As he and his teammates on the Worthington Christian boys basketball team took turns cutting down the net Feb. 14 after wrapping up a share of the MSL-Ohio Division championship, Tyler Kindberg soaked in the experience following a series of personal ups and downs.
Last fall, Kindberg was a key player for the boys soccer team that won a share of the league title and reached a Division III district final.
An injury then kept him out of the first eight games with the boys basketball team this winter, but the junior guard returned to fill a key role as the Warriors bounced back from a slow start in the league to tie Whitehall for the title at 9-3.
Worthington Christian was 17-4 overall before closing the regular season Feb. 18 against Briggs.
"It's fun," Kindberg said. "I haven't won anything for basketball. We had a soccer district final and were league champs this year, but with basketball, it's new and I love it."
The Warriors, who are seeded second for the Division III district tournament and open Feb. 28 at home against 11th-seeded Marion Elgin or 14th-seeded Fairbanks in a second-round game, beat host Whitehall 48-41 on Feb. 11 to move into a first-place tie.
Then on Feb. 14, Worthington Christian beat Columbus Academy 55-28 and the Rams beat Buckeye Valley 66-58.
After rallying from a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat Wellington 66-63 on Feb. 4, the Warriors gave up an average of just 36.7 points over their next three games.
Kobe Buford had 17 points and D.J. Moore scored 15 against Whitehall as Worthington Christian avenged a 48-40 loss to the Rams on Jan. 11. Moore had 17 points, seven rebounds, eight assists and four steals against Academy.
"Really, the game that propelled us down the stretch was the Wellington game," coach Kevin Weakley said. "We were down late in the game by double digits and came back and won. That kind of gave us some belief. Then we had that overtime game with Buckeye Valley (a 44-41 win on Feb. 8), so those two games really prepared us to go to Whitehall and win, because that's been a difficult place for us over the years."
Morgan heads back to state swim meet
Junior Lena Morgan led the girls swimming and diving team at the Division II district meet Feb. 12 by winning the diving championship with 534.54 points.
She was expected to be one of the favorites to contend for the state title Feb. 19 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
Morgan was state runner-up last season with 479.85, behind Pepper Pike Orange's Janie Boyle (483.7), who graduated. Columbus Academy's Jordan Skilken, who won district last season and finished third at state, also graduated.
"(The scores at district) were very high," Morgan said. "I was fairly consistent. My first two dives (at district) were a little rough, but after that I got into my groove. I just want to be as solid as I can be."
The girls team finished 18th (37) behind champion Columbus School for Girls (401) as 31 teams scored and the boys finished 26th (26) behind champion Granville (253) as 34 teams scored.
The top two finishers in each swimming event advanced automatically to the state meet Thursday, Feb. 20, and Friday, Feb. 21. In addition, 16 at-large state berths were awarded for each swimming event based on times statewide.
Here's a list of area state qualifers.
Also competing for the girls team were freshman Emma Stoll in the 500-yard freestyle (fifth, 5 minutes, 24.36 seconds) and 100 butterfly (14th, 1:04.95), Stoll, senior Anna Stathulis, junior Mary Lake and sophomore Morgan Lawrence in the 200 free relay (19th, 1:55.02) and the 200 medley relay (21st, 2:09.04) and Lake in the 50 free (29th, 27.55).
For the boys team, sophomore Isaac Myhal finished fifth in the 100 fly (56.5) and 24th in the 50 free (24.42) and sophomore Micah Shemenski placed seventh in the 500 free (5:20.76) and 17th in the 200 individual medley (2:14.99).
"Our (girls) medley relay set another school record (at district)," coach Jim Peterfish said. "We're swimming really well."
Girls team set to open tourney
The third-seeded girls basketball team opens the Division III district tournament Saturday, Feb. 22, at home against fifth-seeded Amanda-Clearcreek or 18th-seeded Johnstown in the second round.
The winner faces fourth-seeded Mount Gilead or sixth-seeded Marion Pleasant in a district semifinal Wednesday, Feb. 26, with that winner advancing to a district final Feb. 28 at the Columbus Convention Center.
The Warriors closed the regular season at 17-5 following a 41-29 loss to Big Walnut on Feb. 12.
Worthington Christian finished second in the MSL-Ohio at 12-2 behind Whitehall (13-1). The Warriors split with the Rams, winning 53-51 on Dec. 20 and losing 45-44 on Feb. 1.
Against Big Walnut, junior guard Katherine Weakley reached the 1,000-point mark for her career.
"Every tight loss we can take a lesson from," coach Jason Dawson said. "We've got some young girls playing. That loss (to Whitehall) was good for us. There were some tiny details we didn't get to. It's a learning thing."
Amanda-Clearcreek entered the postseason at 14-8 and Johnstown was 2-20, while Mount Gilead enters the tournament at 16-5 and Pleasant is 14-8.
"We're going to see some really good teams," Dawson said. "Our first game is probably going to be Amanda-Clearcreek, then after that the four seed and then after that probably the two seed (Cardington), so we've got the gauntlet, but we (had) 10 days to prepare after Big Walnut."
Bowlers advance to district level
The bowling teams are set to compete in the Division II district tournament Thursday, Feb. 20, at HP Lanes.
The top two teams and top two individuals not on qualifying teams advance to the boys state tournament Feb. 28 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl and the girls state event Feb. 29 at the same venue.
On Feb. 14 in the 28-team sectional at HP Lanes, the boys team finished sixth (3,233) behind champion Heath (3,756) as the top 12 teams advanced.
Senior Caleb Slagle finished 15th with a 515 three-game series and sophomore Noah Dirscherl was 16th with a 514, while sophomores Connor Lawson, Mason Marsh and Jonah Varian rolled two games apiece.
The girls team finished fourth (2,995) in the 24-team sectional Feb. 15 at HP Lanes behind champion Heath (3,175) as the top 12 teams advanced. Junior Lilly Marsh placed fifth (519) and junior Emily Weishaar was 17th (447) to lead the Warriors.