Connor Kern's 27 points led a balanced scoring attack, and the Pickerington High School Central boys basketball team held off visiting Columbus West 78-64 on Feb. 21 in a Division I district tournament first-round game.
Rodney Culver had 22 points, Jaylin Bannerman scored 13 and Jalen Tate added 10 for the sixth-seeded Tigers, who led the 36th-seeded Cowboys just 35-32 at halftime and pulled away with a 9-0 run in the final 2 minutes, 9 seconds.
Charles Holland had 20 points for West, which finished 7-16.
Central improved to 17-5 and advanced to play 34th-seeded Canal Winchester in a second-round game Feb. 26. The winner plays 13th-seeded Olentangy Liberty or 17th-seeded Marysville in a district semifinal at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 5, at Westerville Central.
The semifinal winner plays fourth-seeded Zanesville, 11th-seeded Westerville South, 26th-seeded Dresden Tri-Valley or 35th-seeded Hilliard Davidson in a district final March 8 at the Fairgrounds Coliseum.
Central did not play its potential district semifinal opponents during the regular season.
Panthers fall to Golden Bears
Seeded 38th and playing its first-round district tournament game on the road, North fell behind by 11 points halfway through the first quarter and by as much as 33 in the fourth, losing 75-47 at third-seeded Upper Arlington on Feb. 21.
Bryce Montes had 15 points and Andrew Butt added nine for the Panthers, who finished 3-20.
North Carolina-Asheville signee Kevin Vannatta had 28 points, four assists, four rebounds, three steals and two blocks for the Golden Bears, who were 22-1 before playing 30th-seeded Olentangy in a second-round game Feb. 26.