The Watterson High School boys basketball team aspires to defend its Division II district, regional and state titles this season.
Coach Vince Lombardo said the Eagles would be remiss, however, if they didn't take a moment before the start of the postseason to celebrate winning their third consecutive CCL title.
Watterson beat host Hartley 57-44 on Feb. 3 to clinch the CCL championship outright. At the time, the Eagles had two league games left, including one against DeSales on Friday, Feb. 14, at Ohio Dominican University.
The Eagles defeated host St. Charles 54-47 on Feb. 7 to improve to 7-0 in the CCL and were 16-1 overall before playing Upper Arlington on Feb. 10.
"Winning the CCL is real important to us because it's an outstanding league every year, with St. Charles being a very solid Division I team, DeSales being a competitive Division II program and Hartley and Ready having outstanding Division III teams," Lombardo said. "It means a lot to us to be able to win the CCL three years in a row, and it's nice to have the title wrapped up this early."
Ryan Lewis had 12 points against Hartley and Matt Hughes and Andy Grieser scored 10 and nine, respectively, for the Eagles, who outscored the Hawks 31-19 in the middle two quarters.
"We handled Hartley a little better than we did the last time, and that's the kind of improvement you're looking for in a rematch," said Lombardo, whose team defeated the Hawks 46-40 on Jan. 24. "We've been playing consistently good defense the past several games, and we primarily kept Hartley in check by playing man-to-man while also giving them a couple of zone looks in spots. ... We hit the boards well, too."
Watterson travels to Buckeye Valley on Saturday, Feb. 15, before concluding the regular season Tuesday, Feb. 18, at Dublin Jerome.
The Eagles then will prepare for the start of the district tournament. The top seed in the district, they have a first-round bye and will play host to 13th-seeded Sparta Highland or 25th-seeded Linden-McKinley in the second round Feb. 25.
Watterson captured its first state and regional titles last season.
"We're excited about playing in the tournament soon, but we've got some important regular season games to take care of before then," Lombardo said.
Watterson defeated DeSales 54-49 on Jan. 10 at Otterbein University, as Grieser scored 20 points, Hughes scored 12 and Joe DiOrio scored nine.
The Eagles have won six consecutive games against the Stallions.
"Our league games have all been tough just like last year and that should prepare us for what we'll see in the district tournament, where every game is usually tough to win," Lombardo said. "Playing DeSales on college floors twice a year is a big help, too, because the regional and state tournaments are held on college courts."
Hockey team ready for district tourney
The hockey team will open the district tournament against Centerville on Friday, Feb. 14, at Chiller North.
The winner will face Olentangy Liberty in the second round Sunday, Feb. 16, at Chiller North, with the winner of that contest advancing to a district quarterfinal Feb. 22 at OhioHealth Ice Haus.
The Eagles lost to Olentangy Orange 10-2 in the first round of the Blue Jackets Cup on Feb. 6 to drop to 14-12.
Luke Andracki scored two goals and Aaron King had 47 saves against the Pioneers.
Girls basketball team host Bruins
Seeded 15th, the girls basketball team will play host to 31st-seeded Briggs in the first round of the Division I district tournament on Saturday, Feb. 15.
The winner will play at eighth-seeded Teays Valley in the second round Wednesday, Feb. 19.
Watterson was 13-7 overall before playing Hilliard Bradley in its regular-season finale Feb. 11.
The Eagles defeated host Columbus School for Girls 62-13 on Feb. 8 to finish 5-3 in the CCL. They placed second to DeSales (6-2), ending their streak of consecutive league titles at six.
Jordyn Brobst had 15 points and Bryn McQuade scored 13 against CSG.
Watterson lost to visiting DeSales 36-33 on Feb. 6. McQuade led the Eagles with 10 points.
Girls swimmers place second in sectional
The girls swimming and diving team finished second (153 points) in the 13-team Division I sectional meet Feb. 8 behind host Upper Arlington (494).
Madeline Grubbe placed second in the 100-yard backstroke in 1 minute, 2.3 seconds.
Placing third were Grubbe, Carrie Horan, Jenna Durham and Taylor Brown in the 200 medley relay (1:54.53) and Mae Welty, Molly DeSantis, Alicia Margello and Grubbe in the 400 freestyle relay (3:58.13).
"As a team, we swam pretty well and put up some good times," Grubbe said. "Our medley relay swam really well and we're looking to continue to have big drops in our times over the rest of the season."
The boys team finished fourth (88) in the five-team Division II sectional Feb. 8 at UA behind champion Grandview (309).
Austin Leahy placed second in the 100 breaststroke (1:11.06) and the 200 free relay of Michael Carmody, Daniel Cobb, Leahy and Joseph Heutel placed third (1:58.04).