Watterson High School girls basketball coach Tom Woodford knew it was going to be difficult for his team to contain Teays Valley point guard Shayna Harmon when the teams met in the second round of the Division I district tournament.
Rather than trying to shut down Harmon, the Eagles focused on limiting her teammates.
The strategy paid dividends, as 16th-seeded Watterson defeated eighth-seeded Teays Valley 68-54 on Feb. 19 despite surrendering 27 points to Harmon.
"Shayna Harmon is one of the best players in the state and we knew she was going to get hers, but we didn't allow her teammates to help take over the game as well," Woodford said. "... We brought up one of our j.v. players, Claire Jenkins, to guard Harmon for 45-second spurts, and Claire did such a nice job of playing defense that we allowed her to guard Harmon during long periods of the second half."
Bryn McQuade had 16 points to lead the Eagles, who improved to 16-7 and advanced to play second-seeded Upper Arlington in a district semifinal at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, at Westerville Central.
Maria Fisher and Rachel Limes each added 10 points as nine players scored for the Eagles.
"We stayed consistent and that's something we've struggled with this season," Woodford said. "We've had games where we've scored 20 points one quarter and then we'll score four points in another quarter. We stayed in attack mode throughout this entire game and we got a lot of people involved in our scoring. Our players combined to make 11 of 14 free throws in the final three minutes of the game to seal it, too."
Watterson did not play UA during the regular season. The Golden Bears defeated Thomas Worthington 49-35 in the second round Feb. 20 to improve to 22-1, as 6-foot-2 forward Andi Norman had 18 points and five assists, 6-3 forward Kortney Eisenman had 14 points and eight rebounds and 5-6 guard Annika Wachtman had 15 points.
"UA has good size in the post and they have some really good shooters, including (5-6 point guard) Taylor McGlade and (5-4 guard) Kyle Croxton," Woodford said. "They are a very skilled team and they always have five kids who can score on the floor, so we can't allow them to find their offensive rhythm."
The semifinal winner will face third-seeded Newark or 15th-seeded DeSales in a district final at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 1, at Ohio Dominican University.
Watterson did not play Newark during the regular season but was swept by DeSales in CCL play, losing 42-37 on Jan. 4 and 36-33 on Feb. 6.
The district champion will play 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.
Makenzie Bevins, who was averaging a team-best 15.5 points before sustained a severely sprained ankle, likely won't be available through regional play. She has missed the past nine games.
"We don't have one player who has been able to replace Makenzie, but every single player on our team has improved their production in some way since she went down," Woodford said. "We had nine people score against Teays Valley and we'll need to continue to have balanced scoring if we're going to challenge for our first district title since 2004."
Grubbe finishes 20th at state swim meet
Madeline Grubbe of the girls swimming and diving team finished 20th in the 100-yard backstroke in 59.28 seconds in the Division I state meet that concluded Feb. 22 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
The senior also teamed with junior Alicia Margello, sophomore Carrie Horan and junior Taylor Brown to finish 20th in the 200 medley relay (1:51.12).
The Eagles failed to score at state, as Cincinnati Ursuline (281) won.
"It was an amazing experience and an honor for us to represent Watterson in the state meet," Grubbe said. "Our medley relay put in a good effort and it was a good experience for our underclassmen to get a feel for what the state meet is all about. My backstroke was a good swim as well, but it didn't end the way I hoped. It was an off-day for me, but it was an amazing experience to swim for my high school team at state one last time."
Tillman advances to district in bowling
Freshman Claire Tillman of the girls bowling team rolled a 373 three-game series to finish 80th in the Division I sectional Feb. 21 at Eastland Lanes and advance to district Saturday, March 1, at Eastland Lanes.
Also competing at sectional were freshman Nicole Stock (89th, 355), freshman Natalia Francescan (100th, 342), freshman Cecelia Baker (150th, 231 in two games) and freshman Rachel Bigley (179th, 191 in two games).
Watterson finished 27th (2,316) at sectional behind champion Briggs (3,345) as 37 teams scored. The top 20 teams and top 20 individuals not on a qualifying team qualified for district, where the top four individuals not on a qualifying team advance to state March 8 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
David Carter was the only member of the boys team to compete in the Division II district Feb. 22 at HP Lanes. The senior placed 16th of 90 competitors with a 582 series to finish 23 pins behind the third and final individual qualifier for state, which will be held Friday, Feb. 28, at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
Boys basketball team opens district tourney
The boys basketball team opened the Division II district tournament Feb. 25 against 13th-seeded Sparta Highland in the second round.
The winner advanced to play seventh-seeded Whitehall or 10th-seeded Bexley in a district semifinal Wednesday, March 5, at Newark.
The defending state champion, Watterson is the top seed of 28 teams and had a first-round bye.
The Eagles capped their regular season Feb. 18 by defeating Dublin Jerome 64-56 to improve to 20-2. Joe DiOrio and Matt Lehmann each had 15 points, Cody Calhoun scored 14 and Andy Grieser scored 13.
Wrestling team ends season at district
None of the wrestling team's three Division II district qualifiers advanced to the state tournament, which runs Thursday, Feb. 27, through Saturday, March 1, at Ohio State.
Ben Kring (120 pounds) and Michael Guza (132) both went 0-2 at district held Feb. 21 and 22 at Uhrichsville Claymont. Mark Guza (126) was unable to compete after suffering a concussion Feb. 15 at sectional.