Westerville Central High School boys basketball coach Todd Minney believes this year's team entered the postseason with the highest expectations in the program's seven-year history.

Westerville Central High School boys basketball coach Todd Minney believes this year's team entered the postseason with the highest expectations in the program's seven-year history.

The Warhawks opened the Division I district tournament last Tuesday against Walnut Ridge looking to advance to a matchup with Hilliard Davidson on Saturday at Worthington Christian Middle School.

Ninth-seeded Central entered the tournament at 15-4 overall and finished 11-3 in the OCC-Cardinal Division.

The Warhawks were two wins away from a program-best 17 victories in a season. Central finished 16-6 last season.

The Warhawks earned their first postseason win last season, a 71-63 victory against Pickerington Central, but lost to Mount Vernon 39-36 in the second round.

The Warhawks entered this season's tournament on a roll. They had won their previous six games before last Tuesday. Central's last setback was a 72-67 overtime loss Jan. 22 at OCC-Cardinal champion Westerville South.

"I truly believe this team can make a big tournament run," Minney said. "We have to eliminate our turnovers. We have to do a better job executing in our offensive sets. We have to believe that each one of us has a big ownership."

Max VanMeter entered the tournament as the team's leader in scoring average at 15.6 points and top rebounder at 7.8.

Nick Vannett was second on the team in scoring (10.0 ppg), followed by Jourdan Devoll (9.5).

Davidson had lost four consecutive games to drop to 11-8 overall heading into its regular-season finale last Monday at Westerville North.

Senior wing Eric Anderson, sophomore point guards Davonte Peterson and Brandon Gleim and senior guard Jimmy Caudill lead Davidson.

"Davidson shoots the ball decent from the perimeter and they're outstanding defensively," Minney said.

The Walnut Ridge-Central and Davidson winner plays Olentangy Liberty, Olentangy Orange, Thomas Worthington or Pickerington North in a district semifinal March 6 in the Fairgrounds Coliseum.

The Warhawks defeated Dublin Jerome 74-60 last Friday. Trey Devereaux scored a career-high 20 points followed by VanMeter with 14, and Quentin Henderson and Ryan Bohan with 10 apiece.

"This is the most talented group from top to bottom that I've ever had," Minney said. "I think it's the closest group, too."

•The girls team's season ended following a 47-23 loss Feb. 18 to Newark in a Division I tournament opener at Dublin Jerome.

Freshman Megan Mills made three 3-pointers and finished with a team-high nine points for Central.

"Newark has good players (and) they're physical," coach Doug Etgen said. "As usual, our struggles this year was offensively. We shot three of 20 in the first half and 15 of those looks were open shots."

The Warhawks finished 6-15 overall and 3-11 in the OCC-Cardinal. Central lost eight in a row games to end the season.

"We didn't want the season to end like this," junior Rachel Dolby said.

"It's sad because we've been together since the end of October everyday, so it's kind of weird that it's finally over. We knew we were going up against some pretty good teams, but we definitely didn't want it to go out like this."

Junior Aly Jurcenko led the team in scoring average at 8.9 and made second-team all-OCC-Cardinal.

Junior Abby King was honorable mention all-OCC-Cardinal.

Seniors were Molly Baatz, Jasmyn Church and Natasha Hetterscheidt.

Etgen expects a strong returning nucleus next season, led by Jurcenko, King, Mills, Dolby and junior Tabby Walker.

Juniors Tiana Overton and Briana Pond should also contribute.

Central finished seventh in the OCC-Cardinal behind Olentangy (11-3), Dublin Scioto (11-3), Westerville South (10-4), Westerville North (9-5), Marysville (6-8) and Jerome (4-10), and ahead of Liberty (2-12).

Etgen called a 48-45 overtime win Dec. 9 at South a highlight of the season.

The Warhawks stood at 2-2 following that win, but dropped four of their next five games to slip to 3-6.

Central's other OCC-Cardinal wins came against Jerome 34-28 on Dec. 4 and Liberty 41-39 on Jan. 8.

"I'm disappointed," Etgen said. "I'm not disappointed necessarily in the girls, I'm disappointed in our progress this year. We won four last year, we won six this year and we thought we could get eight or nine and maybe even 10. It's always disappointing when you lose and finish with eight straight losses."

At a glance

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

*Last Friday -- Defeated Dublin Jerome 74-60

Last Tuesday -- Played Walnut Ridge in a Division I district tournament game

Saturday -- Central-Walnut Ridge winner will play Hilliard Davidson at Worthington Christian Middle School. Davidson had a first-round bye

Of note: The Warhawks were 15-4 overall and 11-3 in the OCC-Cardinal before last Tuesday.

GIRLS

•Record: 6-15 overall, 3-11 in OCC-Cardinal (seventh)

•Seniors lost: Molly Baatz, Jasmyn Church and Natasha Hetterscheidt

•Key returnees: Rachel Dolby, Aly Jurcenko and Abby King