After losing to visiting Westerville Central 65-59 on Feb. 5, the Westerville South High School boys basketball team earned a much-needed win, according to coach Ed Calo, when it defeated visiting Dublin Jerome 68-55 on Feb. 8.
"We needed to bounce back a little bit," Calo said. "We've been a little bit erratic lately. We knew we were fighting injuries and that's not an excuse, but it just shakes up your lineup."
South's week included senior Marcus Ball setting a program record for points in a game with 43 against Central, which earned its first win in 14 meetings against the Wildcats. The previous high was 36, set by B.J. Cunningham in the 2006-07 season.
Ball, who has signed to play football at Arizona State, has 976 career points. He scored 27 against Jerome.
"He had a good week," Calo said. "He's close to 1,000 points. He's done a lot for us. He's been a part of a lot of wins. He's been a big part of what we've done for the last four years."
The Wildcats are seeded 12th for the Division I district tournament and will play host to 31st-seeded Groveport in the first round Feb. 23. The winner will play 20th-seeded Walnut Ridge or 25th-seeded Pickerington North on Feb. 27.
"There's a lot of teams that could do some damage in the tournament and I think that we're one of them," Calo said. "It's a crapshoot with how we match up with who we play."
The Wildcats should receive a test on their postseason chances when they visit Westerville North on Friday, Feb. 15. The Wildcats lost to the Warriors 69-64 on Jan. 11.
North has clinched the OCC-Cardinal Division title at 12-0 and is seeded second in the tournament.
"That's exciting," Calo said of playing North. "You don't have to say too much to get your kids excited about playing one of your rivals. We look forward to that. That will be fun."
South will play shorthanded, as senior point guard Anthony Dixon (stress fracture in leg) and freshman backup point guard Jelani Rogers (stress fracture in back) will miss the remainder of the season, Calo said.
With both point guards out, Calo expects Ball to move to the position.
Girls team has first-round bye
The girls team has a first-round bye in the Division I district tournament and will play 10th-seeded Pickerington Central or 23rd-seeded Upper Arlington on Wednesday, Feb. 20.
The Wildcats are seeded 29th.
"They're starting to find themselves a little bit, find their roles and make shots," coach Silas Williams said. "They're starting to figure out where their shots are coming from and how they're going to get them. Now it's just about taking their time and finishing them. Defensively, I think we'll put on a pretty good show, now it's just about being consistent. We'll be OK. We should be good during the tournament."
If South wins its tournament opener, it will play Canal Winchester, Hilliard Davidson, Newark or Walnut Ridge in a district semifinal Feb. 28 at Bloom-Carroll.
South avenged a 36-34 loss at home to Westerville Central on Jan. 5 by defeating the Warhawks 43-34 on Feb. 6 at Central.
Guard Jada Smoot scored 16 points and guard Chenelle Moore had 11.
"We made it tough on ourselves, but they're learning how to battle, which is good," Williams said. "The experience is starting to show and now we just have to make shots."
The Wildcats lost at Jerome 51-33 on Feb. 8 as guard Chyna Porter scored seven points.
Williams said Moore injured her left knee late in the second quarter against Jerome and would be re-evaluated this week.