With the postseason approaching, the Briggs boys bowling team is feeling an extra boost of confidence.
The Bruins surpassed 2,000 pins in all of their COHSBC matches this winter while winning the COHSBC-C Division at 12-0. They also overcame one of their biggest challenges to defend their City championship.
In the City roll-off on Feb. 11 at HP Lanes, Briggs, Centennial and Northland played in a tri-match to determine which two would compete in the championship match. Briggs trailed Northland by 56 pins but rallied during the Baker games to roll a 2,036 to finish behind Centennial (2,059) but ahead of the Vikings (2,031).
Then in the championship dual, Briggs defeated Centennial 2,166-2,128.
"We were just mainly making our spares," senior James Pappas said. "We focused really hard and if we didn't get a strike on the first shot, we came back with the next shot. When we're down going into Bakers, we tend to pull it back really well."
In the City championship match, sophomore Tyler Lumbard rolled a 424 two-game series, followed by Pappas (382) and juniors Ryann Browning (359), Zain Alley (299) and Kyle Thy (266).
Centennial led by 20 pins heading into the two Baker games, but Briggs won the first Baker 225-190 and the second Baker 211-188.
"It feels great," Lumbard said. "We bowled great. We came together better as a team and we've got our anchor (in Pappas). He's always pulling us through."
Briggs, along with Beechcroft, Centennial, Eastmoor Academy, Independence, Mifflin, Northland, South, Walnut Ridge, West and Whetstone, will compete in the Division I sectional Friday, Feb. 21, at HP Lanes, where the top 16 teams and top 16 individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district Feb. 29 at the same site.
The Division I girls sectional, which also advances the top 16 teams and top 16 individuals not on qualifying teams, is Saturday, Feb. 22, at HP Lanes.
Centennial defeated Whetstone 1,796-1,659 to win the girls City title. The Stars beat Northland 1,712-1,455 and Whetstone defeated Briggs 1,549-1,544 in semifinals.
Nubians boys squad in tourney mode
The Africentric boys basketball team will attempt to pick up where it left off after a long layoff when it begins the Division III district tournament.
After losing 64-47 to Dublin Coffman in the Jared Sullinger Ohio Scholastic Play by Play Classic on Jan. 25 at Ohio Dominican, the Nubians closed the regular season on a five-game winning streak and are 11-10 overall. They finished fourth in the City League-South Division at 8-6, behind co-champions Walnut Ridge and South (13-1) as well as Briggs (9-5).
During the second half of the league schedule, Africentric beat Briggs (67-63 on Feb. 4) and Eastmoor (63-45 on Feb. 7) to avenge earlier losses.
"I know we're positioned to really make a run in the tournament," coach Michael Bates said. "I'm excited about that. We get an opportunity to play it out and see how it goes, but I'm really excited about the potential and future of the program."
The Nubians are seeded fifth for the 22-team district tournament and open Tuesday, Feb. 25, at home against 20th-seeded Cristo Rey. The winner plays 18th-seeded Mount Gilead in the second round Feb. 28 at the home of the better seed.
A matchup with third-seeded North Union in a district semifinal March 3 could be looming.
The Nubians figure to be a difficult out because of their athleticism and the fact that they have three guards who are averaging between 14 and 15 points in senior Calijha'won Davis, junior Eli Burke and sophomore Dan Wagner.
"We're young," Bates said. "Our league schedule was just a monster this year. I've got two seniors that play and everyone else is a junior, sophomore or freshman. We've had some tough losses, but we're learning."
Cougars' Whitfield swims at district
Sophomore Nyrobi Whitfield represented the Beech-croft girls swimming team at the Division II district meet Feb. 12 at Ohio State.
She swam a personal-best 2 minutes, 29.4 seconds while placing 17th in the 200-yard individual medley and also turned in a 23rd-place finish in the 100 freestyle (59.42).
"I saw the girl next to me (in the 200 IM) and decided maybe I should just try to win (my heat)," Whitfield said.
Beechcroft, which did not score at district, also is eligible to return sophomore Lily Braaksma from its girls team.
Whitfield's sister, Zora, was one of three seniors in the program along with Jamie Cornejo and Preston Ratcliff of the boys team.
Nyrobi Whitfield finished 17th in the 100 free and 26th in the 200 IM at district last season.
"I've been practicing a lot (and was hoping) to get to district like last year," she said.