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Girls team wins district title

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Kyle Croxton of the Upper Arlington High School girls basketball team says she hates to be selfish.

Given how she was shooting in a Division I district final against third-seeded Newark on March 1 at Ohio Dominican University, her teammates couldn't get her the ball fast enough.

Croxton, a senior guard, scored a career-high 21 points to carry the second-seeded Golden Bears to a 50-38 win and its first district championship since 1989.

Croxton hit five 3-pointers, none of which touched the rim.

"I used to tend to look to pass more than shoot, but once the coaches told me to shoot and they had confidence in me, I put that confidence into myself and I guess it worked," Croxton said. "I just wanted to play for my team. I hope that's what I did. This is a special moment for the team and the program. I am so proud of everyone."

Kortney Eisenman scored eight of her 10 points in the fourth quarter and Andi Norman added seven points and 19 rebounds.

"I can't even tell you how rewarding this is," coach Chris Savage said. "Of the (47) teams in the Central District, to be one of the four that's able to call yourself a district champion is incredible -- especially from a school not particularly known for girls basketball -- (and) gives our program and our community such pride. These girls, despite me probably, have committed such a lofty achievement."

UA, which was 24-1 before playing Dublin Coffman in a regional semifinal March 4, led Newark by as many as 13 points in the second half.

Eisenman scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter to quash the last of the Wildcats' comeback attempts. She gave Norman credit for most of her opportunities.

"Andi's rebounds were really important," Eisenman said. "When I pressured (Newark's Kym) Royster, who missed a lot of jumpers because she was put in uncomfortable positions, I couldn't turn around too quickly to get the rebound, so Andi's rebounds were the beginning of us pushing and scoring. Without those rebounds, we probably wouldn't have won."

The regional semifinal winner plays Northland or Reynoldsburg, which was ranked 10th in the final state poll, in the regional final at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 7, at Otterbein University. UA did not play either team during the regular season.

The regional champion will play Canton McKinley, North Canton Hoover, Solon or Twinsburg in a state semifinal March 14 at Ohio State.

UA is seeking its second state appearance. The Bears won a state championship in 1988.

"Right now, we're playing with house money," Savage said. "If we win, we win. I am excited, regardless. I am just really proud of the girls."

Boys basketball team reaches district semi

The boys basketball team advanced to a Division I district semifinal for the first time since 2011 with a 67-53 win over 30th-seeded Olentangy in a second-round home game Feb. 26.

Kevin Vannatta had 19 points, nine rebounds and four assists, Danny Hummer had 17 points and six assists and Logan Richter added 13 points for third-seeded UA, which outscored the Braves 22-10 in the third quarter to pull away.

UA was 22-1 before playing 12th-seeded Grove City in a district semifinal March 5. The winner faces second-seeded Gahanna or 27th-seeded St. Charles in a district final at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 8, at the Fairgrounds Coliseum.

The Bears did not play either of their potential district final opponents during the regular season.

UA is seeking its first district championship since 2007. That also marks the last time the Bears reached a district final.

The district champion advances to a regional semifinal March 13 at the Fairgrounds.

Future looks bright for hockey team

The hockey team expects to return four of its top six scorers next season.

UA finished 18-13-2 overall and went 10-3-2-1 (23 points) in the Capital Hockey Conference-White Division to place second behind St. Charles (28, 14-2) and ahead of DeSales (16, 8-8) and Gahanna (14, 7-9).

The Bears were seeded fourth in the district tournament and took a first-round bye. They defeated 17th-seeded Olentangy 4-1 in a second-round game Feb. 15 and fifth-seeded Olentangy Liberty 5-1 in a third-round game Feb. 22 before losing to top-seeded St. Charles 3-1 in a district semifinal Feb. 23 at OhioHealth Ice Haus.

"This was a real positive experience," coach Jay Graham said. "We had some lofty expectations, maybe loftier than others thought we should have, but we fulfilled some of those. Why not aim high? I think we represented ourselves well. On top of that, a lot of our scoring came from our underclassmen. Our goalie is back, too. I'm excited for next year for sure."

Sophomore forward Danny Logan led the team in scoring with 25 goals and 20 assists. Junior forward Jason Schumacher was second on the team in scoring with 13 goals and 28 assists, followed by senior forward Will Marable (16 goals, 14 assists), junior forward Cam Walker (9 goals, 16 assists), senior forward Zac Richards (10 goals, 13 assists) and freshman forward Jack Dolan (16 goals, 5 assists).

Junior goalie Cole Abbott had 570 saves on 645 shots for an .884 save percentage.

Wrestling season ends at district

The wrestling team ended its season in the Division I district tournament Feb. 21 and 22 at Hilliard Darby, as it did not have any state qualifiers.

UA had eight district qualifiers. Senior Taylor Neely (145 pounds, 22-6 record), junior Keith Neely (152, 15-4), sophomore Izak Wunderlich (182, 19-13), senior Alex Tepley (195, 17-15) and junior Quinten Wolfe (heavyweight, 9-4) each went 1-2 and junior Collin Burt (113, 19-16), junior Thomas Cooper (120, 23-8) and junior Sam Beam (138, 18-19) each went 0-2.

The Bears scored 10 points at district to finish 31st behind champion Marysville (147.5) as 37 teams scored. They finished third (169) in their 11-team home sectional Feb. 8 behind champion Westerville North (237).

Senior Blake Reid, who qualified for state at 170 as a junior, sustained a season-ending elbow injury in early January.

UA went 2-5 in OCC-Central duals to tie Thomas Worthington for sixth, behind Marysville (7-0), Olentangy Liberty (6-1), Hilliard Davidson (5-2), Central Crossing (3-4) and Coffman (3-4) and ahead of Westland (0-7).

Seeded fifth in Region 5-B, the Bears lost to fourth-seeded Olentangy 46-25 in the first round of the Division I state team tournament Jan. 21.

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