With his team trailing 9-0 and with starting forward Darryl Long in early foul trouble, Westerville South High School boys basketball coach Ed Calo looked to his bench in the first round of the Division I district tournament against Teays Valley on Feb. 24 at Jonathan Alder.

With his team trailing 9-0 and with starting forward Darryl Long in early foul trouble, Westerville South High School boys basketball coach Ed Calo looked to his bench in the first round of the Division I district tournament against Teays Valley on Feb. 24 at Jonathan Alder.

Led by junior forward Trent Slade, the bench responded as the eighth-seeded Wildcats pulled away in the second half for a 62-38 win.

Slade scored a career-high 16 points and added 10 rebounds.

"You have to be deep to make a deep run," Calo said of the postseason. "You have some people make a play to make a deep run because other people are going to have to step up. I thought the bench stepped up."

"We were a little nervous at first. We didn't know how the game was going to come out," Slade said. "We came into the game thinking we were just going to win, and it was going to be easy. We took them lightly and obviously they weren't having it. Coach gave us a good talk, and we had to step it up."

South played Westerville Central in the second round Feb. 29 at Jonathan Alder. The winner will play fourth-seeded Pickerington Central or Groveport in a district semifinal Wednesday, March 7, at Jonathan Alder.

Pickerington Central was 19-2 before playing Groveport and finished first in the OCC-Ohio at 13-1. Groveport, which had a first-round bye, was 1-19 overall and finished eighth in the OCC-Ohio at 0-14. The Cruisers' lone win came over Whetstone 40-38 on Dec. 22. The Wildcats didn't play either team during the regular season.

The district final is March 10 in the Fairgrounds Coliseum.

Teays Valley, which finished 5-16, surprised South early as Tyler Primmer scored twice inside and hit a 3-pointer.

Slade replaced Long, who had two fouls, with 5 minutes, 48 seconds left in the first quarter and led the rally. Slade dunked Isiah Rogers' lob pass and then finished a fast break as South closed to 12-9 after one quarter.

Senior forward Ellis Byers also came off the bench and hit a baseline jumper to tie the game at 21.

"Ellis came off the bench and gave us a spark with the little things," Calo said. "He was solid offensively, solid defensively. I thought he did a great job for us."

Slade's reverse layup at the halftime buzzer gave South the lead for good at 23-21.

The second half was all South.

Stephen O'Daniel hit three 3-pointers in the third quarter and Slade continued to dominate inside, as the Wildcats led 45-26 after three.

O'Daniel finished with 13 points, and Marcus Ball added 11 points and 10 rebounds. Rogers had nine points and nine assists.

Primmer scored 14 points for the Vikings.

"That was brutal to watch, but give them some credit because they came out ready," Calo said. "It's not like we played soft because we were playing hard. We were just not playing smart. That's the problem because we were making mistake after mistake. Kids that know better were making those mistakes. To our kids' credit, it doesn't matter what your record is, it matters who plays the hardest, who plays the best. Our kids put themselves back in position."