Coach Joshua Price tried to look on the bright side after his Bexley High School girls basketball team was smothered by a frenetic Worthington Christian defense.
The Lions likely lost their chance to retain the MSL-Ohio Division championship after falling to the Warriors 30-14 on Feb. 8, but Price could see his team taking lessons from the experience into postseason play.
"You have to look at it from a positive side," said Price, whose 13th-seeded team opens Division II district play at ninth-seeded Caledonia River Valley on Tuesday, Feb. 19, in the first round. "You're battling against a very good team like Worthington Christian and that should prepare us for tournament battles. Obviously it would have been nice to get the win and get at least a share of the league championship, but that didn't happen. Hopefully what we can take from this is an experience that will help us the rest of the season."
The Lions were 12-9 overall and 6-2 in the MSL-Ohio after defeating Grandview 32-16 on Feb. 11 and still could earn a share of the league title with a Worthington Christian loss. The Warriors are 6-1 and close the league schedule Saturday, Feb. 16, against Columbus Academy.
"Worthington Christian is obviously a good team, and they defended us really well," said Price, whose team closed the regular season Feb. 13 against Franklin Heights. "We defended them really well, only giving up 30 points, but they defended us much better. We struggled to get anything going."
The focus now shifts to the postseason opener against River Valley, a defending district champion. The Vikings were 10-10 before facing Kenton on Feb. 12 and have played without the injured Alexis Stevens, a 5-foot-7 junior guard who averaged 17.2 points last season, when she was second-team all-state and district Player of the Year.
"River Valley still is a good team without Alexis Stevens and (the Vikings) have a lot of good players," Price said. "They can do it all. Traditionally, they have been doing some zone trapping and they play an aggressive man-to-man defense."
Senior guard Maddy Vincent said the Vikings are familiar since they have been a preseason scrimmage opponent the past few years.
"They are a strong team with a lot of good guards that can shoot the ball," Vincent said. "We have to handle that and their pressure."
The first-round winner plays 11th-seeded Heath on Feb. 22 in the second round.
Maddy Young scored 21 points with five 3-pointers as the Lions won at Columbus School for Girls 67-21 on Feb. 9. Vincent had 11 points and Maia Ben-David added 10.
Swim teams finish fifth at sectional
The boys and girls swimming teams compete in the Division II district meet Thursday, Feb. 14, at Ohio State.
In a sectional Feb. 9, Ally Grieshop was second in the 500-yard freestyle (5 minutes, 31.96 seconds) and sixth in the 200 free (2:05.69) as the girls scored 98 points to finish fifth of 22 teams behind champion and host Academy (244).
Leah Stamm was fifth in the 200 individual medley (2:21.33) and 100 backstroke (1:03.54).
The Lions advanced all three relays to district. The 200 medley relay of Sophie Jones, Ailbhe McCann, Stamm and Ilsa Evans was fourth (2:05.43) and the 400 free relay of Stamm, Olivia Mitchell, Grieshop and Lili Harding was fifth (4:02.16). The 200 free relay was ninth (1:54.97) with Mitchell, Harding, Evans and McCann.
Quinn Hall was runner-up in the 100 breaststroke (1:05.93) and fifth in the 100 free (52.33) as the boys were fifth (131) of 18 teams behind champion Academy (247).
Hall was on a pair of district-qualifying relays: the third-place 400 free relay (3:45.92) with John Niermeyer, Hunter Johnson and Eli Dresbach and the fourth-place 200 medley relay (1:52.48) with Dresbach, Niermeyer and Jack Zwick.
The 200 free relay of David Tugend, Ryan Kemp, Spencer Graham and Danner Rogers was ninth (1:44.52).
At district, the top two placers in each swimming event automatically advance to state Feb. 21 and 22 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths will be awarded in each event based on district times statewide. The Lions have no divers.
Wrestlers prepare for MSL-Ohio tourney
The wrestling team competes in the MSL-Ohio tournament Saturday, Feb. 16, at Whitehall.
The Lions scored 195 points last season to edge London (192.5) for the championship. They have won back-to-back titles after not winning a league championship since 1998.
Hunter Hilgeman placed sixth at 160 pounds in the All-North Tournament on Feb. 9 at Dublin Jerome as the Lions finished 18th (11) behind champion Marysville (187).
Welsh to play football at Georgetown College
Bexley senior Anthony Welsh committed Feb. 6 to play football at Georgetown College in Kentucky.
Below are the coming schedules for the Bexley boys basketball and boys bowling teams:
*Feb. 15 -- Home vs. Worthington Christian. The Lions defeated the Warriors 59-57 on Jan. 12.
Feb. 16 -- Home vs. Tallmadge
March 2 -- Home vs. 11th-seeded Centennial or 12th-seeded Linden-McKinley in second round of Division II district tournament. The Lions are seeded ninth.
Feb. 16 -- Division II sectional at HP Lanes. The top 12 teams and top 12 individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district Feb. 21 at HP Lanes.