It was clear early on to the Reynoldsburg High School girls basketball team that it had a battle on its hands March 4 in a Division I district final against Watterson at Ohio Dominican University.
The fifth-seeded Eagles haven’t won a district title since 2004, but they built a 14-3 lead before the Raiders’ Adrian Crockwell hit a 3-pointer late in the first quarter.
That seemed to turn the momentum to the side of the fourth-seeded Raiders, who went on to a 48-42 victory that gives them seven district championships in the last eight seasons.
“We scored 22 points in the second quarter after Adrian hit that 3 to make it 14-6,” Raiders coach Jack Purtell said. “The kids settled in after (her 3-pointer). I’d be lying if I said we played our best game, but we played very hard.”
Watterson outscored the Raiders 12-8 in the third quarter to cut Reynoldsburg’s lead to 36-32 and was within 43-38 when Crockwell made another 3 with 2 minutes, 53 seconds left.
The Eagles got as close as 46-42, but Crockwell made two free throws in the final 40 seconds to seal the victory.
Crockwell finished with 16 points, Brooklyn Pannell scored 13 and Uju Ezeudu had 12 for the Raiders, who improved to 22-4 and advanced to play Newark in a regional semifinal March 7 at Otterbein University.
Giavanna Paradiso had 16 points and Lauren Sawyer scored nine for Watterson, which finished 21-4.
“We had a couple good looks and missed a couple good shots,” Eagles coach Tom Woodford said. “Then they came down and what killed us was that they had four offensive rebounds and we gave them second-half opportunities.”
Newark 52, Gahanna 37
Top-seeded Newark is headed to its third consecutive regional tournament after pulling away from 11th-seeded Gahanna in a Division I district final March 4 at Ohio Dominican.
Katie Shumate scored 25 points, including going 5-for-6 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter, to lead Newark, which improved to 25-0 and will play Reynoldsburg in a regional semifinal March 7 at Otterbein.
“In the second quarter, I thought we took better care of the ball and were more aggressive,” Wildcats coach J.R. Shumate said. “Gahanna’s a really good basketball team.”
The Lions, who finished 18-7, got 12 points from Edyn Battle, nine from Sam Jenkins and eight from Madison Hensley.
Gahanna led 17-13 after the first quarter but scored just two second-quarter points as Newark took a 27-19 lead into halftime.
Dublin Coffman 65, Westerville South 38
Led by guards Dana Axner and Jacy Sheldon, second-seeded Coffman earned its first Division I district title since 2014 by defeating 17th-seeded South 65-38 in a district final March 4 at Ohio Dominican.
The Shamrocks improved to 24-2 and advanced to play Pickerington Central in a regional semifinal March 7 at Otterbein.
Coffman had lost in district finals each of the past two seasons, falling to Reynoldsburg 70-68 in overtime last year and to Olentangy Liberty 53-45 in 2015.
“This is really special,” Shamrocks coach Bryan Patton said. “We set out expectations to get back here and you have to be lucky with good health and everything else. We were here the last two years and didn’t get it done, so today feels really good.”
Axner and Sheldon each scored 19 points for Coffman, which outscored South 22-7 in the third quarter to open a 56-25 lead heading into the fourth.
Peyton Guice had 12 points and Cailin Duffy scored 10 for South, which finished 15-10.
Pickerington Central 48, Hilliard Bradley 29
Maliya Perry had a game-high 16 points and seven rebounds to help third-seeded Central establish an early lead and cruise past sixth-seeded Bradley in a Division I district final March 4 at Ohio Dominican.
The Tigers took a 14-2 lead late in the first quarter and never trailed.
Central improved to 22-4 and will play Coffman in a regional semifinal March 7 at Otterbein.
Madison Greene and Nicole Stephens each had 10 points for the Tigers, and Jada Tate had four points and seven rebounds.
Teneea Heston had 13 points to lead Bradley, which finished 21-5.
Fairfield Christian 56, Wellington 18
Missing four players because of a school trip out of the country that began earlier in the day, fifth-seeded Wellington lost to top-seeded Fairfield Christian in a Division IV district final March 4 at New Albany.
Savannah Childress had nine points and Sophie Barbour scored five for the Jaguars, who were outscored 21-1 in the second quarter.
Among the players who weren’t available for Wellington were starters Addie Shock, Macey Shock and Annie Taylor.
The Jaguars finished 14-11.
Celeste Mershimer had 20 points for Fairfield Christian, which improved to 24-1 and advanced to play Danville in a regional semifinal March 9 at Pickerington North.