For the first time since 2017, the St. Charles basketball team has won a CCL championship.

The Cardinals' final league contest will determine if they win the title outright or share it with DeSales.

St. Charles improved to 6-1 in the league by defeating the host Stallions 69-59 on Feb. 7 thanks to a strong defensive effort and an 18-for-21 performance from the free-throw line. DeSales finished 6-2 in the CCL.

"That's four (CCL titles) in six years and our 20th all-time," coach Jacob Daniel said. "That's what we have been saying all year. It's corny, but we have been saying, 'Let's get 20 in 2020.' "

Sophomore guard Jared Frey led St. Charles with 22 points. He went 9-for-11 on free throws.

"We came out and realized the CCL was on the line, and we made it happen in the second half," said Frey, whose team trailed 31-30 at halftime. "It's my first time (winning a title), and there is no better feeling."

Senior center Vic Searls and sophomore forward Isaiah Wilkins both scored 12 points, and the Cardinals nearly doubled DeSales in rebounding, 36-19.

St. Charles made 10 of 12 free throws in the fourth quarter to pull away.

"Free throws are always a focus for us in practice," Searls said. "We shoot at least 50 a day. ... It's a great feeling (to win a league title)."

The Cardinals must defeat visiting Ready on Friday, Feb. 14, in their regular-season finale to win the outright title. They beat the Silver Knights 70-57 on Jan. 10.

"Ready is dangerous," Daniel said. "They could come in on our senior night and whack us. We have to be ready to play."

The Cardinals didn't stumble after the big win over DeSales, defeating Centennial 71-61 one day later to improve to 16-5 overall. Frey scored 18 points with three 3-pointers, and Searls also had 18 points. Doogie James had 13 points and Chase Walker added 11.

St. Charles is seeded 12th for the Division I district tournament. It opens Feb. 22 at home against 25th-seeded Big Walnut in the first round.

Swim team finishes second at sectional

The swimming and diving team sent a large contingent to the Division I district meet, with divers competing Feb. 12 and swimmers vying Thursday, Feb. 13, at Ohio State.

The Cardinals finished second in a 12-team sectional Feb. 8 at Kenyon with 413.5 points, behind Dublin Jerome (420.5).

Mitchell List won the 100-yard breaststroke (57.53 seconds), and Alex Nash (100 butterfly, 52.47), Lukas Rakowsky (50 freestyle, 21.74) and Ben Stevenson (200 free, 1:31.04) all placed third. Spencer Aurnou-Rhees was fourth in the 200 individual medley (1:56.09) and 500 free (4:50.93), and Will Borchers (200 free, 1:47.07) and Thomas Lennox (100 backstroke, 54.06) also placed fourth.

The 200 free relay (1:31.04) of Gabe Nervez, Rakowsky, Stevenson and Sean Noonan was third. The 400 free relay (3:22.46) of Chase Bateman, Aurnou-Rhees, Ryan Alfred and Borchers was fourth, as was the 200 medley relay (1:39.3) of Lennox, Seth Miller, Nash and Ryan Seidt.

The winner of each event and 27 at-large qualifiers in each event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectional sites advanced to district.

At district, the top two finishers in each swimming event automatically advance to state Feb. 21 and 22 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths will be awarded in each event based on district times statewide.

Also, the top six divers at district advanced to state.

Hockey team preps for Blue Jackets Cup

The hockey team heads into the Blue Jackets Cup at 20-7-3-1 overall.

The Cardinals finished second in the CHC-Red Division at 11-3-1-1 with 24 points, behind Upper Arlington (15-0-1, 31 points).

St. Charles edged Olentangy Liberty for second after securing a point in a 1-0 overtime loss to the Patriots on Feb. 8. Liberty finished 10-3-3 with 23 points.

The Cardinals are seeded second for the Blue Jackets Cup and open against seventh-seeded Olentangy Berlin on Thursday, Feb. 13, at Chiller North. St. Charles defeated the Bears 4-3 on Feb. 9 to close the regular season. Nick Currie scored the game-winner off a pass from Marco Giambrone in the final minute.

The first-round winner plays third-seeded Liberty or sixth-seeded Olentangy Orange in a semifinal Saturday, Feb. 15, at OhioHealth Ice Haus. The final is Sunday, Feb. 16, at the Ice Haus.

Three football players make college decisions

Three members of the football program made their college commitments official Feb. 5.

Thomas Berry will play at Denison, Connor Carretta will play at Bucknell and Roland Rowe will play at Notre Dame College in South Euclid.

shennen@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekHennen

Schedules

Below are the coming schedules for the St. Charles basketball and wrestling teams:

BASKETBALL

*Feb. 14 -- Home vs. Ready. The Cardinals defeated the Silver Knights 70-57 on Jan. 10.

WRESTLING

Feb. 15 -- Nye Cardinal Classic at home

*League contest