After battling through several weeks of injuries and illnesses earlier this season, the Centennial boys basketball team now has an intact roster.
The Stars were 9-12 overall entering their regular-season finale Feb. 18 against Olentangy. They finished 7-7 in the City League-North Division.
Centennial has seen forward Kelvin Gilliam and guards Jaylen Gilbert, Travonne Jackson and Syquee Womack battle injuries, while other players missed time because they were sick.
Now that the Stars are healthy, Jackson said they're in good spirits and ready for the postseason. Jackson missed several weeks with a broken thumb and got his cast off in late January.
"I feel like we're good," he said. "What made us struggle is we were injured or sick, and now we're back to full health. I think we should be good going into the tournament."
The 14th-seeded Stars open the Division II district tournament Wednesday, Feb. 26, at home against 15th-seeded Licking Valley. The winner plays at third-seeded DeSales on Feb. 29.
"Everybody's had their moments, we just haven't had enough of them together," coach Roosevelt Osborne III said. "It's just a matter of pulling it together."
Osborne is eager to see what the Stars can do in the postseason given that he hasn't had much of an opportunity to watch them at full strength. With players returning from injury and illness, time had to be spent on conditioning and getting back into game shape.
"I thought we would have an excellent team this year before everybody went out," Osborne said. "(Now that we're healthy) we're back to a more traditional team, and we can be a matchup problem for a lot of teams. It's going to be difficult for anybody who tries to match up with us."
Scoring-wise, the Stars have been led by Jackson and Gilbert, who made first-team all-league. Jackson played in only six of Centennial's first 21 games but averaged 19.3 points, while Gilbert was averaging 14.5.
The Stars also will lean on contributions from guards Jaylon Jackson and Tyreek Gunnell. They were honorable mention all-league.
Travonne Jackson, who scored 27 points in a 71-61 loss to St. Charles on Feb. 8, said the Stars will be working on their defense heading into the postseason.
"I just feel like we need to improve on our help-side defense and stop letting opponents get easy buckets," he said. "If we play solid help-side defense and on-ball defense, we'll be fine."
Roosevelt said the team also will scrimmage against Centennial alumni leading up to the postseason.
"These guys all play college ball. I told them not to take it easy on us," Roosevelt said. "It might not be pretty, but we'll see. I just want our guys to compete with those guys. Those guys are serious about basketball."
Girls bowlers win City title
The girls bowling team defeated Whetstone 1,796-1,659 on Feb. 11 at HP Lanes to capture the City title.
Kylie Crissinger-Acuna led the Stars, rolling a 358 series on games of 189 and 169. Sarah Clifton followed with a 318.
Centennial finished the regular season 11-1 overall and 10-1 in the COHSBC-C.
The boys team finished as runner-up in the City after losing to Briggs 2,166-2,128. Joe Thies rolled games of 254 and 181 for a 435 series, and A.J. Grumbling followed with a 352.
The boys finished the regular season 9-6 overall and 7-5 in the COHSBC-C.
The boys compete in the Division I sectional Friday, Feb. 21, at HP Lanes and the girls compete the next day at the same site. From both sectionals, the top 16 teams and top 16 individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district Feb. 29 at HP Lanes.
Swimmers, divers compete at district
The boys and girls swimming and diving teams concluded their seasons in the Division II district meet Feb. 12 at Ohio State.
Competing for the boys were senior Kyle Juracich in the 50-yard freestyle (11th, 23.69 seconds), senior Evan Massey in the 500 free (27th, 5:55.11), junior Jabe Miller in the 100 butterfly (28th, 1:05.36) and senior Andrew Smith in the 100 backstroke (24th, 1:04.26) and 200 individual medley (19th, 2:31.67).
Sophomores Alec Proudfoot (third, 330.2) and Aiden Szolosi (ninth, 234.4) competed in diving.
The 200 free relay of junior Dominic Richards, Proudfoot, Miller and Juracich was 11th (1:37.6), the 200 medley relay of Richards, Smith, Juracich and Massey was 19th (1:54.93) and the 400 free relay of Smith, Massey, Ford and Miller was 18th (3:50.11).
Competing for the girls were sophomore Anna Dixon in the 500 free (27th, 6:21.5), the 200 medley relay of junior Amanda Varian, senior Cada Dixon, junior Joy Chambers and Anna Dixon (30th, 2:22.2) and the 200 free relay of sophomore Maddie Nelson, Cada Dixon, Varian and Chambers (29th, 2:01.2).
The girls basketball team opens the postseason Friday, Feb. 21, with a second-round Division II district tournament game at Bloom-Carroll.
The wrestling team plays host to the City tournament Saturday, Feb. 22, and then competes in a Division II sectional Feb. 28 and 29 at Licking Valley.