Hilliard Davidson High School boys basketball coach Tim Congrove knows the loss will sting for a while, but he was quick to focus on his team's commitment after falling 72-65 to fourth-seeded Olentangy Liberty in a Division I district final March 9 at Greater Columbus Convention Center.
The sixth-seeded Wildcats, who had beaten Liberty 64-62 on Jan. 22, finished 20-6 overall.
"I'm so proud of the way they fought (March 9)," said Congrove, who was named district Coach of the Year. "It's one thing I know I'm always going to get from them. They're going to battle to the very end and they definitely did that."
Forward Jacob Drees, who was one of 10 seniors, had a game-high 33 points, making seven of the Wildcats' 11 3-pointers, and senior forward Christian Gillilan added 10 points.
Senior guard Ben Roderick had 29 points to lead the Patriots, who improved to 22-4 and advanced to play Pickerington Central in a regional semifinal Thursday, March 14, at Ohio Dominican.
Senior guard Caleb Stimmel helped Davidson reach the district final, making a 3-pointer with nine seconds remaining to lift the Wildcats to a 57-55 win over 16th-seeded Olentangy in a district semifinal March 6 at Marysville.
Junior center Gage Keys had a team-high 16 points, followed by Stimmel with 13 and Drees with 11.
Drees, who has committed to Cedarville University, averaged a team-high 12.6 points and 9.2 rebounds and was first-team all-OCC-Central Division and second-team all-district. Gillilan (11.3 points per game) and Keys (11.2 ppg) both were second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district.
Stimmel was special mention all-league and senior guard Carson Felicetty was honorable mention all-league.
Senior guard Ethan Royer averaged a team-high 4.1 assists.
"We had a great season," Royer said. "We had a lot of leadership with this senior class. We have 10 guys in this senior class and it's tough to go out like this. The class as a whole left its mark. One guy isn't going to all that much. It's about the team. This 2019 team did a lot of great things for the school."
In addition to Keys, junior guard Evan Tekancic is eligible to return.
Davidson went 7-3 in the OCC-Central to finish third behind champion Dublin Coffman (9-1).
"I'm so proud of the seniors," Congrove said. "I love each and every one of them, the amount of time they put in, the effort and energy. It's hard for me to put it into words how proud I am of them. I hope they understand the things that they've learned through the program as far as accountability, leadership, teamwork. I'm know they're going to be successful whatever they do in life."
DeWeese wrestles at state tourney
Luke DeWeese represented the wrestling team in the Division I state tournament held March 7-9 at Ohio State.
The senior went 0-2 at 152 pounds to finish the season 20-6.
DeWeese, who was one of seven seniors, opened March 7 with an 8-5 loss to Maple Heights' Antoine Holloway before losing 11-2 to Sylvania Northview's Conner Liber in a consolation match later that day.
"We're extremely happy," said coach Chris Kline, who completed his first season. "Luke is an awesome kid and it was awesome to see him achieve his dream of getting (to state). It's not what he wanted, but we're really proud of his efforts this season. He had a great year."
DeWeese earned his first state berth by going 5-1 and placing third in the district tournament March 1 and 2 at Darby.
Also at district, junior Teraun Dunseth went 1-2 at 113 to finish 12-11, senior Zak Hughey went 0-2 at 195 to finish 24-13 and freshman Dez Gartrell went 0-2 at 145 to finish 15-16.
Others eligible to return are juniors Braden Eaton (220), Dylan Evans (170), Nick Lingaman (182) and Jackson Sowers (138), sophomore Alan Morales (120) and freshmen Quin Hopping (126), Domanic Martinez (120), Marquis Shaw (106) and Jake Smith (132).
"(The seniors) were special kids I won't forget," Kline said. "It was a lot of fun this year and we just have to keep going."