Aaron Maharry of the Centennial High School boys swimming and diving team wasn't satisfied with his performance in the Division II state meet.
The senior placed 22nd in the 50-yard freestyle in 22.41 seconds and fell short of his goals, which were to break his program record (22.33) and qualify for the final in the meet that concluded Feb. 22 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
However, Maharry ended his prep career with the distinction of being the first swimmer in program history to qualify for state three times.
"I'm not very excited about my swim because I didn't finish in an amazing time or make it to the finals like I hoped to," he said. "But I'm definitely proud that I was able to make it back to state for a third time because not many people have been able to do that. I'm the first three-time state qualifier for Centennial and I'm happy to achieve that."
Last season, Maharry finished 20th in the 100 breaststroke (1:02) at state after placing fourth at district in a program-record 1:01.56. He finished 23rd in the 100 breast (1:03.51) at state as a sophomore.
"It definitely helps to have been there before because I was a lot less nervous this time," he said. "The 50 free is an all-out sprint, so I didn't have to think about race strategies like I did for the 100 breast. I had a lot of fun."
Maharry was Centennial's only state qualifier.
Boys basketball team rolls in district opener
The boys basketball team defeated 22nd-seeded Hamilton Township 87-55 in the first round of the Division II district tournament Feb. 23 at home to improve to 13-7.
The eighth-seeded Stars play at sixth-seeded Columbus South at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, with the winner facing third-seeded Granville or 13th-seeded DeSales in a district semifinal at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, at Newark.
Point guard Elias "Boo" Osborne had a team-high 22 points against Hamilton Township.
Guard Eric Cofer-Wilson and forward Jamal Slappy each added 15 points, forward Joe Thomas scored 12 and guard Gyai Gyamerah scored 10.
South beat 23rd-seeded Lakewood 68-42 in the first round Feb. 23 to improve to 15-7, as 5-foot-11 guard Deone Lindsey had 21 points, 6-4 forward Oumar Diop scored 17 and 5-9 guard Aaron Mullins scored 10.
Centennial did not play South, Granville or DeSales during the regular season.
Girls basketball team falls in second round
The girls basketball team couldn't hold on to a late lead and lost to 15th-seeded Caledonia River Valley 56-53 in the second round of the Division II district tournament Feb. 20 at home to finish 16-7.
Freshman point guard Alyssa Dean stole the ball, was fouled and sank a pair of free throws to put the fifth-seeded Stars ahead 53-50 with 1 minute, 1 second left, but River Valley guard Abby Guinther tied the game at 53 with a 3-pointer with 50 seconds left and the Stars turned the ball over with 25.8 seconds remaining.
That set up a three-point play by Raven Phelps with 5.1 seconds left, and the Stars failed to get off a potential game-tying 3-pointer before the buzzer.
Dean had a team-high 16 points. Senior forward Aubri Caslin had 15 points and freshman guard Akiya Brown scored 10.
"We played hard, but we didn't execute the small details or make sound passes," coach Darrin Green said. "We gave up a lot of rebounds and second-chance points and those plays were crucial."
Centennial won 13 of its first 17 games, including wins over Westland (45-41 on Nov. 27), Dublin Jerome (45-44 on Dec. 27) and Upper Arlington (60-53 on Jan. 17), but it lost three of its final six games.
The Stars went 11-3 in the City League-North Division to tie Brookhaven for second, behind Northland (14-0) and ahead of Beechcroft (6-8), Columbus East (5-9), Whetstone (5-9), Mifflin (4-10) and Linden-McKinley (0-14).
Centennial lost to Brookhaven 53-44 on Dec. 7 but defeated the Bearcats in the rematch, 52-44 on Feb. 1.
"We had three nice wins over OCC teams and we beat Brookhaven the second time around (in league play), even though that was a team we should have beaten the first time around," Green said.
The Stars lose one senior in Caslin, who averaged 13.7 points and a team-high 7.6 rebounds and was named honorable mention all-league.
Six players who saw significant playing time are expected to return in Brown, Dean, sophomore point guard Isabella Luaces, junior forward Brianne Stephenson, junior forward/center Aryn Brnusak and freshman guard/forward DeAuja Thompson.
Dean averaged 14.5 points, 2.9 assists and 3.7 steals, leading the team in all three categories, and was first-team all-league. Stephenson averaged 11.4 points and 4.3 rebounds and was second-team all-league.
Thompson averaged 12.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.4 steals and Brown averaged 6.5 points.
According to Green, Stephenson and Thompson were ruled academically ineligible for the postseason.
Also expected back is sophomore forward Marissa Robertson, who missed the entire season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. She averaged 5.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals while starting as a freshman.
"I guess we had a pretty good season considering we were missing three of our better players by the end of the season," Green said. "We have the potential do better next season with everyone who is eligible to come back, but we've got to do a better job of taking care of each other next year."
Taylor competes at district in bowling
Junior Justin Taylor of the boys bowling team rolled a 514 series to place 50th of 117 competitors in the district tournament Feb. 22 at HP Lanes.
The top three individuals not on a qualifying team advanced to the state tournament Saturday, March 2, at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl. Newark's Austin Martin won the district title with a 728 and Granville's Jon Massey secured the final individual state-qualifying berth with a 657.
Wrestlers end season at district tourney
Neither of the two members of the wrestling team who competed in the Division II district tournament qualified for state.
Sophomore Ken Lambert went 0-2 at heavyweight at district Feb. 22 and 23 at Heath to finish 18-18 on the season, and sophomore Shafeek Shafeek went 0-2 at 106 pounds to finish 18-16.
The top four placers in each weight class advanced to the state tournament, which runs Thursday, Feb. 28, through Saturday, March 2, at Ohio State.
Centennial did not score at district, as Uhrichsville Claymont (182.5) placed first of the 42 teams that scored.
The Stars scored 30 points and finished last in the 13-team sectional Feb. 16 at Licking Heights behind champion Whitehall (265.5), as Lambert went 2-2 and placed fourth and Shafeek went 2-2 and placed fifth.
Shafeek was a district alternate who competed at district after a qualifier in his weight class was unable to compete because of an injury.
Also competing at sectional were seniors Robert Fall (0-2 at 152), Josh McFann (1-3, sixth at 138) and John Neutz-ling (0-2 at 120), juniors Robbie Edgington (0-2 at 182), Danny Reyoz (0-2 at 220) and Alonzo Rhodes (0-2 at 195) and sophomore Justin Polk (0-2 at 145).
Centennial scored 82 points in the City League tournament Feb. 9 to finish seventh, behind Mifflin (192.5), Columbus West (187), Whetstone (170), Marion-Franklin (148.5), South (124) and Brookhaven (98) and ahead of Walnut Ridge (74), Briggs (61.5), East (58), Northland (58), Linden (56.5), Africentric (39), Independence (37.5) and Beechcroft (18).