Davidson boys basketball coach Tim Congrove liked what he saw from his team in its final two regular-season games, even though it lost both contests.
The Wildcats fell to Walnut Ridge 60-51 on Feb. 11 at home after leading 44-40 through three quarters and then capped OCC-Central Division play with a 59-54 overtime loss to visiting Marysville on Feb. 14.
Daniel Neidert had 17 points, Ryan Paris scored 13 and Jonathan Weir added 12 against Walnut Ridge, which defeated Linden-McKinley 74-59 in the City League championship game Feb 15 and is seeded sixth in the Division I district tournament.
Weir had a team-high 20 points against Marysville, which shared the OCC-Central title with Dublin Coffman and Upper Arlington.
"Our guys have done a good job of responding all year," Congrove said. "We've had some losses like that Bradley loss (68-29 on Feb. 8), and we had Walnut Ridge and Marysville, who are two of the better teams in central Ohio and to play the way we did, we really responded well. We're starting to click at the right time. We're playing our best basketball right now."
The Wildcats are 4-18 overall and finished 2-8 in the league.
"Our guys played their butts off (against Marysville) and didn't win," Congrove said. "It never feels good when you get beat and you hear that loud cheer and the other team is celebrating on our floor. It's a good team and they played well."
Davidson is seeded 42nd in the 49-team district tournament and has a first-round bye, The Wildcats will play at fifth-seeded Pickerington North or at home against 43rd-seeded Logan in the second round Feb. 28.
"We didn't have many options to put ourselves on the bracket," Congrove said.
Last season, the Wildcats were seeded sixth in the district tournament and reached a district final before losing to Olentangy Liberty 72-65.
After losing 10 players from a year ago to graduation, Congrove has looked to his underclassmen to help fill those voids.
Among the key contributors has been Paris, a sophomore guard who is averaging a team-best 11.2 points. He missed more than three weeks of the season after fracturing a bone in his left wrist during practice in early January.
He returned to the lineup Feb. 4 in a 65-47 loss to visiting Olentangy.
"I wanted to get back as soon as possible," Paris said. "It's really fun to play and I was happy when I was able to get back. (The season) has been pretty disappointing, but we're still going to keep our heads high and get better. We have (a week) before the tournament. We can get better and make something happen in the tournament."
Weir, also a sophomore guard, is second on the team in scoring, averaging 8.0 points.
"The improvement we've made from the beginning of the year to now is tenfold," Congrove said. "We're giving ourselves an opportunity to be in the game. That's all we can ask for right now."
Swim teams compete at district
The swimming and diving teams competed in the Division I district meet Feb. 13 at Ohio State.
Sergio Suarez led the boys team by finishing fifth in the 100-yard backstroke (52.05 seconds) and sixth in the 50 freestyle (21.39).
Also for the boys, the 200 free relay of Suarez, Josh Chi, Gregory McGuire and A.J. Zody placed sixth (1:29.6), the 200 medley relay of Alain Martin, Ben Bartels, Troy Tarlton and Cy Hess was 19th (1:47.34), Zody was 17th in the 50 free (22.27), Owen Johanssen was 21st in the 200 individual medley (2:02.66) and 23rd in the 100 breaststroke (1:00.8), McGuire was 25th in the 100 free (50.62) and 28th in the 50 free (22.82), Tarlton was 26th in the 100 breast (1:02.82), Mason Deerwester was 27th in the 100 breast (1:03.28) and 29th in the 200 free (1:57.24), Bartels was 29th in the 100 butterfly (56.93) and Quinn Harman was 29th in the 500 free (5:16.04).
Davidson tied Olentangy Berlin for 12th (57) behind champion Upper Arlington (381.5) as 23 teams scored.
For the girls, Brogan Gehring finished 15th in the 100 breast (1:08.26) and 21st in the 200 IM (2:16.6), Rissa Smrecansky was 26th in the 200 free (2:05.66), the 200 free relay of Addie Johanssen, Logan Long, Smrecansky and Ellie Warren was 21st (1:49.68), the 400 free relay of Gehring, Paige Erdman, Vivian Smith and Smrecansky was 22nd (3:56.69) and the 200 medley relay of Erdman, Johanssen, Smith and Katie Woollard was 24th (2:02.28).
The Wildcats finished 26th (2) behind champion New Albany (378) as 26 teams scored.
"I'm happy, it was a good day," coach Lynn Bowers said. "I just like watching the kids swim. They swam well and the seniors are going out on a good note."
The top two finishers in each swimming event automatically advanced to state Friday, Feb. 21, and Saturday, Feb. 22, at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths were awarded for each swimming event based on district times statewide.
Here's a list of state qualifiers.
Gymnasts finish fourth in OCC meet
The gymnastics team finished fourth (123.75) in the OCC-Central meet Feb. 12 at Marysville, behind champion UA (131.875).
Hope Tageson led Davidson by finishing fourth in the all-around (32.75). She tied for third on vault (8.2) and placed fourth on balance beam (8.55).
The Wildcats tied Central Crossing for fourth overall in the league (18 points, 7-7), behind champion UA (32, 14-0).
Davidson will compete in the district meet Saturday, Feb. 22, at Worthington Kilbourne, with the top three teams advancing to state Feb. 28 at Bradley and the top eight individuals in each event and the all-around advancing to state Feb. 29 at Bradley.
The boys bowling team will compete in the Division I sectional Friday, Feb. 21, at HP Lanes, with the girls competing the following day at the same venue.