Coach Todd Phillips continues to look for consistency as his Bexley boys basketball team prepares for the Division II district tournament.
The Lions entered the season as an inexperienced unit facing a tough schedule. They enter the postseason at 5-17 overall.
"We are still not as consistent as we should be," Phillips said. "We still have not found consistency in practice every day. But I think that when we have good stretches in games, it's better than we were doing at the beginning of the year.
"We really haven't put a full 32 minutes together, and I think it's because these kids don't yet practice as consistently as we have in the past. I do see progression individually."
The Lions finished 0-12 in the MSL-Ohio Division. Co-champions Whitehall and Worthington Christian went 9-3 and third-place Grandview went 8-4.
"It was bad timing for us to have a serious downturn in our roster, and everyone else got better," Phillips said. "I think outside of one of the OCC heavy-hitter divisions, it's one of the best leagues in central Ohio. Every team has its star and some of them have two stars, and they all have good coaches. It's a good league."
The Lions closed the regular season with a 51-45 league loss to Wellington on Feb. 14 as Damian Davis had 15 points and Bryan Williams added 12.
Davis scored 23 points, including a shot in the lane with 15 seconds left, to lift Bexley over Independence 66-65 on Feb. 11. Cade Phillips had 13 points and Chis Mitchell added 12.
"I think we've learned that if we're going to win we need to start buying in as a whole to what the coaches want. At the beginning of the season, we weren't really doing that very well when we lost seven straight," Cade Phillips said. "Since then, we have beaten a couple of good teams. Next year we will have more depth, and it will be a better year for us."
The 18th-seeded Lions open the postseason Wednesday, Feb. 26, at ninth-seeded Watterson. The winner plays 17th-seeded Lakewood on Feb. 29 in the second round at the home of the better seed.
Watterson closed the regular season with two consecutive victories to improve to 11-11.
"I have known (Watterson) coach (Vince) Lombardo for years going back to when I coached at Whetstone," coach Phillips said. "We played them three years ago, (losing 55-39 in the first round). We'll have 11 days to get ready for it, so we'll see what we can do."
Swim teams close season at district
Junior Ally Grieshop and freshman Nicholas Minkin helped to lead the swimming and diving teams in the Division II district meet Feb. 12 at Ohio State, but the Lions fell short of reaching state.
Minkin was fifth in the 100-yard backstroke (56.82 seconds) to lead the boys, who placed 10th (91 points) behind champion Granville (253) as 34 teams scored.
He also was on the eighth-place 200 medley relay (1:47.6) with junior Ryan Kemp and sophomores Eli Dresbach and Quinn Hall, and the eighth-place 400 freestyle relay (3:36.39) with senior Hunter Johnson, junior Atticus Keels and Hall.
Dresbach was ninth in the 500 free (5:24.89) and Hall was ninth in the 100 breaststroke (1:04.9).
Grieshop led the girls by finishing sixth in the 500 free (5:26.08) and eighth in the 200 free (2:00.91). The Lions placed 11th (79) behind champion Columbus School for Girls (401) as 31 teams scored.
Senior Leah Stamm was eighth in the 50 free (25.67) and Grieshop, junior Arianna Martin, freshman Bridget O'Reilly and junior Olivia Mitchell were eighth in the 400 free relay (3:52.84).
Wrestlers fall just short of league title
The wrestling team fell one point short of winning its fourth consecutive MSL-Ohio title.
In the league tournament Feb. 15, the host Lions totaled 82 points and champion Buckeye Valley finished with 83. Whitehall (70) was third, followed by Academy (35) and Grandview (23).
Carter Brenner (138 pounds), Izaya Faulkner (160), Ezra Kerns (170) and Clifford Padmore (182) won titles for Bexley. Blake Brenner (120), Jeremiah Clinton (132), Zeke Poulos (126) and Tarun Rai (113) were runners-up, and Adam Keels (145), Sean Palmer (106), Luke Robinson (220) and Tommy Webster (195) all placed third.
The boys and girls bowling teams will open their postseasons this week, and the girls basketball team played its postseason opener earlier in the week.
The boys bowling team will compete in the Division I sectional Friday, Feb. 21, at HP Lanes. The girls will compete the following day.
The girls basketball team opened the Division II district tournament Feb. 17 against Sparta Highland. The winner plays at Beechcroft on Feb. 21 in the second round.