Gahanna Lincoln High School girls basketball player Quiera Lampkins said she didn’t know Pickerington North coach Dave Butcher had won 23 consecutive district championships entering their Division I district final Saturday, March 3, at Hilliard Davidson.
Lampkins’ 27 points, 13 of which came in the pivotal second quarter, helped sixth-seeded Gahanna defeat second-seeded North 63-46 for its first district title since 2010 and the program’s seventh overall.
“I seriously had no idea until coach (Rick Hauser) told us,” said Lampkins, whose team was playing in its fourth consecutive district final. “But we didn’t think too much about it today.”
The Lions (18-6) avenged two regular-season losses to North — 55-51 on Dec. 22 and 53-43 on Feb. 3.
Gahanna took an 8-2 lead in the first 3 minutes, 6 seconds. An Emily Thomas jumper with 38 seconds left in the first quarter put North (21-3) ahead 12-11, but Nikki Campbell-Muriente scored on a put-back in the closing seconds of the first and Gahanna didn’t trail again.
Hauser said poise was the biggest difference between this win and the Lions’ earlier losses against North.
“We talked about keeping our heads up,” Hauser said. “The first time we played them, I got a technical and one of our players got a technical. We were in bad foul situations. The same thing happened the second time; I didn’t get (a technical), but there was some nonsense. It wasn’t about riling them up for today’s game. It was about focus. We took a little different approach.”
Gahanna will play Northland in a regional semifinal at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 7, at Otterbein University. The fourth-seeded Vikings (23-1) beat third-seeded Olentangy Orange 51-50 on March 3 in a district final at Pickerington Central.
The Lions did not play Northland during the regular season, but they lost to the Vikings 51-35 in a district final last year.
Gahanna led North 34-21 at halftime and by as much as 22 at 58-36 with five minutes to play.
The Lions’ previous district titles were in 2010, 2006, 1998, 1997, 1987 and 1976.
Taylor Jones scored 16 points, Brittany Johnson had 13 and Emily Thomas added 10 for North, which had won eight consecutive district titles since the school opened in 2003. Butcher-coached teams — first at the original Pickerington High School, which is now Pickerington Central — had won them every year since 1989.
“They were a lot more poised and ready to go than us today,” Butcher said. “We’re a young team and we’ve had a lot of injuries — and those aren’t excuses — but today, maybe for the first time all year, we looked young.”