Simon Kroos has been a game-changer for the Bexley High School boys basketball team.
The senior leads the team in scoring, but it's his 3-point shooting prowess that helps invigorate the offense for the Lions, who have won six consecutive games.Video •Watch an interview with Bexley boys basketball player Simon Kroos.
Kroos has 52 3-pointers, breaking his own program record of 49 made last season. The 6-foot-3 forward hit three 3s as part of his 25 points in a 63-61 win over Heath on Feb. 18 as the Lions closed the regular season at 12-10 overall.
"Some guys can just lift a team when they score and Simon is like that," said coach Todd Phillips, whose team tied Grandview for second (8-4) in the MSL-Ohio Division behind Worthington Christian (10-2). "He's the defensive focal point of the teams we play, so when he scores it's a shot in the arm. If I needed any one guy in our league to make a shot with the game on the line, I would pick him."
Kroos is averaging 15.1 points and has made 52 of 170 3-point attempts (30.6 percent). Last season, he averaged 9.6 points and was named honorable mention all-district and all-league.
"I was like the seventh or eighth man on varsity as a sophomore and that experience has helped me mature and improve my game," Kroos said. "I used to have screens set for me to get the jump shot, but now I work more to get out and make my own shots."
Kroos also was an integral playmaker for the football team, starting at quarterback and helping to lead the Lions to back-to-back MSL-Ohio titles. Last fall, Bexley went 10-0 in the regular season for the first time and won its first postseason game, defeating Whitehall 31-21 in the opening round of the Division III playoffs.
Kroos was first-team all-league at quarterback, completing 56 of 71 passes for 740 yards with nine touchdowns and two interceptions and rushing for 727 yards and 15 touchdowns on 106 carries. He also was second-team all-state and first-team all-district at defensive back, making six interceptions and returning two for touchdowns.
"Having 17- and 18-year-olds beating up on me when I was a sophomore really helped me in both sports," said Kroos, who will play defensive back at the University of Dayton. "Just the physical nature of things made me stronger and made me handle situations a lot better."
The Lions have made a turnaround on the court. When February began, they were 6-10. Kroos said Phillips made a statement in practice that helped refine the team's focus.
"Coach wasn't happy about the way we were practicing and kicked us out of the gym the day before we played West (Jefferson)," Kroos said. "We started talking and realized this was it for us. We had to go out and practice harder and play better. We beat West Jeff (48-36 on Feb. 3) and have been playing way better."
Bexley won its final five MSL-Ohio contests, including victories over Grandview (42-35 on Feb. 14) and Columbus Academy (53-48 on Feb. 17).
The Lions are seeded 16th for the Division II district tournament and open Monday, Feb. 27, at 12th-seeded Watterson. The teams have not played this season.
The winner plays at ninth-seeded Jonathan Alder in the second round March 4.
"It helps to be playing your best basketball going into the tournament," Kroos said. "We would like to make a tournament run, and getting back to having a winning record is a good start."
Swimming teams fall
short of state meet
The boys and girls swimming and diving teams did not have a state qualifier this season.
Competing in the Division II boys district meet Feb. 17 at Ohio State, senior Aaron Rothchild was 17th in the 100-yard butterfly (59.65 seconds) and 22nd in the 100 freestyle (53.1), and senior Wade Randle was 26th in the 100 backstroke (1:08.72).
Randle and Rothchild also joined sophomores John Niermeyer and Jack Zwick on the 14th-place 200 medley relay (1:56.81).
The boys finished 31st (6 points) behind champion Academy (353.5) as 39 teams scored.
The girls finished 17th (32) behind champion Columbus School for Girls (343) as 33 teams scored.
Sophomore Annie Politi finished 11th in the 100 breaststroke (1:11.29) and 15th in the 200 individual medley (2:22.32). She joined junior Libby Brown and sophomores Ailbhe McCann and Lili Harding on the 10th-place 200 medley relay (2:06.17), and joined McCann and sophomores Margaux Harding and Frieda Liu on the 12th-place 200 free relay (1:53.26).
McCann competed in the 100 breast (1:17.07, 28th) and 200 IM (2:32.53, 29th), freshman Rayne Wilson participated in the 500 free (6:03.3, 23rd) and 200 free (2:16.15, 29th) and Brown was 29th in the 100 backstroke (1:11.1).
to district in bowling
Junior Douglas Munsell advanced to the Division II boys bowling district tournament while competing as an individual in the sectional Feb. 18 at HP Lanes.
Munsell rolled a three-game series of 609, placing him seventh behind champion Jarrett Strait (685) of Licking Valley. The top 14 individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to district Thursday, Feb. 23, at HP Lanes.
At district, the top two individuals not on qualifying teams advance to state March 4 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
Girls basketball team
wins two in a row
The girls basketball team won its final two regular-season games before opening the Division II district tournament Feb. 20 at 12th-seeded Linden-McKinley.
The winner played at fourth-seeded Lakewood in a second-round game Feb. 22, and that winner moved on to a district semifinal against 11th-seeded Bloom-Carroll or 14th-seeded Johnstown on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at a site to be determined.
The district final is March 3 at Westerville Central.
The 15th-seeded Lions did not play Johnstown this season, but defeated Bloom-Carroll 40-36 on Jan. 11. Bexley was 11-11 after defeating Granville 33-29 on Feb. 14.
Amanda Frey scored 14 points and Maddy Vincent added nine.
The wrestling team competes in a Division II sectional Saturday, Feb. 25, at Whitehall.
The top four finishers in each weight class advance to district March 3 and 4 at Heath. Last year at sectional, Jalen Hatton (195 pounds), Grant Robinson (220) and Perrin Ruff (132) were runners-up.