The type of opponent Dublin Coffman boys basketball coach Jamey Collins believes might be the most dangerous in the postseason is one that's on a roll.
Until the second half of their regular-season finale Feb. 14 at Upper Arlington, the Shamrocks likely would have fit into that category.
The Shamrocks had won five games in a row before being outscored 34-15 over the final two quarters of a 53-41 loss to the Golden Bears. As a result of the loss, Coffman had to settle for sharing the OCC-Central Division title with UA and Marysville, as all three teams went 8-2 in league play.
"I get nervous about teams that get hot at this time, and I hope that's us," said Collins, whose team is 16-6 overall. "I really like our players, but I also know they needed the experience of playing games. I knew there would be lots of ups and downs. There's no way to avoid it. We've lost to some good teams and we've had a lead in the second half of every game, but the reality is the other team made plays when they needed to."
The Shamrocks are seeded 10th for the Division I district tournament and will play host to 35th-seeded Hilliard Darby in the first round Saturday, Feb. 22. The winner plays 20th-seeded Olentangy Orange or 31st-seeded Jerome in the second round Feb. 28 at the home of the better seed.
Senior guard Keaton Turner is averaging 23 points and has found a complementary scoring partner in junior guard Nash Hostetler, who is averaging 14 points.
Another boost has come from the return of junior guard Dylan Van Vlerah, who missed the first 15 games with an injury. Although he spent most of last season on junior varsity, he practiced with the varsity throughout the summer and figured to be in the rotation.
"(Winning the league title) means a lot to us as a team," Hostetler said. "This year, we only had one returning varsity player, so for us to be able to rebuild our squad from very little, it just means so much that we still (won) the OCC.
"Having matured with resilience, we plan on making a deep run this year in the district tournament."
Swimmers prep for state meet
The swimming and diving teams are preparing for the Division I state meet Friday, Feb. 21, and Saturday, Feb. 22, at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
The girls team left the district meet Feb. 13 at Ohio State with five individual titles, as Ellie Andrews won the 200-yard individual medley (2 minutes, 1.67 seconds) and 100 breaststroke (1:01.6), Kristyn Sabol was first in the 200 free (1:50.16) and 100 free (50.54) and Hannah Bailey won the 100 butterfly (54.62).
The top two finishers in each swimming event advanced automatically to state. In addition, 16 at-large state berths were awarded for each swimming event based on times statewide.
Here's a list of state qualifiers.
Bailey also automatically qualified with a runner-up finish in the 100 breast (1:03.08), as did the second-place 200 medley relay of Andrews, Bailey, Emma Bowman and Gretchen Schneider (1:43.49).
Finishing third were the 200 free relay of Sabol, Bowman, Ava Warren and Bailey (1:36.25) and the 400 free relay of Sabol, Schneider, Warren and Andrew (3:28.92), and Schneider placed fourth in the 500 free (4:59.88).
Reaching the podium in diving were Sarah Donnelly (fifth, 402.25) and Sidney Boroff (sixth, 368.06), but only the top four advanced to state.
Also competing were Bowman in the 50 free (11th, 24.2) and 100 free (12th, 53.65), Cameron Das in the 200 IM (18th, 2:15.08) and 100 backstroke (19th, 1:00.23), Alanna Howe in diving (15th, 291.95), Cici Jobe in diving (20th, 199.45), Isabella Palazzo in the 500 free (20th, 5:22.1) and 100 back (14th, 59.12), Aislin Rogers in the 50 free (29th, 25.76) and 100 breast (12th, 1:07.61), Schneider in the 100 back (10th, 57.73) and Warren in the 100 fly (16th, 58.32) and 100 free (15th, 54.05).
The Shamrocks were runners-up (288 points) behind New Albany (378) as 26 teams scored.
"It's been going pretty well," said Bowman, a freshman. "It was really fun. It was nerve-wracking, but I had a lot of fun with my teammates. We actually have been dropping a lot of time and we're in a good position going into states."
For the boys team, Ethan Shaw won the 500 free (4:33.21) and was third in the 200 free (1:41.47), Zac Stump was runner-up in the 100 back (50.69) and fourth in the 500 free (4:38.65), Brendan Oshida was fourth in the 100 breast (57.41), the 200 medley relay of Stump, Shaw, Brendan Oshida and Will Randall was fifth (1:34.59) and the 400 free relay of Shaw, Nadur, Stump and Randall was fifth (3:11.55).
Also competing were Nadur in the 200 IM (10th, 1:55.16) and 100 breast (15th, 59.91), Oshida in the 200 IM (17th, 1:58.1), Randall in the 100 free (ninth, 47.4) and 50 free (12th, 21.78) and the 200 free relay of Nadur, Oshida, Dominic Novak and Tej Sommi Reddy (20th, 1:37.21).
Coffman finished sixth (162) behind champion Upper Arlington (381.5) as 23 teams scored.
"We swam really well at (district)," said Shaw, a senior. "We've put a lot of hard work in throughout the season and it's great to see it all pay off finally. We're looking forward to states and are really excited about how we're doing at these meets."
Yoshino shines for gymnasts in OCC
The gymnastics team will compete in the district meet Saturday, Feb. 22, at Worthington Kilbourne, where the top three teams advance to the state team meet Feb. 28 at Hilliard Bradley and the top eight finishers in each event and the all-around advance to the state individual meet Feb. 29 at Bradley.
On Feb. 12 in the eight-team OCC-Capital meet Feb. 12 at Marysville, the Shamrocks finished seventh (103.725) behind champion UA (131.875).
Emily Yoshino was the all-around champion with a 35.6. She also won floor exercise (9.125), uneven bars (9.05) and vault (8.8) and finished third on balance beam (8.625).
Alexis Colombo finished 14th in the all-around (28.575) and Lex Lewis, Jordan Jones, Allexia Dempsey also competed.
The hockey team is seeded 14th for the district tournament and opens against 16th-seeded Kettering Alter in the first round Friday, Feb. 21, at Chiller North. The winner plays fifth-seeded Jerome in a second-round game Saturday, Feb. 22, at Chiller North.
The fourth-seeded girls basketball team opens the Division I district tournament Feb. 21 with a second-round game against 24th-seeded DeSales. The winner plays 11th-seeded Big Walnut or 19th-seeded Jerome in a district semifinal Wednesday, Feb. 26, at a site to be determined.
On Feb. 16, the fifth-seeded wrestling team lost to fourth-seeded Wadsworth 39-19 in a quarterfinal of the Division I state team dual tournament at St. John Arena.