With the Centennial High School boys basketball team trailing DeSales by three with less than 30 seconds remaining in a Division II district semifinal, the Stars made sure to get the ball to senior point guard Elias "Boo" Osborne.
Osborne already had proven to be a clutch shooter, having made the winning basket with under a second remaining in the eighth-seeded Stars' 69-67 second-round victory at sixth-seeded Columbus South on Feb. 28. He also made a 3-pointer from half court to tie the game at the end of regulation during an 89-86 overtime victory at Mifflin on Feb. 8.
At the end of the semifinal March 6 at Newark, Osborne got a clean look at the basket and shot a 3 just before the buzzer sounded. But the ball bounced off the rim as the 13th-seeded Stallions upset Centennial 55-52.
The Stars finished 14-8 overall and DeSales went on to finish 13-12 after losing to Marion-Franklin 56-34 in a district final March 8.
"Boo's the player you want to take that shot in that situation and he got a good look, but the shot didn't fall this time," said his father, coach Elias Osborne. "We won a couple of close games very similar to this one, but this one just didn't go our way.
"That missed shot at the end isn't why we lost this game. We had a lot of opportunities to put DeSales away in the fourth quarter, but we missed a lot of open shots and free throws and turned over the ball too much."
Senior guard Christian Cumberlander scored 15 points, junior guard Gyai Gyamerah scored 13 and Osborne and sophomore forward Joe Thomas each scored 10.
"DeSales played a good defensive game, and they played better overall than we expected," coach Osborne said.
The Stars finished third in the City League-North Division at 10-4, behind Northland (14-0) and Brookhaven (11-3) and ahead of Beechcroft (7-7), Columbus East (6-8), Mifflin (5-9), Whetstone (3-11) and Linden-McKinley (0-14).
The Stars opened the district tournament Feb. 23 at home by routing 22nd-seeded Hamilton Township 87-55, setting up their victory at South.
"Beating South ... at their place is something we'll always remember," coach Osborne said. "Our league was very strong once again, so it's nice to finish in the top three."
The Stars lose five seniors who started multiple games in point guard Eric Cofer-Wilson, Cumberlander, Osborne, forward Conrad Stephens and guard Tim Williams.
Osborne averaged 19.5 points, 8.4 assists, 7.3 rebounds and 3.6 steals. He was first-team all district and all-league.
Cumberlander and Stephens each averaged 11.1 points. They were honorable mention all-district and all-league.
Top players expected to return are Gyamerah, sophomore forward Jamal Slappy and Thomas. Gyamerah averaged 10.7 points, Slappy averaged 6.1 and Thomas averaged 5.7.
"Our seniors did real well for us, but our future still looks real bright because of who we have coming back," coach Osborne said.
Girls swim team captured City title
The girls swimming and diving team put together a strong season in which it set several records and won its fourth consecutive City League championship.
The Stars scored 132 points to win the City meet Feb. 2 at Columbus Aquatics Center ahead of Whetstone (99), Northland (43), Eastmoor Academy (24) and Beechcroft (20).
Lexie Herron placed first in four events, winning the 50-yard freestyle (27.08 seconds) and 100 free (1:00.46).
She also combined with junior Julia Brooks, sophomore Sam Meanor and sophomore Glorianna Fleming to win the 200 medley relay (2:04.11) and teamed with Brooks, Meanor and sophomore Sophia Maharry to win the 200 free relay (1:51.05).
Brooks also won four events, as she was part of the first-place 400 free relay (4:21.83) and placed first in the 100 backstroke (1:09.32).
Also placing first were junior Kaylyn Aebie in the 200 free (2:18.76), sophomore Emilija Erenpreiss in diving (161 points), senior Kaitlin Hedges in the 500 free (6:00.93) and Meanor in the 100 breaststroke (1:18.89).
Centennial scored 71 points to place ninth in the Division II district meet Feb. 15 at Ohio State behind champion Granville (457) as 36 squads scored.
Brooks set two team records as she placed 21st in the 100 back (1:08.42) and 13th in the 100 free (58.42), while Hedges finished 13th in the 500 free in a team-record 5:50.71.
Herron placed 12th in the 50 free (team-record 26.34) and combined with Meanor, Maharry and Brooks to finish fifth in the 200 free relay in a team-record 1:47.45.
The Stars also scored 332 points to win the sectional Feb. 9 at Upper Arlington ahead of runner-up Grandview (306).
"We all dropped some time at sectional and district, which were the highlights of our season," Maharry said. "Winning the City meet was fun, too. We had some good seniors, but I think we can win it again next year if everyone works hard."
Senior Aaron Maharry made history for the boys team by becoming the Stars' first swimmer to compete in the Division II state meet three consecutive seasons. He finished 22nd in the 50 free in 22.41.
Centennial didn't score at state, which was held Feb. 20-22 at Branin Natatorium in Canton, as Maharry was its lone representative.
"Aaron is the first swimmer to qualify (to state for us) and he set a high standard by qualifying three years in a row," coach Maria Stead said. "We have had both male and female divers qualify (for state) in the past, dating back to the mid-90s, but he is the first swimmer."
The Stars scored 80 points to finish 11th at district behind champion Granville (332) as 36 squads scored. Maharry finished fourth in the 50 free in a team-record 22.33.
Centennial scored 252 points to place second in the UA sectional behind Grandview (280).
The Stars also finished second (91) in the City meet behind Northland (103) and ahead of Whetstone (84), Eastmoor (13) and Beechcroft (8).
Placing first were Maharry in the 50 free (23.33), sophomore John Beyer in diving (107) and sophomore Mark Brownfield in the 500 free (6:10.22).
"I'm really proud of how well we did at the City meet, especially with so few (11) people on our team," Maharry said. "I think our seniors did a good job of leading the team, but they have plenty of good underclassmen returning to lead the team in the coming years."
Bowling squad finishes 9-5
The boys bowling team finished 9-5 overall even though so few tried out that coach Brian Hamilton was forced to combine his boys and girls squads into one.
All of Centennial's matches counted in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-Central Division standings. The Stars finished seventh in the 16-team league behind champion Ready (14-1).
The Stars finished 23rd (3,100) in the 30-team sectional Feb. 16 at Columbus Western Bowl behind champion Newark (4,030) as the top nine teams and top nine individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to district.
Junior Justin Taylor rolled a 589 series for the third-highest score among the individual qualifiers.
Taylor then placed 50th (514) of 117 competitors at district Feb. 22 at HP Lanes. The top three individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to state March 2 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl, and Taylor was 143 pins short of making the cut.
Leading the Stars in scoring average were Taylor (192.8), junior Tyler Bastian (176.3), sophomore Ty Carter (173.9), freshman Russell Chambers (155.4), senior John Fowler (148.9), senior Amy Matthews (134.3) and junior Chelsea Huffman (134).