Finishing with a winning record for the third consecutive season was among the highlights for the Hilliard Davidson girls basketball team this winter.
The Wildcats finished 13-11 overall and 7-3 in the OCC-Central Division, placing second behind Dublin Coffman (10-0).
"I'm happy with the season," coach Joy Taylor said. "It was a good year. We grew a lot. Some of our players grew up a lot. There was positivity throughout our program all year and that's something that always makes me happy. Something that I look forward to every day is to hang out with the team and try to get better. It speaks volumes for the types of kids we have in our program."
Seeded 23rd in the Division I district tournament, the Wildcats defeated 27th-seeded Logan 37-31 in the first round Feb. 15 before losing to 15th-seeded Hartley 43-33 in the second round Feb. 21.
Sophomore guard Kierstyn Liming, a transfer from Teays Valley, averaged a team-high 10.3 points and 2.9 rebounds and was named first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district.
"I didn't know what to expect from Kierstyn," Taylor said. "She did a lot of really good things for us at both ends of the floor. She's a good defender and has a lot of confidence. Something that she brought to our team was a sense of confidence in putting the ball through the hoop and just trusting her skills."
Junior guard/forward Brianna O'Connor averaged 9.5 points and a team-best 3.0 assists and was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district, and senior guard Sydney Petersen, a four-year varsity player, averaged 6.7 points and a team-best 2.8 steals and was second-team all-league.
Junior guard/forward Grace Royer averaged a team-high 5.3 rebounds and was honorable mention all-league.
"We were pretty young this year," Petersen said. "We did well with stepping up and next-man-up mentality. We played well as a team. I know we wish we could have gone a little bit further (in the tournament), but it will help (the underclassmen) get into pushing a little bit further next year. I had a really good time with all the girls. We created a little bit of chemistry at the end. I thought we did well."
Taylor said the team's four seniors played key roles in the Wildcats' continued development.
"They were kids who left a legacy in terms of putting the team first, being committed and hustling and playing hard all the time when you're on the floor," Taylor said. "That spreads. When people go out there and get after loose balls and be physical and play hard, that is a good tone to set."
Other players eligible to return are juniors Ashley Barrington (guard/forward), Kylie Fetty (guard/forward) and Kira Kaufman (forward), sophomores Abby Emery (guard), Maci Keys (forward) and Sydney Thompson (guard/forward) and freshman Kiersten Cashell (guard).
Boys team falls to Panthers
The 42nd-seeded boys basketball team lost 51-34 at fifth-seeded Pickerington North in the second round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 28 to finish 4-19.
Daniel Neidert had eight points to lead the Wildcats, who had a first-round bye.
Gymnasts close season at district
The gymnastics team closed the season at the district meet Feb. 22 at Worthington Kilbourne, finishing 16th (124.425) of 23 teams, behind champion Thornville Sheridan (144.55).
Junior Hope Tageson led the Wildcats, finishing 46th of 109 competitors in the all-around with a 32.225.
She was followed by junior Megan McCabe (52nd, 31.725), senior Dani Mason (tied for 71st, 30.4) and freshman Katelyn Crossin (77th, 29.975).
Freshman Kate LaCroix also is eligible to return.
"I'm very proud of the Davidson team," said coach Carol Eskay, who also guides Bradley and Darby. "They improved by nearly 10 points from the beginning of the season to the district meet, which is a huge feat in gymnastics. They capped off the season with a season-high score and just overall great performances."