Upper Arlington High School girls basketball coach Chris Savage had no complaints after the Division I district tournament draw Feb. 3 at Gahanna.
The Golden Bears, who entered the week 8-11 overall and 6-6 in the OCC-Central Division, are seeded 23rd in the 43-team field and will open the tournament Feb. 16 at 10th-seeded Pickerington Central. The winner will face 29th-seeded Westerville South in the second round Feb. 20.
The Bears' seed somewhat exceeded Savage's expectations given that they had lost four of five games before the draw as well as two starters -- senior guard Macauley Mikes and junior guard Chiara Paradiso -- to injuries.
"I thought we were higher than we deserved to be at 23, based on our record," Savage said. "But we went after a team that's having a wonderful year (Central was 14-6 entering the week). With (seed No.) 23, you're not going to have a wonderful spot to go to and we're seeing a team we're at least comparable to and have a chance to beat.
"It'll be a challenge for us. If we play really, really well, maybe we can come up with a win or two."
Mikes sustained a shoulder injury last week and Paradiso missed a 44-30 loss at Olentangy Liberty on Feb. 2 with a bloody nose. Savage expected Paradiso to return this week, but he said Mikes could miss considerable time.
UA won its first two games in January but lost seven of its next nine. It averaged 37.8 points during that nine-game stretch, but the average was inflated by a 62-44 victory over Thomas Worthington on Jan. 18. UA scored below that average in six of those nine games.
"The inconsistency is still there," Savage said. "Minus that, we haven't shown the improvement we need to offensively. We're still trying to fix things."
Senior forward Andi Norman was averaging a team-best 14.2 points through 19 games and was the team's scoring leader 11 times. She had 15 points and Paradiso scored 10 in a 58-43 loss to Hilliard Davidson on Feb. 1 and she had 24 points but missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer in a 38-35 loss to Newark on Jan. 26.
Against Liberty, Norman had 13 points and junior guard Kyle Croxton scored 11.
Wrestlers fall in state team tourney
The wrestling team advanced to a regional semifinal in the Division I state team tournament before losing to top-seeded and host Davidson 49-18 on Jan. 30.
Seeded second in Region 6-A of the dual-format tournament, UA defeated sixth-seeded Central Crossing 40-34 in the second round earlier that day after beating seventh-seeded Franklin Heights 64-18 in the first round Jan. 23.
Going 2-0 on Jan. 30 were sophomore Thomas Cooper (113 pounds), senior Danny Watson (160), freshman Izak Wunderlich (170/182) and junior Blake Reid (170/182). Reid pinned Central Crossing's Thomas Humberton at 182 and defeated Davidson's Brandon Dean 14-1 at 170.
Davidson faced Pickerington Central in the Region 6 final Feb. 6.
The Bears fell to 2-4 in the OCC-Central with a 44-33 loss to visiting Thomas Worthington on Jan. 31. They conclude their league schedule and the regular season Thursday, Feb. 7, at Westland.
UA then will prepare for the 10-team sectional tournament Feb. 16 at Westland. The Bears are seeded 21st of 40 teams in the district and will be joined at the site by third-seeded Delaware, fourth-seeded Davidson, Central Crossing, Dublin Scioto, Grove City, New Albany, St. Charles, Westland and Worthington Kilbourne.
UA finished fourth (151) in the 14-team All-North Tournament on Feb. 2 at Dublin Jerome, behind Mount Vernon (244.5), Gahanna (166.5) and Grove City (156.5). Winning titles were Reid at 170 and sophomore Keith Neely at 152.
Hockey team eyeing Blue Jackets Cup
The hockey team ended the regular-season with a 5-1 win over Olentangy Orange on Feb. 3 to improve to 14-10-1-1 overall and finish 7-8-1-1 (16 points) in the Capital Hockey Conference-Red Division.
UA will play in the consolation bracket of the Blue Jackets Cup this weekend by virtue of placing fifth in the CHC-Red, behind Liberty (15-0-1-1, 32), Jerome (13-2-2, 28), Cincinnati Moeller (11-5-0-1, 23) and Dublin Coffman (10-7, 20).
The Bears have a first-round bye and will play Olentangy or Watterson in a semifinal Saturday, Feb. 9, at the OhioHealth Ice Haus. The winner plays Kilbourne, Scioto or Thomas Worthington in the final Sunday, Feb. 10, at the Ice Haus.
UA went 2-1 last weekend, defeating Watterson 11-1 on Feb. 1 and losing to Moeller 4-3 on Feb. 2. The Bears defeated Olentangy 8-0 on Dec. 29.
Coaches named for two fall sports teams
Mic Rogers and Kelly Roderick recently were named the boys soccer and field hockey coaches, respectively.
Rogers, a Steubenville native, coached the Bears' junior varsity the past two seasons. Roderick, a 2008 UA graduate who played field hockey at Michigan State University, coached at Hastings Middle School last fall.
"It's a very exciting opportunity to get to do this at my alma mater," Roderick said. "I've always kept an eye on what's going on with the program here. I'm going to take some time to get to know the girls, especially the juniors and seniors, so we're not just learning each other's first names on the first day of practice."
Roderick replaces Derek Aspinall, who was 18-7-1 in two seasons at UA. He resigned in late November for personal reasons. The Bears finished 8-9-1 overall and 5-5-1 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League last fall, tying Granville for eighth behind champion Columbus Academy (10-0-1).
Girls athletics director Jodi Palmer said Roderick's contract is pending approval by the Board of Education in its meeting Feb. 19.
Rogers replaces Carlos Bonilla, who resigned in November after two seasons. The Bears finished 5-8-4 overall and 2-4-1 (fifth) in the OCC-Central last fall, losing to New Albany 1-0 (4-3 on penalty kicks) in the first round of the Division I district tournament.
Boys athletics director Michael Schaefer said Rogers is expected to be approved by the Board of Education this summer.
"I think we have a lot of potential," Rogers said. "We're a little young, but we have the ability to compete in the OCC. There's some familiarity between me and most of the guys and they know my expectations."