The Watkins Memorial High School wrestling team had six representatives in the Division I district tournament March 6 and 7 at Hilliard Darby, including two sectional champions.

The Watkins Memorial High School wrestling team had six representatives in the Division I district tournament March 6 and 7 at Hilliard Darby, including two sectional champions.

Senior Andrew Lieb (132 pounds) and sophomore Alex Lieb (113) won their respective weight classes in the Warriors' home sectional Feb. 28.

Also advancing to district by placing in the top four were juniors Matt Kennedy (second, 160) and Dean Marek (second, 126), sophomore Max Boyd (third, 170) and freshman Alec Fulwider (third, 106).

The top four finishers in each weight class at district advanced to the state tournament, which runs Thursday, March 12, through Saturday, March 14, at Ohio State.

"We had six guys make it through, which is two more than last year so we're happy with that," coach Mark Kurth said. "But it could've been so much better. We had six guys in consolation semifinals and we went 2-4, so we had four others close to making it."

The Warriors placed fourth (156.5 points) in the 11-team sectional behind champion Delaware (237.5).

Alex Lieb defeated Hilliard Bradley's C.J. Campbell 5-4 in his final. Campbell was a district champion in 2014.

"When I wrestled him last year, he beat me by a point," Lieb said, referring to a regular-season match against Campbell. "This time I got an early takedown and that was huge. It not only gave me great confidence, but it set the tone for the whole match. I had to ride him out the final 35 seconds, and they called blood time for him with three seconds left and then added two more on the clock. It seemed like a long five seconds to finish it."

Andrew Lieb defeated Teays Valley's Andrew Ormistion 3-2 in his final, but wasn't thrilled with the way the match unfolded.

"I didn't wrestle my best because I let him tie me up too much," he said. "I reversed him, but he took me down in a scramble. It was 2-2 with 40 seconds left when he (allowed me to escape). I think he was worried I'd get another (reversal), so he gave me the point thinking he'd have more time to take me down."

Kennedy lost to Gahanna's Luke Hess 7-1 in his final after pinning top-seeded Adam Baker of Logan in a semifinal to clinch his district berth.

"I wasn't nervous (against Baker)," Kennedy said. "I just went out there like it was a regular match and tried to do my best. He got in a bad position and I capitalized."

Marek lost 12-1 to Teays Valley's Kyle Dooley in his final.

Dante Fair (145) and Robert Speaks (152) were district alternates after placing fifth. Finishing sixth were Marvin Bennett (182) and Jack May (220).

Hope abounds forgirls basketball team

Despite a disappointing performance in the first round of the Division I district tournament, the girls basketball team is excited about the progress it made this season and the prospects for next season.

Seeded 30th of 47 teams, Watkins Memorial lost to 16th-seeded Zanesville 47-19 on Feb. 24 to finish 13-10 overall.

According to coach Jayme Gates, the lopsided loss doesn't cast a shadow over the Warriors' first winning season since 2004 and their highest win total since 2002.

"I am more than excited about the future of this program," Gates said. "We have worked very hard over the last three years to create a strong foundation and positive buzz. ... We won more (games) than we have won in one season in over a decade. The girls are learning how to win and now have an expectation to be winners every time they step on the floor. The mindset has changed."

The Warriors lose three seniors in guards Anna Shroyer and Brandi Reed and forward Nicole Dehart.

"All three seniors did an amazing job of leading," Gates said. "They understood their role on the team and stepped up to it. They did a fantastic job of motivating the players and reminding them of where the program has been and where they want to see it go. They were unselfish and positive role models."

Watkins Memorial finished 11-7 in the LCL to tie Licking Valley for fourth, behind Newark Catholic (17-1), Johnstown (16-2) and Lakewood (12-6) and ahead of Utica (10-8), Licking Heights (5-13), Heath and Granville (both 4-14) and Northridge (0-18).

The Warriors expect to return four regular starters in juniors Lexi Denison (guard), Liz Fafiade (forward), Emma Hock (forward) and Hannah Smith (guard). Three part-time starters -- sophomores Madison Gullett (guard), Rylan Perry (guard) and Hunter Rennie (guard) -- also are expected back.

Hock averaged 9.8 points and 7.0 rebounds and shot 50 percent from the field, and Denison shot 31.6 percent from 3-point range. Smith averaged 2.9 steals and 2.6 assists and Perry averaged 2.2 assists.

Hock was named second-team all-LCL and special mention all-district and Denison was honorable mention all-league.

"We need to play faster and stronger competition to prepare for next season," Gates said. "We see each year in (district-) tournament play how quick and aggressive teams are in Division I. We need to take our level of play up a notch and not settle with the progress we have made so far."

Boys basketball teamfalls in first round

The boys basketball team lost to second-seeded Gahanna 86-36 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 28 to finish 5-18.

The Warriors, who were seeded 41st of 44 teams, trailed the host Lions 28-4 after the first quarter and were down 62-16 entering the fourth quarter.

Gavin Brown had 11 points to lead Watkins Memorial and Tyler Ruff scored 10. Gahanna had 14 players score, led by Nick Ward's 14 points.