When Adam Heath thinks back to the state of the Worthington Christian High School girls basketball program when he took over three years ago, he can't help but be pleased by its growth.
"There were zero girls in the youth program and now there are over 60," Heath said. "I think this team has a chance to be really good for whoever the next coach is. The Central District (in Division IV) is losing a lot of seniors."
Heath told his players earlier this month that he was stepping down as coach and would be taking a job working with orphaned children in Southeast Asia. He led the Warriors to a 49-21 record, including 18-6 this season.
Worthington Christian was the second seed for the district tournament but lost to visiting Morral Ridgedale 37-36 in a third-round game Feb. 21.
The Warriors trailed 20-11 by halftime after making just five of their first 27 shots from the floor.
Worthington Christian finished 4-for-17 from the foul line but caused 26 turnovers. Fifth-seeded Ridgedale was 9-for-20 from the free-throw line, but senior forward Hannah Ratterman hit the second of two with 11.8 seconds to go for the winning point.
First-team all-district post player Audrey Rettstatt, who averaged 15 points and seven rebounds for the Warriors, was held to nine points.
Junior guard Ali Spayde, who was the team's second-leading scorer at about 10 points per game and made third-team all-district, was limited to five points.
In addition to Spayde, the Warriors also expect to return sophomore starting guard Devon Jones.
The five-member senior class included honorable mention all-district guard Abbie Moss.
The Warriors opened district play with wins over Wellington (70-16 on Feb. 16) and Millersport (63-20 on Feb. 19).
"We were just too nervous (against Ridgedale)," Heath said. "I could tell from their body language that they didn't really believe, and you start to feel that it's slipping away. But I thought after the first three minutes, we outplayed them."
Boys basketball team begins postseason
The defending district champion and sixth-seeded boys basketball team played 10th-seeded West Jefferson in the second round of the Division III district tournament Feb. 27.
The winner advanced to play second-seeded Columbus Academy or 21st-seeded Cardington in a district semifinal at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 5, at Delaware.
The district final is 8:30 p.m. March 7 at the Fairgrounds Coliseum.
The Warriors were 14-8 before playing West Jefferson and had a first-round bye.
On Jan. 29, Worthington Christian beat Academy 47-44.
The Warriors didn't play Cardington during the regular season.
Knapper closes season at state
Despite competing in distance events for less than a year, freshman Becca Knapper qualified in two events for the Division II state girls swimming and diving meet held Feb. 21 and 22 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
She was 22nd in the 200-yard freestyle (1 minute, 59.42 seconds) and 13th in the 500 free (5:16.54).
Knapper scored four points as Worthington Christian tied Bryan and West Geauga for 40th behind champion Gates Mills Hawken (321) as 47 teams scored.
"Last summer was when I first started swimming distance," Knapper said. "I definitely need to work on getting more distance off the walls and getting a stronger underwater kick, but overall (coach Jim Peterfish) has done a really good job of training me for distance."
Knapper was runner-up in the 500 free (5:25.24) and fifth in the 200 free (2:01.76) in a sectional Feb. 9 at Columbus Academy as the Warriors were 10th (24) behind champion Granville (339) as 24 teams scored.
She followed by placing second in the 500 free (5:15.32) and fifth in the 200 free (1:57.81) in the district meet Feb. 15 at Ohio State as Worthington Christian finished 13th (31) behind champion Gran-ville (457) as 36 teams scored.
"There was definitely a lot of competition and it was a lot of fun," Knapper said. "It seemed like there was a lot more people (at state) than there was at district. I think it's going to help me a lot now that I know what everything is like."
The boys team tied Liberty Union for sixth (83) at sectional behind champion Granville (279) as 21 teams scored and was 15th (46) at district behind champion Granville (332) as 36 teams scored.
At district, junior Matt Watterson was sixth in the 100 butterfly (53.98), junior Luke Proxmire placed eighth in the 50 free (23.53) and 13th in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.15), and sophomore Kameron Early was 16th in the 50 free (24.27) and 16th in the 100 backstroke (1:04.78). Early, Proxmire, Watterson and freshman Grant Lawrence were 13th in the 200 free relay (1:40.8) and 200 medley relay (1:55.21).
Smith comes up short of state berth
Led by junior Ben Smith, coach Susan Bond said the boys bowling team improved this season.
Smith averaged 188.5 per game and was a district qualifier for the third consecutive season.
On Feb. 22 at HP Lanes, Smith was 18th (581) of 117 competitors but came up short of advancing to the state tournament as the top three individuals not on qualifying teams moved on.
Newark senior Austin Martin won the individual title with a 728 and Jon Massey of Granville was the final individual qualifier with a 657.
"He only missed four spares all day," Bond said of Smith. "He hung in there even though he didn't have the greatest first game."
On Feb. 16 in a sectional at Eastland Lanes, the Warriors missed advancing to district as a team by nine pins as they placed 10th (3,335) and the top nine moved on. Westerville South won the title (3,766).
Smith, who placed fifth (589) at sectional, should be among the top returnees next season along with juniors Trenton Butterworth and Luke Palmateer and freshmen Kaitlyn Hamilton and Josh Krebs.
Senior Jess Meyers was second on the team in average at 171.3 and classmate Aaron Hamilton averaged 162.
The Warriors, who were 0-14 a year ago, beat Hartley 1,748-1,597 on Jan. 28 for their only win this season. They went 0-14 in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-North Division to place 15th behind co-champions Westerville South and Jonathan Alder (12-2).
"We showed huge improvement this year," Bond said.