For the five seniors who are leaving the Big Walnut girls basketball program, their contributions won't be forgotten anytime soon.
Not only did they help the Golden Eagles accumulate 67 victories over four seasons, but they also helped the team produce four consecutive winning seasons and three second-place finishes in the OCC-Capital Division behind perennial powerhouse Newark.
"It's been such a pleasure to play together," senior guard Avery Schone said. "We've been playing together since we were 10 years old. To be able to create a legacy with them that will live at Big Walnut is just an amazing feeling. We didn't finish out the way we wanted, but we are proud of the impact we left on the program."
The other seniors include Schone's twin sister, point guard Alexis Schone, as well as forwards Payton Carter and Alyssa Tarney and post player Abby Facemyer, who missed the second half of the season with a knee injury.
Big Walnut finished 17-6 overall following a 33-30 home loss to 19th-seeded Dublin Jerome in the second round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 21.
The 11th-seeded Golden Eagles, who had a first-round bye, led 22-12 at halftime before being outscored 13-2 in the third quarter.
"We just couldn't make a shot," said coach Jason Crawford, whose team went 7-3 in the OCC-Capital to place second, three games behind champion Newark (10-0). "We made the first basket in the third quarter, and then we didn't make another basket until about two minutes to go in the game. We just missed a bunch of shots we normally make."
Avery Schone, who was named first-team all-league and third-team all-district, led the team in scoring, steals and assists. She averaged 11.5 points, three steals and 3.8 assists.
Junior guard Abby Brown averaged nine points and was second-team all-league, and Facemyer and Carter averaged eight and six points, respectively, and were second-team all-league. Tarney was honorable mention all-league.
Craword's anticipated rotation next season will include Brown, junior guards Avery Maxeiner and Annie Thomas, sophomore guard Jordan Walters and sophomore forward Andie Stewart. All five earned a varsity letter this season.
"Our seniors experienced a great amount of success and obviously left a mark on our program that our kids will strive to meet," Crawford said.
Four wrestlers advance to district
Led by Lawrence O'Malley at 160 pounds, four members of the wrestling team advanced to the Division I district tournament held March 6 and 7 at Hilliard Darby.
O'Malley went 3-0 to finish first at a sectional Feb. 29 at Upper Arlington and was 18-15 before district. The sophomore helped the Golden Eagles finish 10th (89.5 points) of 12 teams, behind the champion and host Golden Bears (239).
Also advancing to district were senior Max Lenz (heavyweight, 24-2 before district) and sophomores Andrew Parker (106, 33-10) and Wyatt Lenz (182, 30-16), each of whom went 3-1 and placed third at sectional.
The top four finishers in each weight class at sectional qualified for district. At district, the top four finishers in each weight class advanced to the state tournament, which runs Friday, March 13, through March 15 at Ohio State.
Freshman Vince Giordano (113) and sophomore Christian Takatch (170) both were district alternates after going 3-2 and placing fifth at sectional.
Freshman Justin Strickland went 1-2 at 152. He stepped in for senior Ryan Coletta, a district qualifier last season who had to sit out the sectional with concussion-related symptoms, according to the school's athletics website.
Boys team posted winning season
The boys basketball team finished 13-10 overall, posting a winning record for the second consecutive season.
The 25th-seeded Golden Eagles were held to their lowest point total of the season in a 49-29 loss to 12th-seeded St. Charles in the first round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 22 at Pickerington North.
Big Walnut, which went 6-4 in the OCC-Capital to finish third behind Newark (9-1) and New Albany (7-3), is losing four seniors in guard Lincoln Bullock, post player Kegan Hienton and forwards Jacob Krous and Jackson Podraza.
Hienton averaged 11.7 points and was first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district and Podraza averaged 7.2 points and was honorable mention all-league.
Among the expected returnees are junior guards Jagger Barnett and Jared Kreager and junior forward Caleb Conard.
Kreager averaged a team-high 11.8 points and was second-team all-league, Barnett averaged 8.9 points and was special mention all-league and Conard averaged 6.3 points.