The roll that the Worthington Christian High School boys basketball team closed the regular season on continued into the Division III district tournament.

The Warriors rode a 12-game winning streak into their matchup with sixth-seeded Grandview in a district semifinal March 5 at Dublin Jerome.

Seeded second, Worthington Christian opened the postseason with a 66-46 win over 19th-seeded Northridge on Feb. 25 and beat 22nd-seeded Mount Gilead 64-39 in a second-round game March 2.

The Warriors were 20-4 before facing Grandview. The teams had split a pair of regular-season games, with Worthington Christian losing 62-56 on Dec. 8 before winning 43-32 on Jan. 18.

"We have not turned the ball over nearly as much as we did at the beginning of the season," sophomore guard Tyler Kindberg said. "We've outrebounded our opponents. We've also all figured out our roles on the team and we've begun to execute better than we used to. Everyone on the team is really close, especially right now, and that chemistry is something that really helps our team excel."

Against Mount Gilead, D.J. Moore had 21 points, Nakimba Mullins scored 13 and Kindberg scored 11 as the Warriors held the Indians to 16 first-half points.

The contest marked the return of junior guard Derrick Hardin, who had missed the previous seven games because of injury. He scored three points.

The Worthington Christian-Grandview winner plays third-seeded Johnstown or eighth-seeded Marion Pleasant in a district final Friday, March 8, at Greater Columbus Convention Center.

The district champion faces Genoa Area, Metamora Evergreen, Oregon Cardinal Stritch or Bloomdale Elmwood in a regional semifinal Wednesday, March 13, at Bowling Green. The regional final is March 16 at the same site.

Johnstown was 18-4 and Pleasant was 18-6 heading into their district semifinal March 5. The Johnnies, who were district runners-up last season, are led by 6-foot-7 senior Owen Hazelbaker, a first-team all-district honoree who averages 16 points.

Pleasant senior guard Nick Kimmel averages 15 points and was second-team all-district.

Moore was averaging a team-high 18.5 points for the Warriors through 24 games.

Girls basketball team takes leap forward

After going 13-10 and placing third in the MSL-Ohio Division last season, the girls basketball team finished 21-3 overall and won the league championship this season with a 7-1 mark.

The Warriors' success came despite having just one key senior in forward CeCi Dalton and having to get acclimated to a new system under coach Chris Joseph.

Worthington Christian, which went 169-50 with four district titles from 1997-2006 under Joseph before he returned this winter, had its season end with a 51-39 loss to third-seeded Cardington on Feb. 26 in a Division III district semifinal.

"We got in foul trouble real early and that hurt," Joseph said. "They were just big and we had a hard time keeping them off the boards. It was well within reach, but pretty much we lost the game in the first half. We're not real efficient offensively yet, but our girls played with a lot of heart."

The second-seeded Warriors, who trailed Cardington 32-21 at halftime, beat Bexley 30-14 on Feb. 8 and Columbus Academy 41-29 on Feb. 16 to wrap up the league title. They then beat the 15th-seeded Vikings 49-22 in the second round of the district tournament Feb. 23.

All but two of Worthington Christian's points against Cardington were scored by players who are eligible to return, led by sophomore guard Katherine Weakley with 16 points.

Dalton, who averaged three points, was the top senior.

Weakley averaged 16.6 points and was named first-team all-district, freshman wing player Blessing King averaged 7.7 points and was third-team all-district and junior guard Mianna Hartings averaged 5.4 points.

Junior guard Eliana Styer, sophomore guard Libby Dalton and freshman forward Kendyl Burns also were key contributors.

Others eligible to return include junior guard Ashley Hall, sophomore forward Izzie Slaughter, freshman guard Jaeda Tagoe and freshman forward Anna Schwartz.

"When you have girls that play this hard and with heart, the skill level is going to come," Joseph said. "Defensively, we played really well because of how hard they played. On offense is where we have to put the work in in the offseason. We have some nice young girls coming up."

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek