By the second week of March, Harrison Landis usually has traded in his Canal Winchester High School boys basketball uniform for track and field garb and outdoor practices in generally cool weather.
That transition came later this year, and Landis was thrilled.
The Indians' season came to an end with an 89-78 loss to fourth-seeded Westerville North in a Division I district semifinal March 7 at Olentangy. Landis, a senior guard, was one of five scorers in double figures as the 30th-seeded Indians erased most of an 18-point third-quarter deficit to trail just 77-74 with three minutes left but couldn't get closer.
"Playing until March 7, that's all I wanted to do. That's all the team wanted. I'm usually at track by now," Landis said. "I love that I'm still at basketball."
Junior guard Brady Snyder had 18 points, sophomore forwards Bilal Sow and Zach Miles scored 17 and 11, respectively, and senior guard Darryl Brown added 10 as Canal Winchester posted its third-highest point total of the season. The Indians scored 90 in a 40-point win over Franklin Heights on Dec. 22 and defeated Teays Valley 81-66 on Feb. 10.
"This (style of game) is what we've been trying to do, but it's hard sometimes," Landis said. "This was great."
Ultimately, North guard Jeremiah Keene's 31 points and 27 from Julius Brown were too much for the Indians to overcome, although most Indians coaches and players were positive as they left Olentangy.
Canal Winchester had not played a game that deep into March since the last time it reached a district final, a 44-40 loss to Watterson in a Division II game on March 12, 2010.
"We talk about playing in March and we got to play two games," coach Lyndell Snyder said, referring to a 55-47 win at 29th-seeded Mifflin in a second-round game March 2. "The kids bought in. We were prepared for (North). They're just really, really good all over the floor. They shoot well and guard well.
"I challenged the guys at halftime and we scored 28 points in the third quarter. We were right in the game, down two to three with a few minutes left. It's a tribute to these guys not quitting. We got plays from a lot of guys (March 7) and we needed it."
Brady Snyder averaged a team-best 17.8 points as well as five rebounds, four assists and two steals and was named first-team all-OCC-Capital Division and honorable mention all-district. Sophomore guard Cole Metzler averaged 7.8 points and six rebounds and was second-team all-league, and senior guard Stanton Smith averaged 7.2 points, three assists and two rebounds and was honorable mention all-league.
Landis averaged 7.5 points and three rebounds.
Sow scored in double figures in five of the Indians' final six games, including a career-high 19 points against Teays Valley, and ended the season with a team-best 56-percent field goal percentage.
The Indians finished 5-5 in the league, tying Big Walnut and New Albany for second place behind Newark (10-0) and ahead of Groveport (4-6) and Franklin Heights (1-9).
Canal Winchester took a bye in the first round of the 48-team district tournament before the win over Mifflin, the Indians' first postseason victory since defeating Marion Harding in a first-round game in 2015.
"I am really excited for next year and the guys that we have coming back," coach Snyder said. "The future is bright here, and we have some sophomores ready to come play varsity basketball. The kids are excited. They are proud to wear Canal Winchester basketball sweatshirts. They are proud of our record and everything we are doing."
Wrestlers hope to build on season
Seven of the eight wrestlers who recorded at least 20 wins are eligible to return next year for the wrestling team, which is losing only two seniors and hopes to build on a season in which it had a program-record 10 Division I district qualifiers.
Eight district qualifiers are expected back, led by sophomores Chance Brown (145 pounds) and Michael Gallagher (138), both of whom finished a team-best 30-15. Rounding out that group are juniors Brack Byorth (220, 21-22) and Cameron Cross (160, 13-19), sophomores Camden Butterbaugh (113, 23-22), Jared Mattox (152, 18-17) and Patrick Zamble (170, 25-23) and freshman Cian Rose (106, 23-18).
No Indians placed in the top six at the district tournament held March 2 and 3 at Perrysburg. Canal Winchester scored nine points to tie Thomas Worthington for 25th behind champion Lakewood St. Edward (284.5) as 36 teams scored.
The top four finishers in each weight class advanced to the state tournament March 8-10 at Ohio State.
"A lot of guys were able to get experience wrestling at the district tournament," coach Harrison Rosch said. "I was very happy with the overall improvement that we made throughout the season. Many of our younger wrestlers improved as the season progressed. I'm very happy with how our guys bought in to what we were teaching them."
Brown had 24 wins by pin, bringing his total through two seasons to 59.
Canal Winchester went 2-3 in the OCC-Capital to tie Big Walnut for fourth place behind co-champions Groveport and Newark (both 4-1) and New Albany (3-2) and ahead of Franklin Heights (0-5).
The Indians finished third (133) in a nine-team sectional tournament Feb. 24 at Whitehall behind champion Ashland (304). Byorth's runner-up finish at 220 led the team as the top four finishers in each weight class advanced to district.
"This offseason I would like to see more guys active in freestyle and Greco-Roman styles of wrestling as well as commit to getting stronger in the weight room," Rosch said. "We have a good number of guys motivated to train in the offseason and continue their development."
@ThisWeekDaveAt a glance
*Record: 13-11 overall, 5-5 (tied for second) in OCC-Capital
*Seniors lost: Darryl Brown, Harrison Landis, Sam Purdon, Stanton Smith and Trevor Thompson
*Key returnees: Cole Metzler, Brady Snyder and Bilal Sow
*Finishes: Tied for fourth in OCC-Capital, third at sectional, tied for 25th at district
*Seniors lost: Charles Gerth, Angelo Hubbard and Matt Kamer
*Key returnees: Chance Brown, Brack Byorth, Michael Gallagher, Jared Mattox, Cian Rose and Patrick Zamble