For the sixth time in seven seasons, the Dublin Coffman girls basketball team reached a Division I district final.
The fourth-seeded Shamrocks beat 19th-seeded Jerome 61-33 in a district semifinal Feb. 26 before falling to seventh-seeded Gahanna 52-39 in the title game Feb. 29 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center to finish 22-3.
Gahanna also ended Coffman's season a year ago, beating the Shamrocks 75-72 in a district semifinal.
"Everyone counted us out at the beginning of the season and we just worked hard every day in practice," senior guard Juliana Burris said. "We were hungry and motivated. I'm really proud of the season. We didn't think we'd get this far and didn't think we'd have the record that we did."
The Shamrocks raced out to a 9-0 lead against Gahanna, but the Lions pulled within 13-12 by the end of the first quarter and took a 25-20 lead into halftime.
Coffman, which also lost to Gahanna 59-55 on Jan. 25, was outscored 25-16 over the middle two quarters.
Burris had 10 points and Imarianah Russell scored seven to lead the Shamrocks.
"They're a good team," coach Adam Banks said of Gahanna. "We started off with a game plan and we executed, but then I think we started to shy away from what was working. We struggled to score in the third."
Russell had 21 points against Jerome.
Yoshino competes at state in gymnastics
Emily Yoshino of the gymnastics team ended her freshman season by competing at the state individual meet Feb. 29 at Hilliard Bradley.
Yoshino tied for 17th of 37 competitors in the all-around with a 36.175, tied for seventh of 36 competitors on floor exercise with a 9.425, tied for 25th of 36 competitors on balance beam with an 8.875 and tied for 26th of 36 competitors on vault with a 9.175.
"I was really excited and I felt really proud (to qualify for state)," she said. "All my hard work from when I (competed in) club (gymnastics) has paid off.
"My favorite event is beam and I think I do my best on it."
Only Yoshino, sophomore Jordan Jones and freshman Alexis Colombo competed in the district meet Feb. 22 at Worthington Kilbourne. Sophomore Lex Lewis and senior Allexia Dempsey also were on the team.
Wolak wins state girls wrestling title
Junior Ayala Wolak captured the championship at 150 pounds in the Ohio High School Wrestling Coaches Association's inaugural state girls tournament held Feb. 22 and 23 at Hilliard Davidson.
Wolak, who scored 30 points as Coffman placed 25th behind champion Casstown Miami East (149.5) and 83 teams scored, is the younger sister of former Coffman wrestler and three-time state qualifier Lennox Wolak.
"I'm not surprised that Ayala won it," coach Chance Van Gundy said. "She's been training pretty hard these last few years."
Wolak was the top seed at state and pinned her first three opponents. In the championship match, she beat Olentangy Berlin's Maia Crum 12-5.
Also competing for Coffman was freshman Lisset Estrada, who went 0-2 at 131.
"The energy in the gym was just electric and everyone was so supportive," Wolak said. "I was seeded No. 1 so I was a little bit nervous. I've been coming off a back injury, so the pressure from the ranking along with my level of conditioning, which was not great, was something that got me a little bit worried. But in the end, I had to fight for it."
Boys team reaches district semifinal
The 10th-seeded boys basketball team played eighth-seeded Newark on March 4 in a Division I district semifinal.
The winner plays second-seeded Hilliard Bradley or 11th-seeded Westerville South in a district final Saturday, March 7, at Ohio Dominican.
The district champion faces Reynoldsburg, Walnut Ridge, Gahanna or Whitehall in a regional semifinal Wednesday, Nov. 11, at Ohio Dominican. The regional final is March 14.
The Shamrocks opened the postseason with a 74-51 victory over 35th-seeded Hilliard Darby on Feb. 22 and beat 31st-seeded Jerome 50-45 on Feb. 28 in the second round to improve to 18-6.
Coffman and Jerome last met in a second-round game in 2018, when the Shamrocks won 58-40, and Coffman also ended the Celtics' season in 2017 in the second round.
Hockey team has strong tourney run
Despite being seeded 14th for the district tournament, the hockey team came close to reaching a district semifinal.
The Shamrocks opened the postseason with a 3-0 win over 16th-seeded Kettering Alter on Feb. 21 and then upset fifth-seeded Jerome 5-1 in the second round Feb. 22 behind two goals from junior forward Thiago Jeronimo.
Coffman rallied to force overtime against fourth-seeded New Albany in a district quarterfinal Feb. 29 at the OhioHealth Ice Haus, but lost 4-3 to finish 10-19-2-1 overall.
"It was our first time beating Jerome since 2016, so the hard work has been paying off," senior defenseman Evan Mitchell said. "We started off (the season) pretty slowly and it wasn't a great year record-wise, but I could tell we were improving every game."
The Shamrocks, who finished 12-21 last season, had a new coach in Jeff Kerr after Justin Taber headed the program the past two years.
Mitchell and forward Bo Sung Kim were key seniors for Coffman, which finished seventh in the CHC-White Division at 5-9-2.
Jeronimo should be among the top returnees next season along with junior forwards Ervin Cui and Ben Schepflin, junior defenseman Gavin Schiefferle, sophomore forwards Noah Clemens and Nick Schepflin, sophomore defensemen Eliav Dayan and Brycen Levings and sophomore goaltender Will Pace.
"Beating Jerome for the first time in (a few years) is a really big deal," Jeronimo said. "We started off the season a little rough, but built trust with each other and kind of went from there. Towards the playoffs, we started working a little more together."