Katie Cochran had a game-high 19 points for the Big Walnut High School girls basketball team, but the senior forward's performance wasn't enough against fourth-seeded Reynoldsburg in a Division I district semifinal.

The 14th-seeded Golden Eagles lost 68-42 on Feb. 28 at Westerville North to finish 17-7.

"They got off to a great start," coach Jason Crawford said of the Raiders, who led 23-10 after the first quarter. "Obviously, as an overall team, they're very athletic and quick. They were getting out on transition and shot the ball very well tonight from behind the arc."

Reynoldsburg led 37-22 at halftime and 59-31 after three quarters.

"They were hitting outside and inside, and we just tried to weather the storm a little bit," Crawford said.

Uju Ezeudu had 18 points to lead the Raiders, who improved to 20-5 and faced ninth-seeded Gahanna in a district final March 3 at Ohio Dominican.

Junior guard Erin Boehm and sophomore guard Avery Schone added seven and six points, respectively, for Big Walnut, which opened the district tournament with a 57-37 win over 24th-seeded Hilliard Bradley in a second-round home game Feb. 23.

Boehm had a game-high 16 points against Bradley and sophomore center Abby Facemyer and senior guard Stacey Walters both scored nine.

Dimitroff reached state in gymnastics

Mary Dimitroff of the gymnastics team advanced to the individual state meet for the fourth consecutive season.

The senior placed sixth (9.075) on balance beam in the district meet Feb. 24 at Worthington Kilbourne, where the top three teams advanced to the team state meet held March 2 at Bradley and the top eight finishers in each event and the all-around qualified for the individual state meet held March 3 at Bradley.

Big Walnut finished 20th (114.1) of 24 teams, as Thornville Sheridan (145.425), Olentangy (139.5) and Bradley (135.425) advanced to state.

Dimitroff finished 14th (8.4) on uneven bars, 20th on vault (8.45), tied for 80th (7.925) on floor exercise and 15th (33.85) in the all-around.

Kayla Hildebrand had the Golden Eagles' second-best score on bars (tied for 52nd, 7.55), vault (tied for 99th, 7.65), beam (tied for 102nd, 7.15) and all-around (62nd, 29.925), while Kayla Farley was their second-highest finisher on floor (93rd, 7.625).

Six wrestlers advanced to district

Six members of the wrestling team qualified for the Division I district tournament held March 2 and 3 at Hilliard Darby.

Cole Foster led the Golden Eagles in the 10-team sectional Feb. 24 at Newark, going 3-0 to finish first at 138 pounds. The senior defeated St. Charles' Ian Noonan 3-0 in the final to improve to 37-6 on the season.

Also qualifying for district were seniors Bailey Munday (132, 36-2) and Tanner Daniels (heavyweight, 24-13), junior Josh Halbakken (160, 27-11) and sophomores Christian Jodrey (113, 14-22) and Max Lenz (220, 28-11).

Munday was sectional runner-up, going 2-1 and falling to Olentangy Liberty's Blake Saito 9-3 in the final, and Lenz placed third, finishing 3-1 and beating Liberty's Kaden Tong 5-2 in the third-place match.

Daniels, Halbakken and Jodrey all placed fourth. Halbakken went 2-2 and battled back from an opening loss to reach the third-place match, where he lost to St. Charles' Sean Grim 4-2. Daniels, a first-year wrestler, went 1-2 and was pinned in 3 minutes, 58 seconds by Westerville North's Gaylord Davis in his third-place match, and Jodrey went 1-2 and lost to Liberty's Josh Sutton 13-7 in his third-place match.

The top four finishers in each weight class advanced to district.

Sophomore Ryan Coletta went 2-2 and placed fifth at 152. Also competing at sectional were senior Luke Apple (0-2, 182), junior Levi Piceno (0-2, 120) and sophomore Nate McKelvey (0-2, 145).

The Golden Eagles scored 95 points to finish seventh behind Lancaster (223), North (215), Liberty (214), Mount Vernon (120), Delaware (101) and Newark (101) and ahead of St. Charles (72), Columbus West (46) and Westerville South (42).

At district, the top four finishers in each weight class advanced to the state tournament Thursday, March 8, through Saturday, March 10, at Ohio State.

Boys, girls bowlers qualified for district

The boys and girls bowling teams advanced to the Division I district tournament held March 3 at HP Lanes.

In the sectional Feb. 23 at HP Lanes, the boys finished 14th (3,248) of 38 teams, behind champion Westerville Central (3,836), and the girls were eighth (3,000) of 37 teams, behind first-place Gahanna (3,642). The top 16 teams and top 16 individuals not on a qualifying team advanced to district.

Anna Tanner led the girls team, rolling a 518 three-game series to finish 16th of 208 competitors. She was followed by Autumn Leidtke (tied for 33rd, 469), Kaitlyn Morrison (55th, 427), Caitlyn Lambert (70th, 410) and Ale Hernandez (102nd, 364).

Matt Preistas led the boys team, finishing 46th of 220 competitors with a 491. He was followed by Johnny LeMaster (tied for 69th, 464), Henry LeMaster (tied for 71st, 463), Chris Fetter (85th, 448) and Jacob Bowens (tied for 105th, 425).

At district, the top three teams and top three individuals not on a qualifying team advanced to the state tournament at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl. The boys competition is Friday, March 9, and the girls competition is Saturday, March 10.

Boys basketball team showed improvement

With a runner-up finish in the OCC-Capital Division and more victories than the last two seasons combined, the boys basketball team showed marked improvement and expects a strong junior class to help lead the way next season.

Seeded 38th, Big Walnut lost to seventh-seeded Gahanna 77-55 in the opening round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 24 to finish 10-13 overall. The Golden Eagles had just eight victories the past two seasons combined.

"We feel like we took a couple steps forward this year as a program," coach Brett Bartlett said. "Obviously, with the core guys we have coming back, hopefully we can make even bigger strides next year."

The Golden Eagles are losing only two seniors in Donovan Pugh (6-foot-7, post player) and Tyler Schuster (5-8, guard).

Among the expected returnees are juniors Carson Becker (6-3, forward), Jordan Koebel (6-1, guard), Brody Lawhun (6-0, guard) and Nathan Montgomery (5-10, guard) and sophomore Kegan Hienton (6-3, post player).

Lawhun averaged a team-high 10.2 points, followed by Hienton (9.7), Koebel (9.4) and Montgomery (9.3).

Montgomery was named honorable mention all-district and first-team all-league, Hienton was second-team all-league, Koebel was special mention all-league and Becker was honorable mention all-league.

Others who contributed included juniors Sam Elliott (6-1, guard/forward) and Ian Taylor (6-0, guard) and sophomore Jackson Podraza (6-2, guard).

Big Walnut went 5-5 in the OCC-Capital to tie Canal Winchester and New Albany for second, behind Newark (10-0) and ahead of Groveport (4-6) and Franklin Heights (1-9). A 64-61 loss at Groveport in their league finale Feb. 16 prevented the Golden Eagles from finishing second outright.

"Our best years are still to come," Koebel said.



At a glance


*Record: 10-13 overall, 5-5 (tied for second) in OCC-Capital

*Seniors lost: Donovan Pugh and Tyler Schuster

*Key returnees: Carson Becker, Kegan Hienton, Jordan Koebel, Brody Lawhun and Nathan Montgomery