The celebration went on for several minutes for the Worthington Christian High School girls basketball team following its 30-14 victory over Bexley on Feb. 8.
The Warriors performed a net-cutting ceremony because the win clinched at least a share of the MSL-Ohio Division championship, and the players followed numerous hugs with family and friends by singing inside the locker room.
The scene might have been just as much for the future as it was for now.
With just three seniors, and with a middle school program that's expected to produce talent over the coming years, the Warriors hope this was a sign of things to come.
"I wanted to create a moment for these girls, for the younger girls," first-year coach Chris Joseph said. "We've got some really good youth coming up. We have a good young team."
If everything goes according to plan over the coming weeks, Worthington Christian will have a chance to add a district championship.
The Warriors were 18-2 overall before playing Johnstown on Feb. 13 and lead the MSL-Ohio at 6-1 heading into their regular-season finale Saturday, Feb. 16, at Columbus Academy. Their previous league championship was in 2013-14.
For the Division III district tournament, Worthington Christian is the second seed and opens Feb. 23 at home against 15th-seeded Academy or 17th-seeded Columbus Academy in the second round.
The win over Bexley avenged a 40-37 loss to the Lions on Jan. 5 and was the Warriors' fifth consecutive victory.
It was lowest point total allowed by Worthington Christian through 20 games.
"This feels really good," freshman guard Blessing King said. "We work together well as a team and we all know how to keep each other going. We have such a great team and we're able to play defense amazingly."
Boys team remains in league title hunt
The boys basketball team's hopes of winning the MSL-Ohio title have not yet ended.
If the Warriors win Friday, Feb. 15, at Bexley, and Academy loses to Whitehall that same night, Worthington Christian and the Vikings would share the title.
Regardless of how that scenario plays out, the Warriors nearly have doubled their win total from a season ago, when they went 9-14, despite not having junior starting guard Derrick Hardin the last three games because of an injury.
Worthington Christian is 15-4 overall and 4-3 in the MSL-Ohio and concludes the regular season with games Tuesday, Feb. 19, at home against Newark Catholic and Feb. 22 at Johnstown.
"Right now, we're just focused on getting a little bit better every day," coach Kevin Weakley said. "We played well the last three weeks and there's been some reasons for that."
In a 70-48 victory over Whitehall on Feb. 9, D.J. Moore had 20 points, Tyler Kindberg scored 16 and Drew Faieta scored 13.
Charles Collins and Jake Nowak, who are the only seniors in the program, and junior Steven Spayde also have been steady contributors.
Weakley is hopeful his team will get Hardin back for the Division III district tournament, in which the Warriors are the No. 2 seed. Worthington Christian faces 19th-seeded Northridge in the first round Feb. 25 at home.
"There are probably 10, 11, 12 teams (that are strong)," Weakley said. "Seeds didn't matter so much. You've just got to be ready to play every game."
Swimmers set to compete at district
Members of the boys and girls swimming and diving teams are set to compete in the Division II district meet Thursday, Feb. 14, at Ohio State.
On Feb. 9 in a sectional at Academy, the boys placed 14th (24 points) of 18 teams, behind the champion and host Vikings (247), and the girls scored two points to place last behind the champion Vikings (244) as 22 teams scored.
For the boys team, Isaac Myhal placed fourth in the 100-yard butterfly (1 minute, .34 seconds) and 19th in the 50 freestyle (25.62), Micah Shemenski finished sixth in the 500 free (5:39.16) and ninth in the 200 individual medley (2:22.26) and Synjin Sharp was 35th in the 100 free (1:09.15) and 43rd in the 50 free (30.63).
For the girls team, Anna Stathulis, Morgan Lawrence, Mary Lake and Andrea Hess finished 12th in the 200 medley relay (program-record 2:15.65) and 15th in the 200 free relay (program-record 2:02.79), Lake finished 16th in the 100 free (1:02.8) and 31st in the 100 breaststroke (1:25.04), Hess was 38th in the 100 free (1:12.9) and 44th in the 100 breast (1:33.24), Lawrence was 45th in the 50 free (32.69) and 43rd in the 100 breast (1:31.49) and Stathulis finished 24th in the 100 backstroke (1:14.04) and 32nd in the 200 IM (2:44.9).
Also competing at district will be girls diver Lena Morgan and boys divers Andrew Lawrence and Josh Stanfield.
At district, the top two finishers in each swimming event, as well as the top three boys divers and top two girls divers, automatically advance to the state meet, which runs Wednesday, Feb. 20, through Feb. 22 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
Girls bowlers earn share of league title
With wins over Teays Valley (1,814-1,652 on Feb. 5) and Northland (1,687-1,505 on Feb. 8), the girls bowling team earned a share of the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-C Division championship.
Worthington Christian closed the regular season at 15-2 overall and tied Teays Valley for first in the COHSBC-C at 9-1.
Against Teays Valley, Amber Ralston averaged 183.5, Lilly Marsh averaged 166 and Emily Weishaar averaged 160.5 to lead the way.
The girls team opens the postseason Friday, Feb. 15, with the Division II sectional at HP Lanes and the boys squad begins its postseason Saturday, Feb. 16, with the sectional at the same site.
The top 12 teams and top 12 individuals not on qualifying teams advance to the district tournament Feb. 21 at HP Lanes.
The boys team lost to Teays Valley 2,022-1,957 on Feb. 5 but beat Northland 2,038-1,927 on Feb. 8 to finish 12-5 overall and tie Northland for third in the COHSBC-C at 10-3, behind Teays Valley (12-1) and Briggs (11-2).
Caleb Slagle averaged 222 and Garrett Rowda averaged 161.5 against the Vikings.
Holston to play football at Hillsdale
Derek Holston announced his commitment to play Division II football for Hillsdale College during the February signing period that began Feb. 6.