Things are likely to get much tougher for the Dublin Coffman High School girls basketball team.
After opening the Division I district tournament Feb. 16 with a 73-15 victory over 39th-seeded Grove City, the third-seeded Shamrocks were 21-2 before playing Feb. 20 at home against 40th-seeded Westland in the second round. They beat the Cougars 73-20 on Dec. 14 and 88-8 on Jan. 24.
If the seeds played out as expected, Coffman will face eighth-seeded Gahanna in a district semifinal Wednesday, Feb. 27, at a site to be announced. A defending district champion, the Lions are 16-7 entering their second-round game against 41st-seeded Franklin Heights on Friday, Feb. 22.
"(Coffman is) a great basketball team," first-year Gahanna coach Ron Bailey said. "They like to get out and run and they play defense. They're right up there with Pickerington Central, Newark, Reynoldsburg and are a top-three seed for a reason."
The Shamrocks haven't played Gahanna since 2012 when they lost 41-34 in a district semifinal.
Coffman led Grove City 54-8 at halftime and held the Greyhounds to one third-quarter point as Imarianah Russell had 23 points and Jacy Sheldon scored 22.
"Having not played in a week or so, it was good to get back playing, that's for sure," coach Bryan Patton said. "Some of these games are tough early on, but it was good getting us back playing. I think the girls are excited about the postseason."
Gahanna is led by junior guards Edyn Battle and Morgan Darnell but also have a pair of talented freshmen in Gabby Anderson and Bella Ward, both of whom play guard and forward and are among the team's top on-ball defenders, according to Bailey.
Should Coffman reach a district final, it would play sixth-seeded Westerville South, 15th-seeded Thomas Worthington, 14th-seeded Dresden Tri-Valley or 30th-seeded Walnut Ridge on March 2 at Ohio Dominican.
Coffman beat Westerville South 72-68 on Jan. 29.
"(Gahanna) kind of jumped into our bracket," Patton said. "They've got a good team with a lot of athleticism and some girls that have won at (a high) level. They've played a good schedule, and it's going to be a tough team to face in a district semifinal."
Girls swimmers place third at district meet
With three individuals advancing in two events apiece and all three relays also moving on to the Division I state meet, the girls swimming and diving team turned in a third-place finish (228 points) at the district meet Feb. 15 at Ohio State behind Upper Arlington (306) and New Albany (295) as 27 teams scored.
Hannah Bailey captured district championships in the 100-yard butterfly (54.26 seconds) and 100 breaststroke (1:02.1) and is seeded second in both events at state, which will be held Friday, Feb. 22, and Saturday, Feb. 23, at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
Ellie Andrews was district champion in the 200 individual medley (2:03.73) and runner-up in the 100 breast (1:02.57). She is seeded fifth at state in the 200 IM and third in the 100 breast.
Kristyn Sabol was district runner-up in the 200 freestyle (1:50.01) and placed third in the 100 fly (55.56). She is seeded seventh at state in the 200 free and ninth in the 100 fly.
"We just want to have fun," Andrews said. "As long as you work hard, you know it'll pay off. I'm super excited about state."
Also placing second at district were the 200 medley relay of Cameron Das, Andrews, Bailey and Ryoka Nishibori (1:44.51, eighth seed at state), the 200 free relay of Sabol, Nishibori, Ava Warren and Bailey (1:35.72, fourth) and the 400 free relay of Sabol, Nishibori, Warren and Andrews (3:29.99, sixth).
"We swam really well last week to try to get kids (to district), so the kids that were rested swam pretty well," coach Steve VonSchriltz said. "The girls rested for this week are doing really well and they're actually going to be tapered more for next week."
Boys swimmers win two district titles
Featuring championships by Zak Birnbrich in the 100 fly (50.21) and the 400 free relay (3:08.5), the boys swimming and diving team finished fourth (216) at district behind champion Jerome (301) as 27 teams scored.
Birnbrich is the ninth seed for the state meet and swam on the 400 free relay along with Andy Shepard, Ethan Shaw and Will Randall that is seeded eighth.
"It felt awesome (to win the 400 free relay)," Shaw said. "We worked all season for it and it felt so good to see all of our hard work pay off. We hope to be on the podium (this) weekend and I think we've got a good shot."
Also advancing to state were Ethan Shaw in the 200 free (1:42.28, fourth at district) and 500 free (4:33.91, third), Brendan Oshida in the 100 breast (58.29, sixth), the 200 medley relay of Zac Stump, Oshida, Birnbrich and Cole Northup (1:35.98, fourth) and the 200 free relay of Northup, Shaw, Birnbrich and Randall (1:26.75, tied for fourth).
Shaw is seeded seventh at state in the 500 free.
"The guys are swimming really well," VonSchriltz said.
Boys basketball team moves on to tourney
After having its hopes of a perfect season end with a 53-51 loss to Upper Arlington on Feb. 15, the boys basketball team bounced back with an 84-69 victory over Parkersburg (West Virginia) South on Feb. 16 at home.
Dominiq Penn had 23 points and Luke Bartemes scored 19 against Parkersburg South as the Shamrocks improved to 20-1 overall.
Coffman, which already had secured the OCC-Central Division title before playing UA, finished 9-1 in the league and the Golden Bears went 8-2 to place second.
The top-seeded Shamrocks will open the Division I district tournament Saturday, Feb. 23, at home against 46th-seeded Whetstone. The winner will play host to 47th-seeded Franklin Heights in a second-round game March 1.
Wrestlers wrap up outright league title
With a 79-0 victory over Hilliard Davidson on Feb. 14, the wrestling team earned the outright OCC-Central championship, finishing 5-0 in league duals. The Shamrocks won eight matches and received six forfeit wins against the Wildcats.
Then on Feb. 16 in the 12-team Nye Cardinal Classic at St. Charles, the Shamrocks scored 336 points to capture the title. Earning titles were Ismael Ayoub (126 pounds), Niko Gonzalez (132), Leo Alvarez (160), Lennox Wolak (182), Seth Shumate (195) and Riley Ucker (220).
Coffman opens the postseason Saturday, Feb. 23, with a 10-team Division I sectional at Marysville, where the top four finishers in each weight class advance to the district tournament March 1 and 2 at Hilliard Darby.
Hockey team wins two overtime games
The 10th-seeded hockey team will get another shot at the area's best team when it plays top-seeded Jerome in a third-round district tournament game Saturday, Feb. 23, at OhioHealth Ice Haus.
The winner plays fourth-seeded New Albany or fifth-seeded St. Charles in a district semifinal Sunday, Feb. 24, at the Ice Haus. The district final is March 2 at the same site.
Coffman, which lost to Jerome three times during the regular season, is 12-20 heading into its fourth matchup with the Celtics.
The Shamrocks beat 12th-seeded Beavercreek 5-4 in two overtimes on a goal by Cam Andrews in a first-round game Feb. 15 at the Ice Haus. Then on Feb. 16 in a second-round contest at the Ice Haus, Coffman rallied from a 3-1 deficit to beat 14th-seeded Thomas Worthington 4-3 in overtime as Alexander Willis scored the game-winner on a power play.
Below is the coming schedule for the Coffman gymnastics team:
Feb. 23 -- District meet at Worthington Kilbourne. Top three teams advance to state team meet March 1 at Hilliard Bradley and top eight finishers in each event and the all-around advance to state individual meet March 2 at Bradley.