Big Walnut High School girls basketball coach Jason Crawford's scouting schedule has been much more demanding this season, but he planned for it.
With the Golden Eagles moving from Division I to Division II, there will be many unfamiliar opponents in the postseason.
Big Walnut is seeded third of 24 teams in the Division II district tournament behind Eastmoor Academy and Granville and will open at home against 23rd-seeded Horizon Science Academy in the first round Feb. 19.
"We have gotten out during the season and scouted a lot of the Division II opponents," Crawford said. "We've seen just about every team live in Division II (in the area) and then zoned in on what we thought were the top teams."
The Golden Eagles were 15-4 overall and 7-2 in the OCC-Capital Division before playing host to Franklin Heights on Feb. 8. They concluded the regular season Feb. 9 at Massillon Perry.
Big Walnut would play host to 24th-seeded Columbus International in the second round Feb. 22 and would play sixth-seeded Beechcroft, 12th-seeded Olentangy Berlin or 14th-seeded Bloom-Carroll in a district semifinal Feb. 26. The Golden Eagles likely would face fourth-seeded Jonathan Alder or fifth-seeded London in a district final March 1.
"It's been a really busy month and a half (for the coaching staff)," Crawford said after watching Bloom-Carroll defeat Granville 37-27 on Feb. 6. "It's pretty much every night we're going somewhere if we don't play."
On Feb. 5, Big Walnut defeated visiting Marysville 55-45 behind 14 points from Avery Schone and 11 from Erin Boehm. The Golden Eagles outscored the Monarchs 16-7 in the second quarter to take a 29-16 lead into halftime.
Boehm had 18 points and Schone scored 13 in a 58-36 victory at Mansfield Madison on Feb. 2. Big Walnut led 20-6 after the first quarter.
Both of the Golden Eagles' OCC-Capital losses entering their contest against Franklin Heights came against Newark, 71-29 on Feb. 1 and 58-28 on Dec. 21. The Wildcats were ranked eighth in last week's Division I state poll.
Boys basketball team aims for strong finish
Jordan Koebel knows what's at stake for the boys basketball team this week.
The Golden Eagles will play host to Groveport in their OCC-Capital finale Friday, Feb. 15, before concluding the regular season Saturday, Feb. 16, at Mount Vernon. They then will turn their attention to the Division I district tournament, which begins Feb. 23.
The district tournament drawing is Sunday, Feb. 10.
"We're focused on closing the (regular) season out and getting these last couple wins," said Koebel, a senior guard. "We know another season begins in the playoffs."
Big Walnut was 11-8 overall and 4-4 in the OCC-Capital before playing at Franklin Heights on Feb. 8. The Golden Eagles entered the game with an opportunity to secure their first winning season since 2011-12, when they finished 12-10.
Big Walnut had lost two games in a row before facing the Falcons, falling 55-54 at Marysville on Feb. 5 and 50-34 at Newark on Feb. 1.
Koebel had 18 points, Jagger Barnett scored 11 and Brody Lawhun scored 10 against Marysville, which outscored the Golden Eagles 22-9 in the fourth quarter. Against Newark, Kegan Hienton had 12 points and Koebel scored 10.
Swimmers compete at sectional meet
Members of the boys and girls swimming teams competed in a Division I sectional Feb. 9 at Thomas Worthington.
The winner of each swimming event automatically advanced to the district meet Friday, Feb. 15, at Ohio State. In addition, 27 at-large district berths were awarded in each event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectional sites.
At district, the top two finishers in each swimming event qualify for the state meet Feb. 21-23 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large berths will be awarded in each event based on times statewide.
Divers begin their postseason at district. The boys compete Thursday, Feb. 14, and the girls compete Feb. 15 at Ohio State. The top four boys and top five girls qualify for state.
Wrestlers compete in team dual tourney
The wrestling team went 1-1 in the Division I, Region 5 team dual tournament Feb. 2 at Marysville, losing to eventual champion Dublin Coffman 69-6 in a quarterfinal.
Big Walnut opened the event with a 35-34 victory over New Albany, a team it will face in its final OCC-Capital dual Thursday, Feb. 14.
The Golden Eagles were 1-2 in the league before facing Franklin Heights on Feb. 7.
Athletes announce college decisions
Seniors Kaitlyn Morrison and Alle English announced their college decisions Feb. 6.
Morrison will compete in women's bowling at Louisville and English will play women's rugby at Queens University of Charlotte.
Below are the coming schedules for the Big Walnut boys basketball, bowling and wrestling teams:
*Feb. 15 -- Home vs. Groveport. The Golden Eagles defeated the Cruisers 51-49 on Jan. 11.
Feb. 16 -- At Mount Vernon
Feb. 11 -- Marion Harding at Cooper's Bowl
*Feb. 14 -- At New Albany