Being a part of a program that won a combined 64 games the last three seasons is all the proof that senior Zach Watson believes is needed to show the character of the Dublin Jerome High School boys basketball team.
"I definitely have a ton of memories," said Watson, who will play for Carnegie Mellon University. "It was a really close-knit group of guys when you think about us going 22-4 (in 2015-16) and 24-3 (in 2014-15)."
The Celtics, who won a Division I district title in 2015 and were district runners-up last season, finished 18-6 overall and were OCC-Cardinal Division runners-up this season.
After beating 24th-seeded Worthington Kilbourne 65-39 in the first round of the district tournament Feb. 25, 11th-seeded Jerome lost to 18th-seeded Coffman 59-51 in a second-round game Feb. 28 at home.
The Celtics went 9-3 in the league to place behind Hilliard Bradley (12-0) and ahead of Scioto (7-5), Thomas Worthington (5-7), Delaware and Kilbourne (both 4-8) and Hilliard Darby (1-11).
Watson, who was a key player since his sophomore season, averaged a team-high 16 points and was named first-team all-league.
Junior guard Eddie Anders averaged 8.5 points and was special mention all-league and senior guard Kyle Burrier averaged 5.0 points and was honorable mention all-league.
The Celtics are losing four seniors, including guards Joe Dunnan and Jack Mongelluzzo.
"The biggest thing is that this was our fourth year since I took over as coach, and when this group of seniors were freshmen, we went 10-13," coach Jamie Pearson said. "They worked so hard. They stayed the course. I just want to give praise upon praise for these seniors."
Juniors Lucas House (guard/wing player) and Andrew Golda (forward), who averaged 10 and eight points, respectively, are expected to be the top returnees next season.
Others eligible to return include junior Preston Streator (forward) and sophomores Joey Pickering (guard), Cam Kerns (forward) and Trey Ballengee (guard).
Against Coffman, the Celtics trailed 16-9 after the first quarter and 33-27 at halftime. Watson had 14 points, House scored 11 and Dunnan scored nine.
"The first two years (I was coach), I think we had one senior, and now we've had big classes two years in a row," Pearson said. "I think our (junior varsity) team lost one game and the freshman team lost two games. We've started to establish a program here."
ends at district
Both of the wrestling team's competitors at the Division I district tournament March 3 and 4 at Darby, seniors Kevin Ross (160 pounds) and Zack Kowatch (182), went 0-2.
Ross placed fourth in the sectional Feb. 25 at Upper Arlington and finished 28-15 on the season, while Kowatch was third at sectional and went 10-19 on the season.
"(Ross) was losing 8-1 and ended up getting pinned in the third period in his first match (against three-time state champion Kyle Lawson of Olentangy Liberty)," coach Josh Conn said. "Then he wrestled (Coffman's) Joey Lowers and lost 4-3. Zack has basically been injured for two years and has had maybe 25 practices in two years, so it was good for him to get (to district). He was dedicated."
Jerome scored 49 points at sectional to place 10th of 11 teams, behind champion Olentangy Orange (240). Also placing at sectional were sophomore Cam Craig (fifth at heavyweight) and senior Hunter Kagy (sixth at 152), while senior Kareem Eldika (145) won one sectional match.
Kagy finished the season 21-13 and Eldika went 13-12.
Sophomore Cole Whitt went 19-16 at 120 and should join Craig as a top returnee next season.
Also eligible to return after competing at sectional are sophomores Kethan Manakkal (132) and Connor Radcliff (220) and freshmen Alex Boukheir (126), Drew Kavinsky (170), Mason Lee (113), Josh Snitkin (138), Jack Viola (106) and Evan Wleklinski (195).
Jerome went 1-5 in the OCC-Cardinal to place sixth, behind Darby (6-0), Bradley (4-2), Delaware (4-2), Scioto (4-2) and Kilbourne (2-4) and ahead of Thomas (0-6).
"We were really young this year," Conn said. "All of the kids got better and are going to carry that into next year."
Majni closes season
at state meet
Sophomore gymnast Anna Majni saved one of her best performances of the season for the state individual meet March 4 at Bradley.
After turning in an eighth-place finish on vault (8.925) in the district meet Feb. 25 at Thomas to earn one of nine state berths, Majni scored a 9.125 in the event at state to finish 18th of 35 competitors.
A year ago, Majni tied for 33rd at state on vault with an 8.525 and helped the Celtics place 10th in the team competition.
"I'm really excited I'm (at state)," Majni said. "It's been my goal all season. I'm doing a higher vault this year and I feel like I've been able to work on my technique more and my landing."
Coach Kristen Willms was pleased that Majni was able to make it to state for the second year in a row individually after her team placed 13th (124.775) in the 23-team district meet as the top three advanced to state.
Majni finished 19th in the all-around (33.175) at district.
"It's kind of unusual to make it in consecutive years, but that was her goal, to be back (at state)," Willms said. "She upgraded her vault this year."
Sophomores Kylie Goshorn and Parker Sickels also competed in the all-around at district for the Celtics, who have no seniors.
Jerome placed fourth (121.625) in the league meet Feb. 11 behind champion and host Bradley (133.95) and also finished fourth (14 points, 2-4) in the overall league standings, behind Bradley (28, 6-0), Kilbourne (22, 5-1) and Darby (22, 4-2) and ahead of Thomas (12, 3-3), Delaware (10, 1-5) and Scioto (4, 0-6).
In the league meet, Majni placed third on vault (8.7) and tied for fifth in the all-around (32.75), Sickels was fifth on vault (8.275) and ninth in the all-around (30.925) and Goshorn was 11th in the all-around (30.6).
"It was definitely a younger team this year, but I'm happy with how we did," Willms said. "There's definitely a lot to look forward to."
Girls basketball team
improved over season
Although the girls basketball team lost 10 of its first 11 games, its 48-24 victory over Delaware on Jan. 10 was the beginning of a turnaround.
Including a 65-58 victory over 26th-seeded DeSales in the second round of the Division I district tournament, Jerome won seven of its final 13 games and finished 8-16 overall.
On March 1, the 36th-seeded Celtics lost to top-seeded Newark 51-23 in their first district semifinal appearance.
"It's March Madness, and (we were) in it," coach Natalie Herring said. "It's a process, and as our program goals come into play and we start doing all the little things the way we've requested, they're starting to come around to our way of thinking."
Herring, who completed her first season as the Celtics' coach a year after they went 10-13, will have a younger group to work with next season.
Jerome will be losing three of its top four scorers, including guard Rachel Remias, to graduation. Remias, who scored a career-high 28 points against DeSales, averaged a team-high 9.6 points and was second-team all-OCC-Cardinal.
The other seniors were guards Rachel Ferguson (4.1 points per game) and Deanna Prochko (6.7 ppg) and post player Alex Madry (8.0 ppg). Ferguson was honorable mention all-league.
Jerome went 5-7 in the OCC-Cardinal to tie Kilbourne for fourth, behind co-champions Bradley and Thomas (11-1) and Darby (6-6) and ahead of Scioto (4-8) and Delaware (0-12).
Three other players who scored against Newark, junior guard Mitali Singh and sophomores Emily Becker (post player) and Demi Brewer (guard), are eligible to return.
Brewer averaged 4.9 points and Becker averaged 3.4.
Others eligible to return include junior Stephanie Cline (guard), sophomore Nicole Greiwe (post player) and freshman Alie Intihar (post player). Becker and Intihar both are 5-foot-10 and Greiwe is 5-9.
"We had a new coaching staff this year so it's been a transition, but we really started to come together and play for the love of the game," Remias said.