Bryson Lane was smiling ear to ear as the Olentangy Orange High School boys basketball team wrapped up a berth in its first Division I district semifinal since 2013.
A season ago, the Pioneers lost a second-round game 65-48 at Logan to open the postseason, and the disappointment lingered with Lane throughout the past year.
The senior point guard scored 23 points with four 3-pointers to help the 13th-seeded Pioneers defeat 20th-seeded Delaware 66-59 in the second round March 1 at home.
"It's nice to make it (to a district semifinal) after last year," said Lane, whose team was 16-7 before playing top-seeded Dublin Coffman on March 6 in a district semifinal at Worthington Christian Middle School. "We had big goals last year and didn't do it. It kind of stung and it stuck with me. It's nice to keep going and make it past the first (postseason game)."
The Orange-Coffman winner plays ninth-seeded Newark or 12th-seeded Walnut Ridge in a district final Saturday, March 9, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, and that winner advances to a regional semifinal Wednesday, March 13, at Ohio Dominican against Canal Winchester, Hilliard Bradley, Pickerington North or Thomas Worthington.
The regional final is March 16 at Ohio Dominican.
"We are so proud of this group," coach Anthony Calo said. "They are good kids and they deserve to win. We wanted to see them get one. We thought we were a tournament team and could show well outside of our league."
Against Delaware, the Pioneers were 8-for-11 on 3-point attempts in the first half. They led 18-8 after one quarter and 36-18 at halftime.
"We were defending tough against some bigger guys," Calo said. "Our kids are tough and did a good job. We have been smaller the whole year and maybe they went on our line (on the bracket) because they thought they could bully us, but we have tough kids. We were tough defensively, and it certainly helps when you shoot the leather off the basketball."
Ryan Cutler had 22 points with three 3s, and Andre Irvin added 16 points.
"I always have wanted to play in a district final and I'll do everything in my power to get there," senior guard Ryan Ballinger said. "I'm sure everyone else will as well."
Freshman qualifies for state in wrestling
Freshman Mitchell Broskie will be the lone competitor for the wrestling team in the Division I state tournament Thursday, March 7, to Saturday, March 9, at Ohio State.
Broskie finished fourth at 160 pounds in the district tournament March 1 and 2 at Hilliard Darby. He lost to Delaware's Emmett Cain 14-8 in the third-place match.
In his state-qualifying match, Broskie defeated Upper Arlington's David Soghomonyan 12-2. On Feb. 23 in a sectional at UA, he lost to Soghomonyan 15-9 in a semifinal match.
"Mitchell wrestled great (last) weekend and put things together," coach Scott Tressler said. "Every time Mitchell has wrestled a kid a second time, he always has gotten better. He always made adjustments, and he is very coachable. He did that against (Soghomon-yan). ... Mitchell made some adjustments, and it paid off for him."
Junior Tristan Bluntschly (170) was fifth at district and is a state alternate. Senior Cole Jackson and junior Rocco Torio (132) both finished sixth.
Seniors Matt Hipsher (145; 0-2) and Zach Stevenson (heavyweight; 0-2), junior Alex Lopez (195; 1-2) and sophomore Zach Miller (138; 1-2) also competed.
"I think this is first time in my more than 10 years as a head coach that we have had a lot of skin issues that caused wrestlers to be scratched," said Tressler, whose team finished 13th (47 points) at district behind champion Coffman (170) as 36 teams scored. "I know the Wilmington district had (about) 13 kids who were scratched. There is a possibility with all of the skin issues that Tristan might get into state. We'll have to wait and see."
Bowling teams end season at district
The boys bowling team finished sixth (3,814) and the girls team was ninth (3,053) in the Division I district tournament March 2 at HP Lanes, ending their seasons.
Sophomore Marcus Turner led the boys by rolling a 620 to tie for 11th of 106 participants. Whitehall's Jason Kefauver (654) was the third and final individual qualifier for state.
Also competing for the Pioneers were senior Brandon Tansky and junior Jake Norz (both 569, tied for 34th), junior Tanner Davidson (541, 57th) and freshman Jake Burre (531, 62nd).
Westerville Central (4,243), Marion Harding (4,216) and Westerville South (4,015) advanced to state.
For the girls, Central (3,785), Big Walnut (3,629) and South (3,465) qualified for state.
Freshman Eve Wicks led Orange with a 504 that tied her for 26th of 104 bowlers. Delaware's Kelsey Rohrer (580) was the third and final state qualifier.
Senior Mckenzie Peterson (469, 41st), junior Raymie Shields (452, 52nd) and junior Jen Wu (396, 73rd) all rolled three games.