The Dublin Coffman High School girls basketball team took advantage of an opportunity to put some painful memories behind it March 4 at Ohio Dominican University.
Last season, the Shamrocks couldn't hold on to a 10-point halftime lead in a Division I district final and lost 70-68 in overtime to Reynoldsburg. They also lost in a district final in 2015, falling to Olentangy Liberty 53-45.Videos •The Dublin Coffman boys basketball team celebrates a district tournament win Feb. 28. •The Coffman girls basketball team receives its championship awards. •The girls team cuts down the net after winning a district title March 4. •Coffman gymnast Bethany Hurt competes on uneven bars at the individual state meet March 4.
There was no such disappointment this time, though, as the second-seeded Shamrocks outscored 17th-seeded Westerville South 39-15 during the middle quarters and won 65-38 to capture their fourth district championship.
Coffman, which also won district titles in 2008, '09 and '14, advanced to a regional semifinal against Pickerington Central on March 7 at Otterbein University.
"This is a great win for us," sophomore guard Jacy Sheldon said. "We were definitely ready after last year's experience. We have a lot of fun."
Sheldon had 19 points, 11 assists, four rebounds and four steals to lead the way against South. Junior guard/forward Dana Axner had 19 points, five steals and five assists and junior forward Lilly Edwards had 11 points and 13 rebounds.
Sheldon scored 26 points and senior forward Abby Vollmer scored 17 in an 84-42 win over 18th-seeded Big Walnut in a district semifinal March 1 at Olentangy.
Coffman was 24-2 heading into the regional.
"This is really special," coach Bryan Patton said. "We set out this year with expectations to be back here and you have to be lucky with health and everything else. We've been here the last few years and haven't gotten it done and today feels really good."
The Coffman-Central winner faces Newark or Rey-noldsburg in a regional final at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 10, at Otterbein.
The Shamrocks lost to Newark 69-54 in their season opener Nov. 25.
The regional champion plays Lakewood, Berea-Midpark, Olmsted Falls or Toledo Notre Dame Academy in a state semifinal March 17 at Ohio State. The state final is March 18 at the same site.
Coffman won its only regional title in 2014.
"This is a special group," Patton said. "This group is multi-dimensional on both ends of the floor. They share the ball. They're a group that enjoys playing with each other. From a basketball sense, we're as deep as we've been. ... It's so much fun to come in every day and coach."
headed to state
The wrestling team is sending half of its 10 Division I district competitors to the state tournament, which runs Thursday, March 9, through Saturday, March 11, at Ohio State.
Seniors Dom Demas (145 pounds) and Ben Frye (heavyweight) enter state as district champions for the Shamrocks, who scored 118.5 points at district to place fourth behind champion Olentangy Liberty (236.5) as 42 teams scored.
Host Hilliard Darby (124.5) and Marysville (121) placed second and third, respectively, at the district tournament March 3 and 4.
"We set a goal for Ben of not just going to state, but pinning his way there, and he did that," coach Chance Van Gundy said. "There are four or five main guys for him to watch for (at state), and (senior) Kevin Vough of Elyria is the projected state champion. Dom gets a state placer out of the gate (in Cincinnati Elder's Austin Murphy, who was sixth last year at 126)."
Demas went 4-0 at district and is 47-3 on the season after beating Marysville's Jake Marsh 5-3 for the title. Frye also went 4-0 at district and is 45-0 on the season after pinning Darby's Mo Debyan in 5 minutes, 39 seconds in the final.
Demas was state runner-up last year at 145 after taking sixth at 138 as a freshman and winning state at 138 as a sophomore.
Frye placed fourth at state at 220 last season.
Also qualifying for state were juniors Kyle Murray (106) and Ben Yost (138) and sophomore Lennox Wolak (170). All three placed fourth at district.
"My ultimate goal and dream is to win states, so let's see how far I'll go," Murray said.
Last season, Coffman had six state qualifiers and finished 12th.
Senior Jakaria Hossan, who qualified for state last season at 113, came up short of returning as he went 2-2 at 120.
Also competing at district were seniors Joey Lowers (1-2 at 160) and Dan Trifoni (1-2 at 195), junior Parker Bauman (1-2 at 182) and sophomore Lupe' Velasquez (1-2 at 113).
Heading into state, Murray is 37-10 on the season, Wolak is 40-7 and Yost is 35-13.
"I'm very excited and happy for my brothers on the team who are competing alongside me (at state)," Yost said. "I'm very thankful for everybody on my team. I want to represent my school, as well as the whole city of Dublin, in a positive way. Making it to states for the first time feels so good."
Hurt shines at state
After sharing the district title in the all-around (35.925) with Worthington Kilbourne's Bethany Lange on Feb. 25 at Thomas Worthington, gymnast Bethany Hurt set a goal of having clean routines at the state individual meet March 4 at Hilliard Bradley.
Consider it mission accomplished for the junior, who placed 13th in the all-around (35.975) to lead central Ohio competitors. Lange was unable to compete on vault at state because of an ankle injury and didn't post an all-around score.
Hurt finished 14th on uneven bars (8.875), 16th on balance beam (8.9) and 13th on floor exercise (9.0) at state. She also scored a 9.2 on vault -- the only event in which she didn't qualify for state -- to complete her all-around score.
"I didn't expect anything coming in here," Hurt said. "I'm just happy I hit all of my routines and didn't have any falls. I was more hard on myself last year because I had been all-state my freshman year and not getting all-state last year was hard."
At district, Hurt finished first on floor (9.35), placed fourth on bars (8.85) and tied for sixth on beam (8.925) as Coffman placed 23rd (94.225) behind champion Thornville Sheridan (138.65).
"We're hoping for big things for (Hurt) for her senior year next year," coach Kristen Willms said.
Also on the team this season were sophomore Lauren Delfunt and freshmen Claire Connelly, Lexi Dempsey, Maddie Kelley and Nadine Peterman.
Hurt won the all-around title (36.075) at the OCC-Central Division meet Feb. 11 at Bradley as Coffman finished seventh (93.425).
The Shamrocks went 1-6 in OCC-Central duals and totaled 10 points in the overall league standings to tie Westland (10, 2-5) for sixth, behind Marysville (32, 7-0), Upper Arlington (28, 6-1), Hilliard Davidson (24, 5-2)), Grove City (20, 4-3) and Central Crossing (16, 3-4) and ahead of Franklin Heights (4, 0-7).
"We definitely had some kids with not a ton of gymnastics experience, but they got a lot better," Willms said. "Hopefully, we'll keep building."
Boys basketball team
reaches district semi
The 18th-seeded boys basketball team played 17th-seeded Grove City in a Division I district semifinal March 8 at Pickerington Central.
The winner plays top-seeded Pickerington Central or 19th-seeded Mifflin in a district final at 5 p.m. Saturday, March 11, at Ohio Dominican.
Coffman upset 11th-seeded Jerome 59-54 on Feb. 28 in a second-round game to improve to 12-10 and set up the matchup with Grove City.
"We kept our calm, kept our poise and controlled the game," said freshman guard Dominiq Penn, who went 5-for-6 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter and finished with 16 points against Jerome.
Coffman led 33-27 at halftime against Jerome and stretched its lead to 41-32 midway through the third period after Penn made a 3-pointer and sophomore wing player Luke Bartemes scored five points.
"We prepared very well in practice and just had to follow up the scouting report," Bartemes said. "I just had to help my team out."
The district champion will play sixth-seeded and defending state champion Westerville South, 14th-seeded Davidson, eighth-seeded St. Charles or 10th-seeded Reynoldsburg in a regional semifinal at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 15, at Ohio Dominican. The regional final is March 18 at the same site.
Coffman split its two OCC-Central games against Davidson, winning 51-49 on Dec. 9 but losing 49-36 on Jan. 27, and lost to Reynoldsburg 68-54 on Dec. 23.
"The one (player who) I thought really got us going (against Jerome) was (sophomore guard) Will Hunter with the way he was slashing to the basket," coach Jamey Collins said. "We've had a really good energy level."