The Westland High School boys basketball team faces a daunting task in the first round of the Division I district tournament.

The Westland High School boys basketball team faces a daunting task in the first round of the Division I district tournament.

The 37th-seeded Cougars will play fourth-seeded Gahanna on Tuesday, Feb. 22, at Lakewood.

Westland was 3-16 overall and 1-12 in the OCC-Central Division before playing Central Crossing on Feb. 18 in its regular-season finale.

Gahanna was 18-1 overall and 12-1 in the OCC-Ohio before playing Groveport on Feb. 18. The Lions were tied for first place with Pickerington North, which snapped Gahanna's 44-game regular-season winning streak with a 58-48 victory on Feb. 4.

Senior guard Stevie Taylor, an Ohio University signee, averaged 17.2 points through 19 games to lead the Lions in scoring.

Other key players for Gahanna are seniors Jordan Martin, Jamel Morris, Brandon Smith and Brien Winston.

The Lions reached a Division I state semifinal last season, losing to eventual champion Massillon Jackson 62-50.

Westland coach Todd Parker believes the Lions might be better this season.

"You know they have very good guard play," Parker said. "That Taylor kid has been there it seems like forever. He's very good at penetrating. He can hit jumpers. He does pretty much everything. Of course, they have some other good guards around him."

Westland sophomore J.J. Smith, who averaged a team-high 11.4 points through 19 games, is looking forward to the challenge.

"We have to work harder, but anything is possible," Smith said. "They're one of the best teams in Ohio, but that doesn't say anything to me. I'll just go out there and play harder than them."

Westerville South is seeded first in the tournament followed by Northland, Upper Arlington, Gahanna and Pickerington North.

Westland and Gahanna last met in the first round of the district tournament in 2009, and the Lions won 56-42. Last season, Westland lost to Dublin Coffman 67-30 in the first round.

The Cougars entered the Central Crossing game looking to bounce back from a 51-49 loss to Hilliard Darby on Feb. 11.

Westland wasted a 40-26 lead entering the fourth quarter. Zac Buchwalter led the Cougars with 17 points.

"We played well enough to win, but we don't know how to finish out the games yet," Parker said.

"All we needed to do is execute our offense and get good shots every possession and we would have won that game. We turned it over a few times and missed several free throws. We missed seven of 16 free throws in the fourth quarter."

Senior center James Wilson was second on the team in scoring though 19 games, averaging 7.7 points.

•The gymnastics team competes in the district meet on Saturday, Feb. 26, at Worthington Kilbourne.

The top three teams and top eight individuals in each event will advance to the state meet March 4-5 at Hilliard Bradley.

On Feb. 12, the Cougars finished sixth (70.5 points) in the six-team OCC-Central meet won by host Kilbourne (134.975).

Freshman Brenna Nutini led the Cougars with a 26.350 all-around score. She had a high of 7.65 on vault.

AT A GLANCE

Below are the recent results and coming schedule for the Westland boys basketball team:

*Feb. 11 - Lost to Hilliard Darby 51-49

*Feb. 18 - Played Central Crossing

Feb. 22 - Gahanna in first round of Division I district tournament, 8 p.m. at Lakewood. Winner plays Columbus West in second round, 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26, at Worthington Christian Middle School.

Of note: The Cougars were 3-16 overall and 1-12 in the OCC-Central before Feb. 18.

*OCC Central game

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Westland girls basketball, gymnastics and wrestling teams:

GIRLS BASKETBALL

*Feb. 11 - Lost to Hilliard Darby 42-29. Tanesha Dixon scored 12 points.

Feb. 12 - Lost to Marysville 43-32. Taylor Horn scored 10 points.

Feb. 17 - Played Olentangy Orange in first round of Division I district tournament. Winner plays Central Crossing or Independence in second round, 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, at Westerville Central.

Of note: The Cougars were 0-20 overall before Feb. 17 and finished 0-14 in the OCC-Central.

*OCC Central game

GYMNASTICS

Feb. 12 - Finished sixth (70.5) in six-team OCC-Central meet won by host Worthington Kilbourne (134.975)

Feb. 26 - District meet at Kilbourne

WRESTLING

Feb. 19 - Competed in Division I sectional tournament at home. The top four wrestlers from each weight class advanced to the district tournament Friday and Saturday, Feb. 25-26, at Darby.

Of note: The Cougars finished 1-6 in the OCC-Central.