The Centennial High School boys basketball team found itself shorthanded in the second round of the Division II district tournament and lost at ninth-seeded Bexley 75-53 on March 2.
The Stars, who were seeded 11th of 23 teams and finished 12-11 overall, played without three key players.
Sophomore guard-forward Jaylen Gilbert was injured in the first quarter of a 58-57 home win over 12th-seeded Linden-McKinley in a first-round game Feb. 25 and still was on crutches, sophomore guard Travonne Jackson was home with strep throat and senior guard Amin Mullins had a family obligation.
In addition, junior forward Kelvin Gilliam played limited minutes after suffering an ankle injury in practice Feb. 28.
"This isn't the way you want to finish up, but it is what it is," coach Roosevelt Osborne III said. "We knew (Bexley was) going to really focus on taking (senior forward Myles Martinez) out of the offense, and we needed for others to step in and really contribute on offense for the missing production and to help Myles out. Cameron (Kates) was able to hit some early shots, but we didn't get a lot of others until Tyreek (Gunnell) got to the basket in the fourth quarter.
"We made a ton of turnovers again, and we didn't locate defensively on the perimeter in transition and (Bexley) hurt us there (with 11 3-pointers)."
The Stars trailed 12-11 late in the first quarter before getting outscored 21-4 in the next seven minutes. The Lions led 36-23 at halftime and made consecutive 3s to open the second half.
Kates, a junior guard, led Centennial with 16 points and Gunnell, a sophomore guard, scored 13. Martinez had eight points and nine rebounds.
Against Linden, the Stars overcame a 16-point, first-half deficit. Martinez scored 22 points, including the go-ahead basket with 2.2 seconds left that gave the Stars their only lead in the contest.
Martinez also was fouled on the play and called for a technical for celebrating in the face of the defender. He missed his free throw and Linden missed its two technical free throws before inbounding the ball at midcourt. Martinez stole the inbounds pass and the buzzer sounded.
Jackson had nine points and teamed with junior guard Luchene Davis to force a turnover with 8 seconds left that led to the winning basket. Gilliam scored seven points and Davis and junior forward Ahmed Dada both added six.
Martinez and Mullins were the only seniors on the roster. Martinez averaged 15.1 points and 5.7 rebounds and was named first-team all-district and all-league.
The Stars placed fourth (8-6) in the City League-North Division behind co-champions Beechcroft and Northland (both 12-2).
"Myles set a real good example every single day and I told the rest of the guys to learn from him and come back and do the things he did," Osborne said. "If they really want it, they have to show that they love it and want it. We weren't as good as we should've been with our talent, but then again, most of these guys were sophomores, which explained some of the turnover troubles and poise.
"Myles had an all-state type of season, but he would've been so much better if we had great guard play around him. He may not get that distinction, but that's what he deserves. I'm so proud of him, his work ethic and leadership."
Gilbert averaged 13.2 points and 5.0 rebounds and was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district. Jackson, who averaged 12 points, and Gilliam were honorable mention all-league.
Girls duo bowls at district tourney
Senior Jeslin Deets and sophomore Kylie Crissinger-Acuna represented the girls bowling team in the Division I district tournament March 2 at HP Lanes.
Crissinger-Acuna, making her second district appearance, placed 34th of 104 competitors with a 485 three-game series (151-195-139) and Deets was 37th with a 477 (178-155-144). The top three individuals not on one of three qualifying teams advanced to state.
The duo advanced to district from the sectional Feb. 22 at HP Lanes, where Deets rolled a 495 and Crissinger-Acuna posted a 480.
Deets was the lone senior on the roster. Also competing at sectional were juniors Izabelle Segovia and Sarah Clifton and sophomore Yazmine Segovia. Also on the squad were sophomores Tali Blaha and Sarah Thompson and freshman Alison Murphy-Smock.
The boys team, which had no district qualifiers, loses seniors Jamal Erby, D'Anthony Roberts and Chris Street. But the Stars expect to return their top bowlers in juniors A.J. Grumbling and Joe Thies and sophomore Nick Loudner.
Among others expected back are juniors Matt Campbell and Philip Thomas, sophomores Giovanni Camp and Vincent Flinders and freshman Khmari Loveless.