The Watterson girls basketball team trailed host Hartley by one point with seven seconds left on Jan. 23 after giving up a three-point play.
In stepped junior Kilyn McGuff, who took a pass behind half-court, drove to the basket and scored on a layup to give the Eagles a 36-35 win.
What transpired on Watterson's previous possession, though, epitomizes what the Eagles have tried to embody this season.
"(Hartley) hit a shot late, got an and-one and Kilyn said, 'Give me the ball,'" coach Tom Woodford said. "That's the leadership that ... she's growing into. She also trusted her teammates at the end because on (Watterson's previous possession) she kicked it to (Camille) Gregory in the corner and she drained a 3. That trust in your own ability and your own teammates ... I'm so proud of them."
Watterson's hopes of an unbeaten regular season ended two days after the win over Hartley, as the Eagles lost 59-57 at Westerville South on Jan. 25 and then fell to Jonathan Alder 63-56 on Jan. 27. South was third and Watterson was fourth in last week's Division I area coaches poll, while Jonathan Alder was second in the Division II area rankings.
Still, the Eagles have the opportunity to win the CCL championship outright after sharing it with Hartley last season.
Watterson was 17-2 overall and 3-0 in the CCL after defeating Ready 54-22 on Jan. 30 and before playing the Silver Knights again Feb. 4. The Eagles also play Thursday, Feb. 6, at DeSales before closing the regular season Tuesday, Feb. 11, at home against Hartley.
The Hawks are 2-1 in the league entering their game Feb. 6 at Ready.
"We needed a bucket and I was not going to let us lose," McGuff said of the win over Hartley. "I said, 'Give me the ball. Let's go.' But really what led to that was my teammate made the 3 and gave us confidence and set the tone for the last basket."
Watterson received the second seed for the Division I district tournament and will face 40th-seeded Westerville Central in the first round Feb. 15 at home.
The players and some of their family members spent several minutes celebrating inside the locker room after the Eagles overcame adversity to beat the Hawks.
Senior guard Paige Woodford, the team's second-leading scorer and a three-year starter, missed the contest because of sickness. She returned to play against South and scored 20 points against Jonathan Alder.
Junior guard/wing player Danielle Grim, who averaged 8.1 points through 14 games, and senior guard Emily Dixon have endured injuries that leave their status going forward uncertain.
In addition, junior forward Vini Paradiso has a foot injury and also was battling illness but is expected to return at some point.
Sophomore forward Kiley Graham scored 16 points against South, representing one of her best offensive games of the season, and sophomore forward Norah Dorley contributed 10 points against Jonathan Alder.
In addition, sophomore guard Maddi Bellisari has been seeing increased minutes after spending most of the season on junior varsity.
Against Ready, McGuff had 16 points, Woodford scored 15 and Dorley added seven.
"We have faith in our sophomores," McGuff said.
Wrestling team places third in CCL
During its return to CCL action after not competing in the league dual tournament last winter, the wrestling team split its four matches to finish third at 2-2, behind Hartley (4-0) and St. Charles (3-1).
On Jan. 23 at St. Charles, the Eagles beat Ready 30-15 and lost to the host Cardinals 33-27.
They then beat DeSales 36-24 and lost to host Hartley 45-11 on Jan. 29.
"As a second-year club, I think we're right where we should be," coach Felix Catheline said. "We're a year away from really being good, but we're a little bit ahead of the curve. I'm pleased. We've got about six guys that I think can contend to qualify for district. That's the goal this year."
Watterson, which is not competing in the team dual tournament that begins Saturday, Feb. 8, next competes Feb. 15 in the Nye Classic at St. Charles.
The Eagles then will compete in the Division II sectional tournament Feb. 28 and 29 at Licking Valley.
Junior Nick Youell (182 pounds) and sophomores Leo Pavell (138), Danny Siegel (170) and Brady White (195) have been leading the way, according to Catheline.
Youell and White weigh approximately the same and have been having regular wrestle-offs to see which one will be at 182 and which will be at 195 in the postseason.
"As a second-year program, we have a lot of good guys and as the season progresses, we're all getting better," Youell said. "We've just got to keep training. It's only a matter of time before we take it to the next level."
Girls bowlers wrap up COHSBC title
With a 1,618-1,507 victory over Walnut Ridge on Jan. 29 at Sawmill Lanes, the girls bowling team captured its second consecutive COHSBC-D Division championship.
Watterson closed the regular season at 15-2 overall and 11-1 in the COHSBC-D, with its only loss coming against Ready, 1,706-1,638 on Jan. 28 at Game of Western Columbus.
The Eagles and Ready split their CCL matches, with Watterson winning the first meeting 1,706-1,661 on Jan. 5. Watterson and Ready tied for the CCL title at 4-2.
Against Walnut Ridge, sophomore Joy Packard rolled a 313 two-game series, followed by senior Isabelle Payton (282) and juniors Rachel Reuter (266), Christina Rose (247) and Chloe Forrest (205).
Payton led the Eagles with a 162.3 average in COHSBC action, followed by Reuter (136.5), Rose (135.9) and junior Madison Shaw (135.4).
The boys team lost its final four regular-season matches, including falling to Walnut Ridge 1,698-1,543 on Jan. 29 at Sawmill Lanes to finish 6-12 overall and 6-7 in the COHSBC-D. The Eagles went 0-8 in the CCL.
Sophomore Jack Kish led the Eagles with a 154.9 average in COHSBC action, followed by senior Jacob Garland (148.0) and sophomores Peter Assaf (139.2) and Quinn Brown (120.8).
Both teams will spend the next two weeks preparing for the Division I postseason, which begins with a boys sectional Feb. 21 and a girls sectional Feb. 22 at HP Lanes.
Below are the coming schedules for the Watterson boys basketball, girls basketball, hockey and swimming & diving teams:
*Feb. 7 -- At Ready. The Eagles lost to the Silver Knights 44-37 on Jan. 3.
Feb. 11 -- At Dublin Scioto
*Feb. 6 -- At DeSales. The Eagles beat the Stallions 23-18 on Jan. 16.
*Feb. 11 -- Home vs. Hartley. The Eagles beat the Hawks 36-35 on Jan. 23.
*Feb. 7 -- Columbus Academy at Chiller Easton
*Feb. 8 -- Cincinnati Moeller at Chiller Dublin
*Feb. 9 -- Dublin Scioto at Chiller Dublin
SWIMMING & DIVING
Feb. 8 -- Division I sectional (girls) and Division II sectional (boys) at Upper Arlington. The winner of each event and 27 at-large qualifiers in each event in Division I and 27 at-large qualifiers in each event in Division II based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectional sites advance to district Feb. 12 (Division II) and Feb. 13 (Division I) at Ohio State. There is no diving at sectional.