The Thomas Worthington High School girls basketball team led sixth-seeded Hilliard Bradley for the better part of their Division I district semifinal March 1 at Marysville.
But the Jaguars finally caught up with 1 minute, 34 seconds remaining and held off the 12th-seeded Cardinals 40-39.
Thomas finished 16-7 overall.Videos •Watch Thomas Worthington girls basketball players Jada Sleet and Breanne Beatty play in a district tournament game. •Watch Thomas boys basketball players Jake Montgomery and Jaedyn Carter play in a district tournament game.
"I am really proud of the girls and the way they came together to believe in something bigger than their individual selves," coach Laurie Barr said. "They fought hard in every game we played this year."
The Cardinals split their first 10 games before winning 11 of their final 13.
Senior point guard Jada Sleet scored 17 points against Bradley and finished as the program's all-time leading scorer with 1,118 points.
"Jada played a whale of a game and had a great career with us," Barr said. "She made some big plays tonight, but unfortunately we came up a bit short."
Thomas, which was seeking the program's first district final appearance, shared the OCC-Cardinal Division title with Bradley after the teams split their two regular-season meetings and went 11-1 in league play.
Rounding out the standings were Hilliard Darby (6-6), Kilbourne and Dublin Jerome (both 5-7), Dublin Scioto (4-8) and Delaware (0-12).
The Cardinals are losing three seniors in Sleet, guard Erin Baumann and forward Abby Girard. Sleet averaged 13.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.7 steals and was named first-team all-league, while Baumann, a defensive specialist, was honorable mention all-league.
"Our three seniors are each leaving big shoes to fill, but we also have some younger players who are excited to step up," Barr said. "Every year we lose key pieces to our puzzle. Yet those seniors leave a burning desire in the younger players to work hard in the offseason so they can accomplish something bigger next season."
Expected key returnees are junior guards Breanne Beatty, Jazzlynn Gaiters and Moreina Moore. Gaiters averaged 14.3 points and 10.9 rebounds and was first-team all-league. Moore (12.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 2.9 steals) and Beatty (10.6 points, 6.2 rebounds) were second-team all-league.
"We are a program of guards and we have a number of players ready to step up and fill the needs of the team," Barr said. "The girls will continue to work on their handles and they will be ready for next season."
Boys basketball team
ousted by Gahanna
The boys basketball team made 13th-seeded Gahanna work, but eventually fell to the host Lions 57-42 in the second round of the Division I district tournament to finish 11-12 overall.
The 22nd-seeded Cardinals were outscored 30-18 in the second half after leading most of the first half and settling for a 25-all score at halftime.
Junior point guard Jaedyn Carter scored 21 points to lead Thomas and senior forward Jake Montgomery added nine.
"Gahanna is a great team and they're dangerous when they get the lead," coach Sean Luzader said. "They're athletic and spread you out. They also speed you up and force mistakes, and that's what happened tonight."
The Cardinals led 25-19 before Gahanna closed the first half on a 6-0 run. The Lions then scored the first 10 points of the second half.
Thomas, which had a first-round bye, finished 5-7 in the OCC-Cardinal to place fourth behind Bradley (12-0), Jerome (9-3) and Scioto (7-5) and ahead of Delaware and Kilbourne (both 4-8) and Darby (1-11).
The Cardinals are losing four seniors in Montgomery, guards Christian Carter and Andika Yudhasrina and forward Caleb Struewing.
Montgomery averaged 9.6 points and 7.7 rebounds and was first-team all-league. Christian Carter averaged 11.4 points and was second-team all-league, and Struewing averaged 3.1 points and 4.0 rebounds and was honorable mention all-league.
Expected key returnees are Jaedyn Carter, junior guard Curtis Clinger and sophomore forwards Kyler Block and Ben Wight. Jaedyn Carter (10.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.7 steals) was special mention all-league. Clinger averaged 6.6 points and 3.5 points and Wight averaged 4.1 points and 3.9 rebounds.
"I am very optimistic about next season," Luzader said. "... We will return Jaedyn at starting point guard, as well as Clinger on the wing. We lost two starters to injury at the beginning of the season in guard Jamal Carter and forward Kyler Block. We will have three sophomores with a lot of experience in Block, Wight and (guard Jon) Tchounguen."
Chaffin barely misses
state bowling berth
Senior Trew Chaffin of the boys bowling team rolled a 645 three-game series to finish ninth of 127 competitors in the Division I district tournament March 3 at Sawmill Lanes.
Unfortunately for Chaffin, he fell one pin shy of the fourth and final individual state qualifier in Logan's Austin Huffines, who rolled a 646 to finish eighth. The state tournament is Saturday, March 11, at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
Chaffin posted games of 224, 237 and 184 to lead the Cardinals, who finished 17th (3,709) in the 20-team field as Westerville Central (4,176), Pickerington North (4,157), Whetstone (4,114) and Whitehall (4,058) qualified for state.
Senior Chris Haunty bowled a 611 (149-214-248) to place 23rd, followed by freshman Nate Johnson (539, 68th), senior Liam Hughes (479, 93rd) and senior Austin Bernstiel (470, 95th).
The Cardinals finished fourth (3,779) of 42 teams in the sectional Feb. 25 at Sawmill Lanes, behind champion Olentangy Liberty (4,168), as the top 20 teams and top 20 individuals not on a qualifying team advanced to district. Chaffin (654) placed third.
Thomas finished 5-12 overall, including 5-10 (12th) in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-North Division and 2-4 (sixth) in the OCC-Cardinal.
The girls team placed 37th (2,095) of 38 teams in the sectional Feb. 24 at Sawmill Lanes and did not have any individual district qualifiers. The Cardinals went 1-15 overall, including 1-13 (14th) in the COHSBC-North and 0-5 (sixth) in the OCC-Cardinal.
The girls had no seniors on their roster. Expected to return are junior Abby Montag, sophomores Helen Ashworth, Teylar Poindexter, Janae Tomlin and Izabella Vazquez and freshman Samantha Haunty.
ends at district
Competing in the Division I district wrestling tournament March 3 and 4 at Darby, junior Chase Haimerl finished sixth at 132 pounds to fall two spots shy of advancing to the state tournament Thursday, March 9, through Saturday, March 11, at Ohio State.
Haimerl lost his first match 9-4 to eventual champion Luke Hernandez of Dresden Tri-Valley. He bounced back to pin Whetstone's Adreon Barrett in 4 minutes, 23 seconds and beat Central Crossing's Ryan Fahy 5-3 and New Albany's Cameron Poulton 2-1 to reach a state-qualifying match, where he lost to Westerville Central's Tre' Bogetich 4-2. He then was pinned by Westerville North's Josh Grant in 3:29 in the fifth-place match to finish 30-13.
Also competing at district was junior Josh Keese, who went 1-2 at 160 to finish 26-18.
Junior Charlie Kneessi had qualified for district, but was unable to compete because of an injury and finished 34-12.
Thomas scored 10 points at district to finish 33rd behind champion Liberty (236.5) as 42 teams scored.
The Cardinals finished eighth (55) of 11 teams behind host and champion Marysville (244.5) in the sectional Feb. 25.
Keese finished first and Haimerl and Kneessi both placed fourth, as the top four finishers in each weight class advanced to district.
Senior Justin Tullos (220) placed fifth and was a district alternate. Tullos, who lost his district-qualifying match 3-1 in overtime to St. Charles' Stephen Cottrill, finished 22-15. Also competing at sectional were senior Mostafa Elbana (195, 2-11 on season), junior Hammad Choudrey (138, 6-23) and sophomore Hayden Glasgow (152, 5-22).
Competing in Region 5-A of the Division I state team tournament Jan. 25 at Westerville North, the eighth-seeded Cardinals had a first-round bye and lost to top-seeded North 63-12 in the second round.
Thomas went 0-6 in OCC-Cardinal duals to place seventh, behind Darby (6-0), Bradley (4-2), Delaware (4-2), Scioto (4-2), Kilbourne (2-4) and Jerome (1-5).