Coach Todd Minney and his Westerville Central High School boys basketball team look forward to the Division I district tournament, and doing well just enhances the experience.

Coach Todd Minney and his Westerville Central High School boys basketball team look forward to the Division I district tournament, and doing well just enhances the experience.

The Warhawks made a successful first step in the postseason, defeating Logan 60-49 in the opening round Feb. 24 at Jonathan Alder.

"I love this time of year," said Minney, whose team improved to 11-10.

"There isn't anything better. It's like March Madness for us. The goal is to continue to drive on, begin the journey, and the kids are focused on what that journey is."

The 24th-seeded Warhawks played Westerville South in the second round Feb. 29 at Jonathan Alder.

The winner will play fourth-seeded Pickerington Central or 40th-seeded Groveport in a district semifinal, 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 7, at Jonathan Alder.

Pickerington Central was 19-2 before playing Groveport and finished first in the OCC-Ohio Division at 13-1.

Groveport, which had a first-round bye, was 1-19 and finished eighth in the OCC-Ohio at 0-14. The Cruisers' lone win came over Whetstone 40-38 on Dec. 22.

The district final is March 10 in the Fairgrounds Coliseum.

Against Logan, Central received several solid efforts, led by junior Joleon Merchant, who scored a career-high 21 points.

Merchant missed the final two games of the regular season because of disciplinary issues.

"Joleon has an advantage versus a team that is that much smaller than us," Minney said. "He can jump out of the gym. A lot of them were rebound put-backs."

Central played without 6-foot-5 junior post player Jack Birkhofer, who sustained a concussion during a practice two weeks ago. Minney was hoping he would be able to play against South.

Christian Graves added 17 points, including four 3-pointers, and Eric James had 11 points.

"It's tournament time and everybody comes to play their A game, and you have to compete," Central senior guard Tre Stennett said. "Logan is a tough team and they hit their jump shots early and we didn't score. We took a lot of (3-pointers) and weren't getting the ball inside. It changed in the second half."

The Warhawks went scoreless for the first five minutes of the game but began to take control in the second quarter. Graves' 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer gave Central a 29-17 lead.

"The second quarter I thought we turned it up and we got a lot more aggressive with what we wanted to do," Minney said. "We knew what we were supposed to do."

Anthony McNeal hit two 3-pointers early in the third quarter to bring the Chieftains within 30-25 on, but that was as close as they got.

Merchant's corner jumper at the buzzer gave Central a 41-29 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The Warhawks opened a 59-44 lead on James' steal and dunk with 2 minutes, 45 seconds remaining in the game.

Luke Miller scored 15 points to lead 34th-seeded Logan, which finished 7-14.

Central outrebounded Logan 40-21 with 21 coming on the offensive end.

"I like the way that we were on the glass at the offensive side of the boards," Minney said. "We attacked the offensive glass well this game. Defensively we were pretty solid. We didn't get as much transition as we would have liked to get out of our rebounding."