The Gahanna Lincoln High School girls basketball team tried to pick up where it left off at the end of the regular season with its 78-22 victory over Central Crossing on Feb. 17 in the first round of the Division I district tournament.
Before beating the 41st-seeded Comets, the ninth-seeded Lions had won six in a row but hadn't played since beating Lancaster 53-50 on Feb. 9 in their regular-season finale.
"It's better than practicing against each other," coach Betsy Baker said. "It breaks up the monotony. ... I thought we shared the ball really well, which I was pleased to see."
Gahanna is 16-7 heading into a second-round game Friday, Feb. 23, at home against 26th-seeded Hilliard Darby.
The winner plays eighth-seeded Hartley or 36th-seeded Dublin Jerome in a district semifinal Wednesday, Feb. 28, at a site to be announced, with the winner advancing to a district final March 3 at Ohio Dominican.
The top players for Darby are junior Annie Rauch, a 6-foot-3 forward, and junior Sydney Wyngarden, a 5-8 point guard. The Panthers are 11-11 and had a first-round bye.
"I've seen them and we have a lot of film on them," Baker said. "They have a really talented post player and they have a pretty good guard, and those are their two leading scorers."
Anisja Harris had 20 points and Edyn Battle added 16 as 10 players scored against Central Crossing. The only player not to score was senior Addie Kittel, who has been recovering from an illness but should return for the Darby game, according to Baker.
"Our team is really starting to come together, and we're recognizing each of our roles on the team," Harris said. "Everyone is working hard in practice and pushing each other the way we all need to be successful. Defensively, we're communicating a lot better also."
Boys basketball team to start tourney play
At 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, the seventh-seeded boys basketball team opens the Division I district tournament with a first-round game at home against 38th-seeded Big Walnut.
If the Lions win, they'll play host to 41st-seeded Briggs on March 2.
Pickerington Central, which is the ninth seed, could be looming in a district semifinal March 7 if both teams make it that far.
Gahanna is hoping to get back on track after losing five of its final eight games of the regular season.
The Lions lost to Central 79-60 on Feb. 16 to drop to 15-7 overall and finish 5-5 in the OCC-Ohio Division. The Lions also lost to the Tigers 72-56 on Jan. 29.
In the rematch, Gahanna led 19-16 after one quarter and trailed 36-34 at halftime but was held to 26 points in the second half.
Chase Rankin scored 18 points, Josh Corbin made three 3-pointers and had 13 points and Mike Reeves added 11 points for the Lions. Central's Adrian Nelson scored 27 points and Javohn Garcia had 22.
Nelson scored 30 points in the earlier matchup against Gahanna.
Vieta aims to defend state diving title
Junior Maycey Vieta will look to win her second consecutive Division I state girls diving championship when she competes Thursday, Feb. 22, at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
She won the district title Feb. 12 at Dublin Community Recreation Center when she scored 524.7 points and is the top seed in the 24-competitor field. Also entering state after recording district scores over 500 are Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame's Teagan Moravek (518.35), Cincinnati Oak Hills' Elizabeth Cron (517.95), Olentangy Orange's Lauren Cheetham (512.5) and Upper Arlington's Holly Darling (501.1).
Vieta scored 455.45 in the finals at state last season to edge 2017 New Albany graduate Nikki Watters (447.4) for the title. Moravek finished eighth but Cron didn't advance out of the preliminaries.
In 2016, Cheetham took third (481.8) and Vieta was fourth (481.45).
The Lions didn't have any swimmers advance to state from the district meet Feb. 17 at Ohio University. The boys placed 21st (25) behind champion Jerome (303) as 29 teams scored, and the girls were 13th (68) behind champion UA (274) as 30 teams scored.
For the girls, Payton Vogelgesang set a program record of 52.84 seconds in the 100-yard freestyle while finishing 13th.
Other strong finishes were turned in by Hannah Snedden in the 100 backstroke (59.33, 11th), Ashleigh Provan in diving (393.55, ninth) and the 200 medley relay of Madison Gibson, Lydia Gilger, Snedden and Vogelgesang (1:52.41, 11th).
Leading the boys were Johnny Belli, who was seventh in the 100 butterfly (52.89), and the 14th-place 200 free relay of Belli, Logan Marks, Paul Padgett and Austin Wharton (1:31.78).
"We didn't start out too well, but then it started to get better," coach Jeff Riegler said. "Payton swam a 100 free time that has always made it to the state meet. She was 13th, but it was a really fast race."
Wrestlers set for sectional
The wrestling team opens its postseason Saturday, Feb. 24, with a Division I sectional at Watkins Memorial.
The top four finishers in each weight class advance to the district tournament March 2 and 3 at Darby.
Bowlers prep for postseason
The boys and girls bowling teams are preparing for Division I sectionals at HP Lanes.
The boys compete Friday, Feb. 23, and the girls compete the next day. The top 16 teams and top 16 individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district March 3 at HP Lanes.
The boys closed the regular season Feb. 14 by beating Hilliard Davidson 2,180-1,760 to finish 15-2 overall. They were second (10-2) in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-A Division and first (6-0) in the OCC-Central.
The girls beat Davidson 2,045-1,403 to finish 17-0 overall. They won the COHSBC-A at 12-0 and the OCC-Central at 6-0.
Most of hockey team eligible to return
The hockey team's season ended with a 6-1 loss to seventh-seeded Springboro on Feb. 16 in the first round of the district tournament. Gahanna was the last of 24 seeds and finished with a 2-30 record that included a 0-16 mark in the Capital Hockey Conference.
The Lions earned wins Dec. 3 over Mason (8-1) and Dec. 9 over the Northwest Eagles (4-3). They were seeded 14th for the Blue Jackets Cup consolation tournament and lost to 15th-seeded Dublin Scioto 9-2 on Feb. 9 in the first round.
Freshman forward Colton Heery scored off an assist from senior forward Will Rhymer against Springboro, and freshman forward Austin Lampert and Rhymer scored against Scioto.
Rhymer, who was one of four seniors along with defensemen Quinton Klein and Amanda Olsen and forward Stephanie Shirey, finished with 26 goals and five assists.
Rhymer was among the few players who returned with experience after the Lions went 17-14-4 last season.
"Will has been fantastic, just seeing the freshmen look up to him," coach Kevin Schodorf said. "He's a good kid that goes hard every shift and has been willing to play forward, defense or whatever we need him to do. Amanda and Stephanie are both seniors and they always provided energy and toughness and have been some of our hardest workers and some of our best teammates."
Sophomore forward Hayden Sindledecker had five goals and five assists, and freshman defenseman Thomas Giles had nine goals and four assists.
Juniors Eric Frick Jr. and Brendan Holahan split time most of the season at goaltender, with Frick picking up the win over Mason. Sindledecker also saw action in goal and was the winner against Northwest.
"We were just trying to find the positives and give them praise when they make good decisions with the puck or get the puck down low," Schodorf said.
"There should be eight or nine eighth-graders coming up, so I'm really excited to see some of them, and (we) just (want to have) more of a full team. We only had 17 players so they all got to play a ton of minutes this year."
@UlreyThisWeekAt a glance
Below are the members of the Gahanna Lincoln boys and girls swimming & diving teams who competed at district but did not qualify for state:
Boys -- Johnny Belli: 100 back (55.05, 15th), 100 fly (52.89, seventh); Alex Couch: diving (121.1, 20th); Casey Jordan: diving (200.3, 18th); Paul Padgett: 50 free (22.25, 17th), 100 back (54.86, 14th); Austin Wharton: 500 free (5:06.82, 29th); 200 free relay (1:31.78, 14th); 200 medley relay (1:49.28, 23rd); 400 free relay (3:24.92, 16th)
Girls -- Lina Alli: diving (237.8, 18th); Kendra Dillon: diving (358.7, 10th); Lydia Gilger: 100 fly (59.55, 19th), 200 free (2:01.69, 23rd); Mackenzie Massmann: 100 fly (1:01.93, 29th), 200 IM (2:24.3, 30th); Ashleigh Provan: diving (393.55, ninth); Hannah Snedden: 100 back (59.33, 11th), 100 fly (1:02.34, 30th); Payton Vogelgesang: 50 free (24.6, 15th), 100 free (52.84, 13th); 200 free relay (1:49.67, 23rd); 200 medley relay (1:52.41, 11th); 400 free relay (3:44.24, 13th)
*Record: 2-30 overall, 0-16 (fourth) in CHC-Blue
*Seniors lost: Quinton Klein, Amanda Olsen, Will Rhymer and Stephanie Shirey
*Key returnees: Eric Frick Jr., Thomas Giles, Colton Heery, Ashwin Kumar, Austin Lampert, Hayden Sindledecker and John Warner