Although it fell short of earning the outright MSL-Ohio Division championship, the Whitehall-Yearling boys basketball team still enters the Division I district tournament looking to build on a league title.
After losing to Worthington Christian 48-41 on Feb. 11 at home, the Rams bounced back to beat host Buckeye Valley 66-58 in double overtime Feb. 14.
With Worthington Christian defeating Columbus Academy 55-28 on Feb. 14, the Rams and Warriors shared the league title at 9-3.
It is the Rams' first league title since 2015-16, when they captured their third consecutive championship.
"Anytime you get a championship, you'll take it," coach Drew Williams said. "If I have to share a championship with somebody, sharing a championship with (Worthington Christian coach Kevin) Weakley doesn't bother me at all. He's a great guy, but I just don't like to share."
Charles Miller and Kei'Von Wiggins each scored 14 points against Buckeye Valley.
"It's great to win a league title in my senior season," Miller said. "Unfortunately, we couldn't finish (against Worthington Christian) at home, but it's better than nothing."
Whitehall finished the regular season 14-8 overall with a 57-47 win at Hartley on Feb. 15. Royal Sibley led the Rams with 15 points, followed by Wiggins with 13 and Amir Dallas with 10.
The Rams are seeded 22nd for the district tournament and have a first-round bye. They visit 14th-seeded Canal Winchester or 19th-seeded Upper Arlington in the second round Feb. 28.
"I'm happy with the tournament draw," Miller said. "We have a chance to play Gahanna again. I can't wait for that matchup. I feel like we can get there."
Gahanna is the top seed and could play Whitehall in a district semifinal March 4. The Rams lost to the Lions 55-44 on Dec. 31 at home.
"I like the matchups," Williams said. "A lot of people forget Worthington Christian beat every Division I team they played this year. The teams that we're playing are the same type of build as Worthington Christian and I think (Worthington Christian) is better."
Whitehall trailed the Warriors by as many as 17 points in the second half before staging a late rally. The Rams closed to within 44-41 on Teddy Brown's basket with 55.1 seconds remaining, but couldn't get closer.
Dallas led Whitehall with nine points.
"It's hard (to rally from a 17-point deficit)," Williams said. "We got a small window, but we missed a layup. The layup is the one that killed us. You can't miss a layup. These guys are Division I high school basketball players, and the game comes down to that -- layups, free throws, turnovers."
Dickens earns MSL wrestling honor
The wrestling team finished third (70) in the five-team MSL-Ohio tournament Feb. 15 at Bexley, behind champion Buckeye Valley (83).
Andrew Dickens won the heavyweight title and was named the tournament's most outstanding wrestler.
Steven Fancelli (113 pounds), Damion Black (120) and Noah Church (220) also finished first for the Rams.
Bowlers set for postseason
The boys and girls bowling teams are gearing up for Division I sectional play.
The boys will compete at sectional Friday, Feb. 21, at HP Lanes, with the girls competing the following day at the same site. The top 16 teams and top 16 individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district Feb. 29 at HP Lanes.
Alexander Scott leads the boys with a 168.2 average, followed by Elias Rozzelle (165.2), Nathan McGrath (158.6), David Settler (155) and Samuel McQuate (151.5).
Jessica Gress leads the girls with a 178.8 average, followed by Kamdon Pauley (138.9) and Chelsee Cress (123.1).
The girls basketball team played Linden-McKinley in the first round of the Division II district tournament Feb. 17.
The winner plays Licking Valley in the second round Friday, Feb. 21, with that winner playing Beechcroft, Bexley or Sparta Highland in a semifinal Tuesday, Feb. 25.