Finishing the regular season at 10-10 was one hurdle cleared for the Westerville North High School boys basketball team.

Finishing the regular season at 10-10 was one hurdle cleared for the Westerville North High School boys basketball team.

The Warriors won their last three to reach the .500 mark entering the Division I district tournament, which they opened last Tuesday in the first round against OCC-Cardinal Division-rival Olentangy.

"I think it was important to the guys to finish the season the way they did," said coach Kevin Thuman, whose team had a six-game losing streak before winning the final three. "We had set a goal to have a winning season, but hopefully we'll be able to go far enough into the tournament so we can finish with a winning record."

The first-round winner will advance to play at 6:15 p.m. Friday at Olentangy Orange against eighth-seeded Westerville South, which is also in the OCC-Cardinal.

South beat the Warriors 46-42 on Jan. 6 and 53-39 on Feb. 6. North swept Olentangy 52-42 on Jan. 16 and 54-51 last Friday. In the regular-season finale, Ralph Hill scored 17 points and Kenny DeBoer added 15.

On Feb. 17, the Warriors won 58-50 on the road against Hilliard Davidson as Hill scored 21 points and DeBoer added 12.

"We Kenny had been sick for a while and he's finally healthy and playing with a lot of confidence," said Thuman, whose team finished fourth in the OCC-Cardinal at 7-7 behind Dublin Scioto at 14-0, South at 12-2 and Central at 9-5 and ahead of Olentangy Liberty at 6-8, Olentangy at 5-9, Dublin Jerome at 3-11 and Marysville at 0-14. "He's been getting to the basket and getting to the foul line. For us to be successful, we need both Ralph and Kenny to be productive every night for us."

The winner Friday will move into a district semifinal at 7 p.m. March 7 in the Fairgrounds Coliseum against Dresden Tri-Valley, Teays Valley, Westland or ninth-seeded Gahanna.

"We had a tough three weeks and to close with three wins was good," said Thuman, whose team had records of 3-18 for the past two seasons. "Hopefully that will give us some momentum heading into the tournament."

•After the girls team lost to Hilliard Darby 45-22 on Feb. 19 in the opening round of the Division I district tournament, coach Jim Kloepfer stood outside the locker room with a sheepish grin on his face.

His team had played well defensively, but its poor shooting had equated to an early conclusion to the season. Despite a 7-14 finish, the sixth-year coach wasn't ready collect uniforms.

"This might sound funny, but despite our record, I had more fun with this team than any other team I've coached," said Kloepfer, whose team was 9-for-47 shooting against Darby for 19.1 percent. "They came and worked hard at practice, got along with each other and there wasn't a lot of drama. It was simply a joy to work with this team."

The Warriors won three of their last four games in the regular season. They beat Westerville Central 41-38 on Feb. 4 and lost to South 67-45 on Feb. 5 before beating Columbus East 43-38 on Feb. 7 and Marysville 57-34 on Feb. 13.

North finished 5-9 in the league to tie Olentangy for fifth behind Scioto at 14-0, South at 11-3, Jerome at 9-5 and Liberty at 8-6 and ahead of Marysville at 3-11 and Central at 1-13.

The Warriors have three seniors in 5-3 guard Nycole Henderson, 6-0 post player Megan Lutz and 5-9 forward Ashley Pryor. Lutz led the team in scoring (11.0 points per game) and rebounding (8.0). Henderson added 5.0 points and 1.8 steals per game and Pryor had 4.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per contest.

"They're just great kids, A.P., Megan and Nycole," said Kloepfer, whose team was 2-19 last season. "They're great students, great kids and will be very successful young ladies."

Expected to return are sophomore starters Bri Clegg, Danielle Johnson and Monique Jones. Jones, a 5-2 point guard averaged 10.8 points, 3.5 assists and 2.0 steals per game. Clegg, a 5-7 forward, added 3.4 points per game and Johnson, a 5-9 forward averaged 2.8 points per contest.

Juniors expected to return are 6-2 post player Taylor Evans and 5-3 guard Corrine Smith (3.0 points per game). Sophomores expected back are 5-7 guard Noelle Fuller and 5-7 guard Brittany Williams.

"We should have a really good group of girls coming back," said Kloepfer, who was assisted by Eddie Guice, Britni Lakas, John Murphy and Katie Wirthlin. "I'm really about what they can do if they put in the work in the offseason."

At a glance


•Record: 7-14 overall, 5-9 (tied for fifth) in OCC-Cardinal

•Senior lost: Nycole Henderson, Megan Lutz and Ashley Pryor

•Top returnees: Bri Clegg, Taylor Evans, Danielle Johnson, Monique Jones and Corrine Smith