The Worthington Christian High School girls basketball team breezed its way into a second consecutive Division IV district semifinal with a pair of easy wins in the first two rounds of the tournament.

The Worthington Christian High School girls basketball team breezed its way into a second consecutive Division IV district semifinal with a pair of easy wins in the first two rounds of the tournament.

One player who is glad she got to be a part of the victories over Northside Christian (56-14 on Feb. 16) and Marion Catholic (55-23 on Feb. 22) is forward Allie Custer.

Although she'll play college soccer after signing with Indiana Wesleyan University last month, competing in sports such as basketball and track have been long-time enjoyments for the 5-foot-9 senior.

It looked like both of those seasons were in jeopardy after she decided to get a lump on her right arm checked out by a doctor. The lump turned out to be a tumor, which she had surgically removed in early December.

The tumor was benign, but it still kept her out of school for several weeks.

"We found out that it was non-cancerous, but I still had to do some physical therapy for it," Custer said. "It's feeling good. It feels a little tight, but I'm really happy to be back. (The lump had) been there for a long time, but in soccer season (last fall) it started to grow, so I got it checked out. God worked through it, and I still got to finish soccer and got to play at the end of basketball season."

Custer, who is a Westerville resident, was cleared to play in early January and saw her first action during a 50-22 win over Columbus School for Girls on Jan. 31. She scored six points in both tournament wins.

Worthington Christian, which is the seventh seed, was 14-7 before playing fifth-seeded Fisher Catholic in a district semifinal Feb. 29 at Westerville Central.

The winner will play second-seeded Shekinah Christian or third-seeded Morral Ridgedale in a district final at 7 p.m. Friday, March 2, at Westerville Central. The Warriors lost to Shekinah Christian 52-43 on Jan. 5 and lost to Ridgedale 62-35 in a district semifinal last season.

The district champion will play in a regional semifinal at 8 p.m. March 8 at Pickerington North against top-seeded Newark Catholic, sixth-seeded Fairfield Christian, Berne Union or Danville. The regional final is at 7:30 p.m. March 10 at North.

Custer averaged 6.8 points a year ago as the Warriors went 16-6 and made it to a district semifinal.

Worthington Christian's only senior, she has had trouble re-adjusting to the team's system after missing so much court time.

Custer is expecting to be healthy for track season. Last spring, she ran on the 400-meter relay that placed fifth in the Division III state meet and the 1,600 relay that was ninth.

"It's been fun being back out there," she said. "It's been frustrating because I don't understand all of the plays, but the most important part is being there. I was more of a leader before and now I'm just trying to work my way back in, but I definitely wanted to be back with the team."

Against Marion Catholic, the Warriors led 41-12 after three quarters. Ali Spayde had seven points, Custer and Devon Jones both scored six and Abbie Moss scored five.

•The boys bowling team finished 23rd (2,374) of 28 teams in the sectional tournament Feb. 17 at Eastland Lanes, but sophomore Ben Smith rolled a 553 series to finish 12th individually and qualify for the district tournament for the second consecutive season.

Smith finished 67th (476) among 127 competitors at district Feb. 25 at HP Lanes, as the top three individuals not on a qualifying team advanced to the state tournament Friday, March 2, at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.

"It felt pretty good (to advance to district)," Smith said. "I was really on edge at the sectional because I wasn't sure if I was going to make it out. There are a lot of good people around the area."

Last season, Smith finished 96th (451) at district.

•The boys basketball team played West Jefferson in the second round of the Division III district tournament Feb. 29 at Westerville North after having a first-round bye. The Warriors are the sixth seed.

The winner meets fifth-seeded Fredericktown or Grandview in a district semifinal at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 6, at Westerville North. The semifinal winner will face top-seeded Bloom-Carroll, Liberty Union, Galion Northmor or Marion Pleasant in a district final at 6 p.m. March 8 at the Fairgrounds Coliseum.

Bloom-Carroll is 21-0 heading into its second-round game Friday, March 2, against Liberty Union.

The Warriors were 12-8 before playing West Jefferson.

According to coach Kevin Weakley, one of his team's biggest focuses in recent days has been on shot selection, particularly with a disciplined offensive team such as Bloom-Carroll possibly looming.

Grandview was 12-8 and Fredericktown was 13-8 heading into their matchup Feb. 29.

"Our kids need to do a better job of recognizing what a good shot is," Weakley said. "We felt strongly (at the tournament draw Feb. 12) that Bloom-Carroll and (Columbus) Academy would go in opposite brackets of each other but that the majority of the other teams would go into Academy's bracket. So we thought we'd take a chance and go into (the bracket) with Bloom-Carroll. We felt like we got a really good draw. We know that if we win our first two tournament games that we're going to have a really tough game.

"We've become a very good defensive team. The question is, would we be able to score enough?"