A year after finishing 5-18, the Centennial High School boys basketball team completed the regular season 11-10 overall and hopes to make a run in the Division II district tournament.
The Stars fell to Northland 59-54 on Feb. 9 to finish 7-7 in the City-League North Division.
Led by senior Sean Tyson, strong leadership and balanced scoring have sparked a turnaround season.
"Sean can do a little bit of everything and, as our primary ball-handler, is the glue to the team," coach Roosevelt Osborne III said. "We run an offense that isn't geared toward one player. We tell them if they get open, Sean will find them. He moves the ball well and he baits the defense.
He will bait the defender by faking a pass one way and then hitting a back-door cutter or finding someone else that gets open. He reads angles well."
Tyson, a third-year starter at guard, is averaging 13.3 points, 6.2 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 2.8 steals. He has recorded his single-game career highs in points (25), assists (12) and steals (9) this season.
"It's been a pretty good year for us as a team and I think all of us seniors improved our games individually," Tyson said. "I think my IQ is a lot better and that has helped me improve my scoring and assists."
The Stars are trying to overcome the loss of seniors Craig Burt and Myles Spence-Bell, who no longer are on the team, and recently welcomed back injured senior guard Nigel Harris.
"We pulled two guys up from the j.v., Dominic Cesaro and Ahmed Dada, and they're starting to come along," Tyson said. "We're not as experienced as before, so I've tried to pick up my leadership to help them. Plus we have a freshman, Jaylen Gilbert, who has been starting. Before Nigel came back, we were pretty young out there, and (senior Gary Elder) and me were doing everything we could to make them feel comfortable.
"I push them and pick them up in practices and games because we have to keep them confident. They get down a bit on themselves if they miss a shot or make a mistake. I tell them if they get open again, the ball's coming to them again and they have to keep shooting if they're open."
Tyson has made sure to share the ball all season, as Centennial had five players who were scoring in double figures before academic and disciplinary issues changed the makeup of the roster.
Before his departure, Burt led the team in scoring (13.8 points) and also averaged 4.1 assists, 2.6 steals and 5.1 rebounds. Elder is averaging 12.8 points, 2.2 assists, 2.1 steals and 2.2 rebounds.
Gilbert and junior Myles Martinez both are averaging 10.6 points. Gilbert (6.8) and Martinez (5.1) are leading the team in rebounding.
"Myles has been outstanding lately," Osborne said. "His athleticism has become a key factor for us."
The district tournament draw was Feb. 11. The Stars are seeded 12th of 22 teams and play host to 16th-seeded Licking Valley in the first round Feb. 26.
"We'll have a while now to practice hard and get everybody on the same page," Tyson said. "I think we have a good tournament run left, as long as we bring the intensity and effort in every practice and every game. Those are the things we can control."
Jacobsen leads boys swimmers at sectional
Shawn Jacobsen finished second in the 100-yard freestyle (49.63 seconds) and third in the 50 free (22.79) to lead the boys swimming team in a Division II sectional Feb. 10 at Upper Arlington.
Jacobsen will compete in the district meet Friday, Feb. 16, at Ohio University in four events. He joined Daniel Edgington, Kyle Juracich and Nathan Massey on the second-place 200 free relay (1:36) and third-place 200 medley relay (1:51.42) at sectional.
Juracich and Massey also advanced to district in their two individual events, as Juracich was third in the 200 individual medley (2:23.41) and 100 breaststroke (1:10.04), and Massey was fourth in the 200 IM (2:26.85) and 100 backstroke (1:09.31).
Edgington advanced to district in the 50 free after placing fifth (24.47).
Placing at sectional but not advancing were Ethan Massey (third in the 500 free, 6:37.86), Aiden Ly (fourth in the 100 breast, 1:16.53), Jabe Miller (fourth in the 500 free, 7:13.51), Andrew Smith (fifth in the 100 back, 1:09.74), Dominic Richards (fifth in the 200 free, 2:18.71) and Jacob Barnes (fifth in the 500 free, 7:42.18).
The girls team advanced to district in one event from a Division I sectional Feb. 10 at UA. The 200 free relay of Kaylee Beyer, Cada Dixon, Kara DeVol and Yanna Napier finished 11th (1:53.89) and will compete Saturday, Feb. 17, at Ohio University.
The 200 medley relay of Napier, Audrey Haring, Dixon and Beyer was 12th (2:11.92), and the 400 free relay of Haring, Amanda Varian, Nina Zimmerman and DeVol was 16th (4:48.05).
Individually, Napier was 25th in the 100 free (1:01.33) and 100 back (1:09.27), Beyer was 25th in the 50 free (27.45) and Haring was 28th in the 100 breast (1:27.19).
For the Stars, their swimmers advanced to district with at-large berths based on times. There were 27 at-large berths in each event based on times from the sectionals in the Central, East and Southeast districts.
At district, the top two finishers in each swimming event in Division II boys and Division I girls qualify for the state meet Feb. 21-24 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths will be awarded for each event based on times statewide.
There was no diving at sectional. District diving was Feb. 12 and 13 at Dublin Recreation Center. The top four girls in Division I and the top three boys in Division II advanced to state.
Girls basketball team loses four in a row
The girls basketball team finished the regular season on a four-game losing streak after falling to Jonathan Alder 81-29 on Feb. 5 and Independence 51-20 on Feb. 8.
The Stars finished 4-10 in the City-North, behind champion Northland (14-0).
Centennial is 4-17 overall and seeded 47th of 50 teams for the Division I district tournament. The Stars have a first-round bye and will play at second-seeded Dublin Coffman or 46th-seeded Groveport in the second round Feb. 23.
Wrestling team set for league tourney
The wrestling team will tune up for a Division II sectional Feb. 23 and 24 at Licking Valley when it competes in the City tournament Saturday, Feb. 17, at Mifflin.
The Stars will be looking to improve substantially from last season when they totaled 53 points to place ninth behind champion Walnut Ridge (202.5).
Junior Flaviano DiPaolo (138 pounds) and sophomore Kyle Hicks (145) both placed sixth.
Scott announces college decision
Senior DeWayne Scott announced last week that he has committed to play men's soccer at Lake Erie College.