As the DeSales High School boys basketball team celebrated a 79-53 win over Independence in the first round of the Division II district tournament Feb. 25, forward Anthony Sciarroni had a question for teammate Kayin Derden.
"I said, 'What's the countdown?' and he said, 'About 30,' " Sciarroni said.
"The countdown" referred to Derden's quest to reach 1,000 career points, a mark of which he was nine shy before the third-seeded Stallions played sixth-seeded Granville in a district semifinal March 5 at Pickerington Central.
While Derden is most proud of an all-around game that saw him average 13.3 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists through 24 games, the 6-foot-2 senior guard did not downplay how important reaching 1,000 points would be to him.
"I've been counting," Derden said, smiling. "It's humbling being up there with some of the best players to have come through this school. It was something I always dreamed of, and I'm happy that work is paying off."
If Derden reaches 1,000 points, he would be the sixth Stallion to do so. He gained considerable ground in two games last week, scoring 22 against 18th-seeded Independence and 13 in a 66-44 home win over 15th-seeded Sparta Highland in a second-round game March 2.
Nick Kellogg, a 2010 graduate who helped the Stallions reach the state tournament his freshman and junior seasons and went on to play at Ohio University, is the program's all-time leading scorer with 1,680 points.
Derden's scoring is only part of why coach Pat Murphy holds him in high regard. Derden led the Stallions in charges with 12 before March 2, was shooting 84 percent from the free-throw line -- including making all 10 of his attempts against Independence -- and worked on increasing his assists from previous seasons.
"He is a complete player. He makes athletic plays around the rim, he makes deep 3-(pointers), he makes free throws and he walls up and takes charges," Murphy said. "He plays the game like a complete player. When he does that, we are pretty good. He leads us in charges and is getting better at delivering when he gets more attention from opposing defenses and finding open guys, too."
Kobe Righter had a game-high 16 points against Highland and Anthony Sciarroni scored 14 as DeSales improved to 16-8.
The DeSales-Granville winner will play second-seeded Jonathan Alder or fourth-seeded Hartley in a district final Saturday, March 9, at Ohio Dominican, with the district champion advancing to a regional semifinal March 14 at Kettering Fairmont.
The Stallions split two CCL games with Hartley, winning 50-47 on Dec. 21 and losing 57-56 in overtime Feb. 1, and fell to Jonathan Alder 44-41 on Feb. 5 on a last-second 3-pointer.
DeSales is seeking the program's eighth district championship and first since 2016.
"I'm just doing everything I can, trying to get into the paint and take good shots and make those shots," Derden said. "I just feel like I have experienced a lot of growth, being able to evolve the game and not just play for myself. I think we've played more as a team."
Blumenscheid reaches state in bowling
Sophomore Skyla Blumenscheid of the girls bowling team will compete in the Division I state tournament Friday, March 8, at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl, the first time DeSales has been represented at state in six years.
Blumenscheid bowled a 581 series with games of 218, 170 and 193 in the district tournament March 2 at HP Lanes to finish fifth of 104 individuals. The top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to state.
Blumenscheid, who averaged 156.5 pins per game during the regular season, was DeSales' only competitor at district and is the team's first state qualifier since current boys coach Miranda Singer advanced in 2013 as a senior. Singer finished eighth at state after being runner-up at district.
Potts set for state wrestling tourney
Cole Potts of the wrestling team will cap a successful season when he competes in the Division II state tournament that runs Thursday, March 7, through Saturday, March 9, at Ohio State.
It will be the first state appearance for Potts, a junior heavyweight who is 35-3 on the season and is coming off a district championship March 2 at Heath. Potts went 4-0 and defeated Minerva's Jarrett Burress in 1 minutes, 42 seconds in the final.
Potts won three of his four matches by pin, defeating Thornville Sheridan's Logan Morris in 1:41 in the first round and Cadiz Harrison Central's Cody Gamble in 1:26 in a semifinal. He beat Lisbon Beaver Local's Daniel Wirth 12-5 in a semifinal.
The top four finishers in each weight class advanced to state.
DeSales tied Jackson for 18th (31 points) behind champion Beaver Local (191) as 44 teams scored.
Potts is the Stallions' first state qualifier since Domenic Carfagna in 2016.
Also competing at district but failing to advance was Kody Goffin, who went 1-2 at 120 and finished the season 32-12.