Columbus Academy boys basketball coach Jeff Warstler said his team wasn't fazed by four losses late in the regular season as it prepared for the Division III district tournament.
The Vikings responded from those losses by earning a pair of convincing wins in the postseason and the chance to play third-seeded Ready in a district semifinal March 6.
Academy entered the game 20-4 and Ready was 19-4.
"We just stick to the day-at-a-time mentality," Warstler said of the early postseason success. "Stay disciplined, pound your fundamentals, get a little better every day (and) just prepare for your next challenge."
After defeating 16th-seeded North Union 59-40 in the first round Feb. 26, the sixth-seeded Vikings defeated 12th-seeded Northridge 58-33 in the second round March 3. Both games were at home.
Academy outscored Northridge 22-6 in the second quarter for a 33-15 lead at halftime.
Hayden Compton scored 12 points and Addis Boyd added 10. Nine players scored for the Vikings.
"Any win in the tournament is a nice win," Warstler said. "We played 11 guys and we had a lot of guys play a lot of minutes."
The Academy-Ready winner plays top-seeded Harvest Prep or eighth-seeded Marion Pleasant in a district final Friday, March 9, at Ohio Dominican. Harvest Prep previously competed in Division IV.
The district champion plays Piketon or Wheelersburg in a regional semifinal Wednesday, March 14, at Ohio University, and the regional final is March 17 at Ohio University.
Pearson to wrestle at state
Senior wrestler Josh Pearson earned a berth in the Division III state tournament by finishing second at district March 2 and 3 at Heath.
Pearson reached the final at 220 pounds before being pinned by Nelsonville-York's Donovan McCollister in 39 seconds.
Pearson defeated Steubenville Catholic Central's Kevin Cuervo 10-6 in overtime in the first round. Cuervo was a sectional champion at Magnolia Sandy Valley while Pearson finished fourth in the Madison Plains sectional.
Pearson then defeated Sarahsville Shenandoah's Dalton Rice 5-2 and North Union's Dylan Thompson 7-2 before losing to McCollister.
"(Pearson) had a good tournament," coach Paul Bukky said. "He had three pretty tough matches. The kid from Nelsonville-York was a big kid."
Pearson is 38-7 on the season and will face Bethel-Tate's Bradley Lewis (45-8) in the first round at state, which begins Thursday, March 8, and concludes Saturday, March 10, at Ohio State.
"The kids look at this and they see it's possible that we can make it to the state (tournament) if you work hard," Bukky said. "Josh has great athletic ability and that helps him."
As a sophomore, Pearson went 0-2 at state at 182. Last season, he saw his season end at district, where he went 2-2 at 182 to finish 35-7.
Also at district, Chris Sugar (126) and Angus Soderberg (170) went 1-2 and Bobby Diller (132) went 0-2.
Eric Menq qualified at 195 but did not compete because of another school commitment.
Academy finished 28th (21 points) behind champion Nelsonville-York (175) as 48 teams scored.
Girls basketball player earns honors
Girls basketball player Shelemiah Crockett recently was named honorable mention all-district and honorable mention all-MSL-Ohio Division.
The junior guard helped lead the Vikings to the second round of the Division III district tournament, where they lost to Johnstown 23-11 to finish 11-13.
Crockett helped Academy earn its first postseason win since the 2008-09 season, scoring 11 points in a 45-30 victory at Mount Gilead on Feb. 22.