking its first district title in two years and first in Division I, has not played UA, Coffman, Olentangy, Pickerington Central or Zanesville this season. It swept Watterson in CCL play, winning 42-37 on Jan. 4 and 36-33 on Feb. 6, en route to the league title.
Strohacker sisters roll to district tourney
Amber and Haley Strohacker of the girls bowling team advanced to the Division I district tournament Saturday, March 1, at Eastland Lanes.
In a sectional tournament Feb. 21 at Eastland Lanes, Amber Strohacker finished 34th with a 448 three-game series and Haley Strohacker was 56th (403) as the top 20 teams and 20 individuals not on a qualifying team qualified for district. DeSales placed 22nd (2,471) behind champion Briggs (3,345) as 37 teams scored.
Also competing were Jenni Ciacuira (244, 143rd), Dena Studer (217, 163rd) and Josey Waltman (209, 169th).
The top four individuals not on a qualifying team at district advance to state March at 8 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl. Last year, DeSales was represented at state by 2013 graduate Miranda Singer, who placed eighth to earn all-state honors.
The boys team's season ended in the Division II district Feb. 22 at HP Lanes.
Collin Sebedra rolled a team-best 588 series to finish 13th as DeSales placed seventh (3,588) behind champion Jonathan Alder (4,360) as 14 teams scored. The top four teams and top four individuals not on a qualifying team advanced to the state tournament Friday, Feb. 28, at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
Tyler LaTorre (566, 23rd) had the second-best district finish for the Stallions, followed by Tony LaTorre (491, 58th), Yusef Walton-Bridges (475, 64th), Anthony Hayes (320, 80th) and Patrick Nie (137, 89th).
McKinney leads way for swimmers at state
Coleman McKinney of the boys swimming and diving team recorded DeSales' best finish in the state meet that concluded Feb. 22 at Branin Natatorium in Canton, finishing 15th (48.53 seconds) in the Division II boys 100-yard freestyle.
In addition, the sophomore finished 20th (22.24) in the 50 free, as the Stallions scored two points to tie five other teams for 53rd behind champion Dayton Oakwood (214) as 58 teams scored.
In the Division I girls meet, freshman Maureen Cummins finished 16th in the 100 backstroke (59.44) and junior Anne Marie Cummins finished 17th in the 100 butterfly (58.4) and 21st in the 100 back (59.31), falling short of the consolation finals in both events.
The top eight finishers in each swimming event qualified for the championship finals, and the next eight swam in consolation finals.
"She had a hard day being the first alternate (for the championship finals)," Maureen said. "She was very helpful to me and got me all excited. It would bug me to (finish) 17th, too, but she didn't show it.
"For me, this was so exciting. (In the preliminaries Feb. 21), I had all my friends here. It was fun and (the final) was definitely more nerve-wracking."
Maureen Cummins earned one point for the Stallions, who placed 52nd behind champion Cincinnati Ursuline (281) as 52 teams scored.
Myers, Prater lead wrestlers at district
Nick Myers and James Prater of the wrestling team each posted one win during the Division II district tournament held Feb. 21 and 22 at Uhrichsville Claymont, but the Stallions did not have anyone qualify for state, which runs Thursday, Feb. 27, through Saturday, March 1, at Ohio State.
Myers went 1-2 at 145 pounds and Prater was 1-2 at 220, as DeSales scored seven points to tie three other teams for 30th behind champion Claymont (279.5) as 39 teams scored.
Also competing were Domenic Carfagna (106, 0-2), Cameron Cua (126, 0-2), Conner Cua (132, 0-2) and Brian Dytko (285, 0-2).
Season ends for boys basketball team
The boys basketball team could not make its halftime lead stand in a 50-40 loss at eighth-seeded Columbus South in a Division II district tournament first-round game Feb. 22.
Shawn Snyder had a game-high 13 points and Caden Sanchez added 12 for the 22nd-seeded Stallions, who finished 7-16. DeSales led 20-19 at halftime but was outscored 12-6 in the third quarter.
Gymnastics team ends season at district
The gymnastics team's season came to an end in the district tournament Feb. 22 at Worthington Kilbourne.
DeSales scored 112.975 points to finish 21st behind champion Dublin Coffman (143.85) as 26 teams scored. In addition to Coffman, Kilbourne (141.025) and Upper Arlington (137.7) earn berths for the team state meet Friday, Feb. 28, at Hilliard Bradley.
Krissy Beck finished 52nd in the all-around (31.375) to lead the Stallions. Olivia Shade (26.975, 88th) was next, followed by Kendall Hohl (26.75, 90th) and Katherine Krieger (25.575, 97th). Beck also had DeSales' top finish in an individual event, tying for 39th (8.15) on the balance beam.
The top eight finishers in each event and the all-around at district advanced to the individual state tournament Saturday, March 1, at Bradley.