Dan Lee decided that if he had an open shot during the final few moments of the second overtime of the Dublin Jerome High School boys basketball team's game against Scioto on Feb. 15 that he'd pull up for a jumper.
That moment came with 11.5 seconds left and the junior guard seized the opportunity by scoring just inside the 3-point line.
Senior forward Matthew Montgomery put the finishing touches on a 52-51 victory with a blocked shot moments later.
Just as important as beating the Irish, though, is what the win might do for the Celtics' psyche as they prepare for what they believe is a difficult but navigable slate in the Division I district tournament.
"I love it," Lee said. "We're on a roll right now. All of our losses have come down to one or two possessions and we've shown we can finally finish the game even if it's a close game in double overtime."
Jerome was 14-7 overall before closing the regular season Feb. 19 against Westerville North but must play its postseason opener on the road Saturday, Feb. 23, at 10th-seeded Canal Winchester.
The 18th-seeded Celtics, who were runners-up in the OCC-Cardinal Division at 11-3 behind Hilliard Bradley (14-0), will be facing an Indians team that finished as runner-up in the OCC-Capital.
Canal Winchester has lost three of its last four games but is 18-4 and features senior guard Brady Snyder, 6-foot-4 junior wing player Bilal Sow and 6-5 junior forward Cole Metzler. Snyder averages 19 points and has more than 1,100 career points, Sow also averages 19 points and Metzler averages 14.
The winner plays host to 25th-seeded Dresden Tri-Valley in a second-round game March 1, with that winner likely facing fifth-seeded Pickerington North in a district semifinal March 6.
"We've seen (Canal Winchester) on film and they're good inside and Snyder can flat shoot the rock," coach Richie Beard said. "They play fast, they score a lot of points, they shoot a lot of 3s and they're very, very similar to us with the way they play offensively. We're a little bit different defensively in the way we pressure, but it should be a really good game for us. It'll be super high-paced with a lot of (3-pointers) shot and a lot of 3s made. It could come down to the last possession with two high-powered offenses going against each other."
Jerome had won three of its previous four games before playing Westerville North, with its only loss during that stretch coming Feb. 12 when it fell 53-44 to Pickerington North. The Celtics trailed by only one point heading into the final period.
Against Scioto, Trey Ballangee and Joseph Gatien each had nine points and Lee scored seven.
"Dan Lee was able to hit a big shot for us," Beard said. "We're averaging 10 3s a game and we ended up with (six). It was a low-possession game, but we've got 12 seniors that are very battle-tested."
Boys swimmers earn district title
The boys swimming and diving team heads into the final meet of its season coming off a second consecutive Division I district championship.
After scoring 303 points to win its first district title a season ago, the Celtics totaled 301 on Feb. 15 at Ohio State to defend their title as 27 teams scored.
Leading the way was the winning 200-yard freestyle relay of Ian Smith, Reno James, Matt Shepard and Max Scott (1 minute, 24.63 seconds). The relay is seeded fifth for the state meet Friday, Feb. 22, and Saturday, Feb. 23, at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
Jerome shared the state title in the 200 free relay last season with Cincinnati St. Xavier.
"We clocked our fastest time in that event (this season), which puts us in a good spot," Scott said. "Being in the 1:24-mid range is a good place to be. It'll be a good race (at state), for sure."
Earning district runner-up finishes were James in the 200 individual medley (1:53.18) and Scott in both the 50 free (20.49) and 100 free (45.63). James is seeded 10th at state and Scott is seeded second in the 100 free and third in the 50 free.
The 400 free relay of Smith, James, Austin Davis and Scott placed third (3:08.88) at district and is seeded 10th at state.
Also qualifying for state were Davis in the 200 IM (1:55.47, sixth at district), James in the 100 breaststroke (58.87, seventh), Reid Newman in the 100 butterfly (51.21, fourth), Carson Smith in the 500 free (4:38.67, sixth), Ian Smith in the 100 free (46.82, seventh) and 100 breast (58.2, fifth) and the 200 medley relay of Davis, Ronith Doddi, Newman and Matt Shepard (1:36.63, fifth).
"We've been swimming great," coach Patrick Johnston said.
Girls swimming team preps for state meet
The girls swimming and diving team heads into state after placing sixth (147) at district behind champion Upper Arlington (306) as 27 teams scored.
Maya Geringer captured the 500 free championship (4:53.1) and is seeded second at state and placed third in the 200 free (1:51.65) and is seeded 11th.
"It was a good day," Geringer said. "Our relays did really well. Being able to accomplish (winning the 500 free) was exciting."
Finishing second at district was Kelsey Cooper in the 100 backstroke (56.79). She is seeded 13th at state.
Also qualifying for state were the 200 medley relay of Kelsey Cooper, Brenna Cooper, Geringer and Macy Weeks (1:47.64, fifth at district) and the 200 free relay of Brenna Cooper, Kelsey Cooper, Weeks and Geringer (1:38.91, seventh).
"It was really nerve-wracking to be seeded first (in the 100 back)," Kelsey Cooper said. "I'm hoping to go 56-low hopefully (at state), but I have to go out faster."
Girls basketball team set to open tourney
The 26th-seeded girls basketball team will open the Division I district tournament Friday, Feb. 22, at home against 27th-seeded Westerville Central after having a first-round bye.
The winner plays second-seeded Newark or 45th-seeded Briggs in a district semifinal Wednesday, Feb. 27, at a site to be announced. The district final is March 2 at Ohio Dominican.
The Celtics closed the regular season Feb. 8 with a 47-40 victory over Delaware to improve to 10-12 overall and finish 7-7 in the OCC-Cardinal.
On Dec. 11, Jerome led Central by one point heading into the fourth quarter but lost 54-48 as Jamie Cline had 12 points and Demi Brewer and Amaris Lowery each scored nine.
Najayah Shepherd, a 5-9 senior forward, had 20 points and 5-9 junior guard Mabinty Kebe scored 15 for the Warhawks, who enter the postseason at 9-13.
Newark was eighth in the final state poll and is 21-3 heading into the matchup against Briggs.
Hockey team moves on to third round
The top-seeded hockey team opened the district tournament with a 15-0 victory over 25th-seeded Cincinnati Elder on Feb. 16 at OhioHealth Ice Haus.
The victory moves the Celtics into a third-round game against 10th-seeded Coffman on Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Ice Haus, with the winner advancing to face 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 Ice Haus.
Jerome, which beat Coffman by 10-0 scores Nov. 30 and Jan. 11 and also defeated the Shamrocks 11-1 on Feb. 7, is 31-2-0-1.
Against Elder, Ethan French had four goals and two assists, Dalton Miller had two goals and five assists and Nick Augenstein had two goals and four assists while Ryan Norkin picked up the win in goal.
Wrestlers to begin postseason action
The wrestling team will compete in a 10-team Division I sectional Saturday, Feb. 23, at Upper Arlington, where the top four finishers in each weight class advance to the district tournament March 1 and 2 at Hilliard Darby.
On Feb. 14, the Celtics lost to Scioto 37-36 to finish 4-3 in the OCC-Cardinal.
Below is the coming schedule for the Jerome 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.