The Westerville North High School boys basketball team easily disposed of Watkins Memorial 68-39 on Feb. 24 in the opening round of the Division I district tournament at Jonathan Alder.

The Westerville North High School boys basketball team easily disposed of Watkins Memorial 68-39 on Feb. 24 in the opening round of the Division I district tournament at Jonathan Alder.

The Warriors, who improved to 17-4, are hoping for a similar outcome in the second round at 6 p.m. Friday, March 2, at Jonathan Alder against another OCC-Capital Division opponent, Franklin Heights.

The Falcons had a first-round bye and entered the postseason at 5-15.

"I don't know much about Franklin Heights, but coach (Todd) Phillips is building over there," said coach Kevin Thuman, whose team is seeded fifth. "They are a lot like Watkins (Memorial) because they're in the rebuilding mode and getting better every game."

Franklin Heights did not play North this season but swept Watkins Memorial 59-56 on Jan. 6 and 52-47 on Feb. 10 in OCC-Capital play.

"They have a good perimeter player (senior Dayyon Hout) who hit seven 3s in one game," Thuman said of Hout's 23-point performance in an 82-69 loss to Grove City on Jan. 7. "They have played teams tough late in the season."

The winner will play in a district semifinal at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 7, against sixth-seeded Newark or Olentangy at Jonathan Alder. The Wildcats improved to 17-4 after defeating Marysville 72-42 on Feb. 25 at Jonathan Alder.

The district final is March 10 in the Fairgrounds Coliseum.

"We played Newark in the foundation game this preseason," Thuman said. "They have good veteran players and plays some really good defense."

The Wildcats led Marysville 25-15 at halftime before a 27-point third quarter blew the game open. Point guard Jalen Dartis, a 6-foot-3 junior, paced Newark with 23 points, including three 3-pointers, six rebounds and three assists. Daniel Logan scored 15 points, Ben Barnhart added 10 and Christian Keller had nine.

The Braves are 11-10 after beating Delaware 53-40 on Feb. 25 at Jonathan Alder. Jordan Gingery led the way with 12 points, all coming on four 3-pointers. Erik Brandt and Seth Clark both added nine points.

North beat Olentangy twice in OCC-Cardinal play, winning 71-61 on Jan. 13 and 68-61 on Feb. 17.

Matt Rhodes led North with 19 points including five 3-pointers, in the first meeting. Taivion Thomas added 17 points and Jaylen Benton scored 15. Gingery led Olentangy with 17 points and four 3-pointers, Clark added 15 points with three 3-pointers. Stephen Walczak had 14.

In the second meeting, Rhodes had 22 points with six 3-pointers, Benton added 12 points and Thomas scored 11 points. Walczak scored 23 points to lead the Braves and Clark added 10.

Against Watkins Memorial, North trailed 4-2 but went on a 14-1 run, holding Watkins Memorial without a basket for 4 minutes, 52 seconds to lead 21-10 after one period. North led 37-19 at the half before putting the game away with a 21-2 third quarter to push the score to 58-21.

"Our defense was the key. We played a good rotating defense and limited their shots," said Benton, who scored 18 points and had four steals. "Starting fast was important. We wanted to show people that we were ready to play."

Thomas, a 6-5 post player, led North with 20 points, going 8-for-12 from the floor and 2-for-4 from 3-point range. Alex Stewart, a 6-5 sophomore post player, added 12 points, 11 rebounds and two steals.

"Alex Stewart is learning and developing his game around the basket. He really has a passion for the game," Thuman said. "Zach Glenn and Brett Durden and Darren Nettles were really key in widening the lead. Zach Glenn probably played his best game of the year."

Glenn scored two points but had three steals and two assists. Adrian Cook added five points with three steals and two assists.