Two Hilliard Bradley High School programs clinched their second league championships on back-to-back days last week.
The wrestling team clinched a share of its first league championship in six years by defeating Delaware 40-28 on Feb. 8 to improve to 5-0 in the OCC-Cardinal Division, and the boys basketball team won its second consecutive OCC-Cardinal title by beating Dublin Scioto 39-20 on Feb. 9.
"Our kids have been there competing year in and year out and it's exciting to see this group come together and win it," said wrestling coach John Riggs, whose team won an OCC-Capital title in 2012. "We have been runner-up quite a few times, so it's good to get this one."
Bradley would clinch the outright OCC-Cardinal title with a victory over Darby on Thursday, Feb. 15, at Hilliard Memorial Middle School. Delaware finished 5-1 in the league and the Panthers are 3-2.
It took the boys basketball team eight years to win its first league championship, but the Jaguars have been a dominant force in the league since breaking through. The win over Scioto, which clinched the outright OCC-Cardinal title, was their 27th consecutive league victory.
"I'm proud to have won it in the way we have," coach Brett Norris said. "The consistency we have shown has been incredible, and it's such a long season with one challenge after another. It has been amazing."
Boys basketball team seeded third in district
The boys basketball team earned the third seed in the 48-team Division I district tournament, behind Pickerington North and Upper Arlington, despite playing much of the season without four-year starting point guard Braden Norris.
Norris, the coach's son, missed 14 games after breaking his right foot Dec. 6 in a 66-47 win over Teays Valley.
"It wasn't easy for us without Braden," said coach Norris, whose team was 17-1 overall and 10-0 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Darby on Feb. 13. "I think we have seen more gimmick defenses with Braden out than I have in my whole career. We have seen a lot of triangle-and-2 and a lot of face-guarding, but we did what we needed to do to win."
Bradley opens the district tournament Feb. 23 with a first-round game at home against 42nd-seeded Marion Harding.
The Jaguars clinched a share of the league title with a 52-37 win over Dublin Jerome on Feb. 6 behind 21 points from Isaiah Speelman and 10 from Chris Mayfield.
"The only thing we care about right now is winning," Speelman said. "We want to go as far as we can. Our goal since our eighth-grade season has been to win it all, and we think we can do that."
Norris returned to the lineup against Scioto, scoring five points. Speelman scored 11 points against the Irish.
Ellison helps seal title for wrestlers
The wrestling team jumped out on host Delaware en route to the victory.
The Jaguars led 22-4 entering the 138-pound match between two 2017 Division I state qualifiers in Zander Ellison and Delaware's Zach Williams. Both went 0-2 at state at 126 last season.
"We knew they were going to bump up Williams (from 132) for a state-on-state matchup," Riggs said. "Zander lost by a point (7-6) to him in last year's dual and that gave Delaware the (33-30) win. This year, he was really looking forward to the opportunity to wrestle this match."
Williams led throughout the match and was riding Ellison in the final 20 seconds of the third period holding a 4-3 advantage. But with five seconds remaining, Ellison had a reversal, putting Williams on his back for a four-point move to secure a 7-4 decision.
"I was scared before the match, but once I started, I knew I was ready to go," Ellison said. "I lost a crazy match to him last year and I was the last match (in a tie dual) so that meant we lost. There has been a lot of hard work put into this and everyone did their part to win this."
Max Cooper (126), J.T. Lemmermen (152) and Kade Wareham (145) all had pins for the Jaguars.
Williams leads girls swimmers to district
Macy Williams of the girls swimming team qualified for the Division I district meet Saturday, Feb. 17, at Ohio University in two individual events.
Competing in a sectional Feb. 10 at Kenyon College, Williams finished fifth in both the 100-yard freestyle (54.32 seconds) and 200 free (1:58.91). The senior is seeded 11th in the 200 free at district and 17th in the 100 free.
Williams also was a member of two district-qualifying relays along with Nebraska White, Maddy Taylor and Madison Wester. They placed seventh in the 200 free relay (1:48.89) that is seeded 18th at district, and comprised the eighth-place 400 free relay (3:59.29) that is seeded 22nd at district.
Taylor also placed 11th in the 100 breaststroke (1:12.66) and is seeded 28th at district.
The Jaguars finished last (46 points) of 10 teams at sectional, behind champion Dublin Coffman (274).
The boys team finished last (16) of 11 teams, behind champion Jerome (270), and had two relays qualify for district.
Emery Alspaugh, Alec Razor, Alex Ward and Ben Wirantana finished 10th in the 400 free relay (3:47.1) and are seeded 27th at district. They also finished 10th in the 200 medley relay (1:51.24) and are seeded 28th.
The winner of each sectional swimming event and 27 at-large qualifiers in each event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectional sites advanced to district.
At district, the top two placers in each swimming event automatically qualify for state Feb. 23 and 24 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths will be awarded for each event based on times statewide.
Gymnasts finish second in OCC meet
Great Planck led the gymnastics team to a runner-up finish in the OCC-Cardinal meet Feb. 10 at Davidson.
The Jaguars, who saw their streak of five consecutive league titles end, scored a 130.45 to finish behind Darby (132.925) and ahead of Jerome (129.825), Worthington Kilbourne (121.875), Delaware (120.975), Thomas Worthington (120.2) and Scioto (79.475).
Bradley also finished second in the overall league standings, totaling 24 points (5-1 record) to finish behind Darby (28, 6-0) and ahead of Jerome (20, 4-2), Thomas (12, 3-3), Kilbourne (12, 2-4), Delaware (12, 1-5) and Scioto (4, 0-6).
In the league meet, Planck placed third in the all-around (33.675) behind Darby's Chloe Shook (35.225) and Jerome's Grace Krouse (34.825). She won vault (8.9) and placed third on both the uneven bars (8.625) and floor exercise (8.925).
"We had a lot more falls than we usually do," Planck said. "We kept on saying it's good to have the falls this week than in two weeks (at the district meet Feb. 24 at Kilbourne)."
Elisa Reed placed seventh in the all-around (32.7) led by a fourth-place finish on floor (8.8), and Lexi Patterson was ninth in the all-around (31.85) led by a fifth-place finish on bars (8.25).
Girls basketball team preps for Panthers
The girls basketball team is seeded 24th in the 50-team Division I district tournament and will play at 22nd-seeded Pickerington North in the first round Saturday, Feb. 17.
The winner plays at 14th-seeded Big Walnut in the second round Feb. 23.
Bradley is 10-12 overall and finished 7-5 in the OCC-Cardinal after defeating Scioto 51-40 on Feb. 9. Teneea Heston had 14 points and Abbey White scored 13.
Athletes announce college decisions
Five student-athletes announced their college decisions Feb. 7.
Daevon Anderson will play football at Grand Valley State, Jacob Castro will play men's soccer at West Virginia, Charlie Kern will play women's soccer at Georgetown, Josh Stewart will play football at West Virginia State and Gabbi Viggiano will play women's soccer at Kent State.
Below are the coming schedules for the Bradley boys basketball and wrestling teams:
*Feb. 16 -- Home vs. Darby
Feb. 17 -- At Zanesville
*Feb. 15 -- Home vs. Darby