No matter how the Westland High School girls basketball team fares in the Division I district tournament, it is guaranteed to finish with a winning record for the first time in 10 years.
The Cougars lost their final two regular-season games, falling to Upper Arlington 49-28 on Feb. 7 and Dublin Coffman 62-46 on Feb. 11 in OCC-Central Division games, but are 12-10 overall.
Their previous winning season was 2003-04, when they finished 12-9.
"Coach (Hugo Quint) said we all finished winners this year," senior Tanesha Dixon said. "We didn't finish with a losing record. We changed the program a lot. That's something to be proud of regardless of what our standings were and what our record said."
Westland is seeded 19th of 47 teams in the district and has a first-round bye. It will play 18th-seeded New Albany or 27th-seeded Marysville in the second round Wednesday, Feb. 19, at the home of the higher seed.
"I'm looking forward to the tournament," Dixon said. "We want to go as far as we can and to play as hard as we can. We only have so many games left and so many games are guaranteed. Hopefully, we finish on a high note."
Entering their first-round matchup Feb. 15, New Albany was 13-9 and Marysville was 12-10.
Westland defeated Marys-ville 52-44 on Dec. 21 and 58-48 on Jan. 17 in OCC-Central play but has not played New Albany this season.
"We just have to be ready for whomever we play," Quint said. "We'll be ready."
If Westland advances, it likely would play top-seeded Reynoldsburg in a district semifinal Feb. 27 at Bloom-Carroll. The district final is March 1 at Ohio Dominican University.
The Cougars finished 8-6 in the OCC-Central to place fourth, behind UA (13-1), Coffman (12-2) and Olentangy Liberty (10-4) and ahead of Marysville (6-8), Thomas Worthington (5-9), Central Crossing (1-13) and Hilliard Davidson (1-13).
Westland was held to its lowest point total of the season in its loss to visiting UA on Feb. 7.
Andi Norman led the Golden Bears, single-handily outscoring the Cougars by finishing with 29 points, including seven 3-pointers. Christina Simpson had 14 points to lead the Cougars.
Against visiting Coffman in its regular-season finale, Westland trailed by as many as 29 points in the fourth quarter. Simpson led the Cougars with 22 points and Dixon scored 14.
"I have to give Coffman credit," Quint said. "I knew it was going to be hard playing them because of our senior night. I thought we were so hyped at the beginning of the game it took us awhile to simmer down."
Simpson is averaging a team-high 15 points and Dixon is averaging 11.7.
Boys basketball team seeded 37th in district
The boys basketball team is seeded 37th of 45 teams in the Division I district tournament and has a first-round bye.
The Cougars will play fifth-seeded Newark or 43rd-seeded Central Crossing in the second round Feb. 26 at the home of the higher seed.
Westland has not played Newark this season, but it defeated Central Crossing 71-62 on Jan. 10 in an OCC-Central contest. It played the Comets again Feb. 14 in its league and regular-season finale.
Entering play Feb. 14, the Cougars were 5-16 overall and 3-10 in the OCC-Central and Newark and Central Crossing were 16-4 and 3-17, respectively.
"We put ourselves in that position," coach Seth Martin said of his team's seed. "With a few more wins, we could have been higher. Newark is obviously a good basketball team and it's going to be a great atmosphere for our guys and the good thing is, with that bye, at least we'll get to see them play a few times."
Westland entered its second meeting with Central Crossing on a five-game losing streak. The skid included a 42-27 loss to host UA on Feb. 7 and a 51-46 loss at Franklin Heights on Feb. 11.
"It was an intra-district rivalry and the kids played their butts off," Martin said of the contest against Franklin Heights. "We had a few mental lapses. It's something we'll learn from."
Toury Freeman led the Cougars offensively in both games, scoring 18 points against Franklin Heights and 17 against UA. Javon Watson added 10 points against the Golden Bears, who had clinched the OCC-Central title outright before playing Coffman on Feb. 14.
Wrestling team begins postseason
The wrestling team competed in a Division I sectional tournament Feb. 15 at Pickerington Central.
The top four finishers in each weight class qualified for the district tournament Friday, Feb. 21, and Saturday, Feb. 22, at Hilliard Darby. The top four placers in each weight class at district advance to the state tournament, which will be held Feb. 27-March 1 at Ohio State.
Westland finished the regular season with a 76-6 loss to UA on Feb. 6 in an OCC-Central match.
The Cougars finished 0-7 in the OCC-Central to place last, behind Marysville (7-0), Liberty (6-1), Davidson (5-2), Central Crossing (3-4), Coffman (3-4), Thomas (2-5) and UA (2-5).
Gymnasts getting set for district meet
The gymnastics team is preparing to compete in the Division I district meet Saturday, Feb. 22, at Worthington Kilbourne.
The top three teams at district advance to the team state meet Feb. 28 at Hilliard Bradley and the top eight finishers in each event and the all-around advance to the individual state meet March 1 at Bradley.
Westland scored 110.875 points in the six-team OCC-Central meet Feb. 8 at Hilliard Darby to finish behind champion Worthington Kilbourne (141.975), Liberty (132.55), Davidson (122.95), Delaware (120.25) and Dublin Scioto (115.5).
Avery Mills led the Cougars, as she tied for 10th on vault (8.0), finished 11th on floor exercise (8.325) and finished 14th in all-around (29.625).
Also in all-around, Brenna Nutini finished 15th (29.4), India Alston was 22nd (25) and Kailee Little tied for 26th (24.4).
The Cougars went 0-5 in the OCC-Central dual meets and finished sixth in the overall league standings with four points, behind Kilbourne (24, 5-0), Liberty (20, 4-1), Davidson (16, 3-2), Delaware (12, 2-3) and Scioto (8, 1-4).