The Thomas Worthington High School boys basketball team accomplished two major goals when it defeated host Worthington Kilbourne 62-32 in an OCC-Central Division game on Feb. 18.

The Thomas Worthington High School boys basketball team accomplished two major goals when it defeated host Worthington Kilbourne 62-32 in an OCC-Central Division game on Feb. 18.

In addition to earning community bragging rights by sweeping the two-game season series against Kilbourne to take a 7-2 lead in the all-time series, the Cardinals extended their winning streak to six games heading into the postseason.

Thomas played Briggs in the first round of the Division I district tournament on Feb. 22.

"We always have great crowds when we play Kilbourne, and it's a fun environment to play in," Cardinals junior center Jordan Cowgill said. "This game meant a lot to us because of the rivalry and also because we wanted to keep our momentum going heading into the tournament. A loss here could have killed our momentum, but we played well and kept our winning streak alive, and that was really important to us."

Cowgill scored 14 of his game-high 18 points in the first half to help Thomas jump out to a 31-15 halftime lead. Will Hill scored 15 points and David Herbst and Spencer Delacy each scored eight to help pace the Cardinals.

Connor Dahn scored 10 points and Blake Collins added eight to lead Kilbourne.

"Give Thomas Worthington a lot of credit because they played well and did everything they set out to do," Kilbourne coach Tom Souder said. "We talked all week about stopping Jordan Cowgill, and he had 12 points in the first quarter. We didn't do anything to stop them on the glass. They had six offensive rebounds in the first quarter, and that's an effort situation.

"Offensively, we weren't sharp. Once we fell behind, we started rushing our shots to try to get back in it, and it didn't work."

The Cardinals extended their lead to 45-24 by the end of the third quarter, and their advantage never dipped below 20 points in the fourth quarter.

"I'm pleased that we didn't let up defensively once we got the lead," Thomas coach Bob Miller said. "We scrambled a lot defensively, meaning we had someone cover for their teammate when their teammate got beat on a play. We also handled it well when they switched from man-to-man defense to a trap and some different zones in the second half."

The winner of the Thomas-Briggs game plays third-seeded Upper Arlington in the second round on Friday, Feb. 25, at Hilliard Bradley.

UA lost to Dublin Coffman 55-49 in overtime on Feb. 18 to drop to 19-1 overall but still shared the OCC-Central title with Coffman with a 13-1 league mark. Thomas finished third in the league at 9-5, followed by Hilliard Davidson (7-7), Hilliard Darby (5-9), Kilbourne (5-9), Central Crossing (2-12) and Westland (2-12).

UA swept the Cardinals in league play this season, winning 65-39 at home on Dec. 7 and 45-43 at Thomas on Jan. 21.

The Golden Bears are led by 5-foot-11 senior guard Brian Sullivan, a Miami University recruit who is averaging 20 points. He had 31 points in the first game against Thomas and scored 25 in the second game, including the winning shot with less than three seconds left. Cowgill and Julian Henderson each scored 13 points in the second game to pace Thomas.

"Upper Arlington is an outstanding team, but we showed that we can be extremely competitive with them if we defend well like we did in the second game," Miller said. "That's the key, because we win games with defense."

Considering that UA's tallest regular varsity players are senior post players Wes Richter (6-foot-5), A.J. Norman (6-4) and Chris Watson (6-4), Hill said the Cardinals will try to pass the ball inside to Cowgill (6-10) and Herbst (6-8).

"We're going to throw it down low to our two bigs to take advantage of our size," Hill said.

The Wolves, meanwhile, are looking to bounce back with a strong tournament run after ending their regular season with three consecutive losses.

Kilbourne opened the postseason against Newark on Feb. 23. The winner plays eighth-seeded New Albany on Saturday, Feb. 26, at Heath. New Albany defeated Mount Vernon 46-38 on Feb. 18 to improve to 16-4, as senior guard Travon Bodrick scored 11 points and senior forward Nick Sosh scored 10.

"There's no doubt that we can win in the tournament if we come out and play well," Souder said. "We've got to make sure we take quality shots, and we've got to continue to play good defense, like we have most of the year."

AT A GLANCE

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Kilbourne and Thomas boys basketball teams:

KILBOURNE

*Feb. 18 - Lost to Thomas 62-32

Feb. 23 - Played Newark in first round of Division I district tournament. Winner plays eighth-seeded New Albany in second round, 6 p.m. Feb. 26 at Heath. Winner plays in district semifinal, 11:45 a.m. March 5 at Fairgrounds Coliseum.

Of note: The Wolves were 8-12 overall before Feb. 23 and finished 5-9 (tied for fifth) in the OCC-Central.

THOMAS

Feb. 15 - Defeated Jonathan Alder 61-42. Jordan Cowgill scored 18 points and Will Hill scored 15.

*Feb. 18 - Def. Kilbourne 62-32

Feb. 22 - Played Briggs in first round of Division I district tournament. Winner plays third-seeded Upper Arlington in second round, 6 p.m. Feb. 25 at Hilliard Bradley. Winner plays in district semifinal, 2:30 p.m. March 5 at Fairgrounds Coliseum.

Of note: The Cardinals were 14-6 overall before Feb. 22 and finished 9-5 (third) in the OCC-Central.

*OCC-Central game