Westerville Central boys basketball coach Kevin Martin realizes there always will be a "what-if" scenario associated with this year's team.
After winning their first district title by defeating 18th-seeded Delaware 43-40 on March 7 at Ohio Dominican, the Warhawks never got to take the court to face Thomas Worthington in a Division I regional semifinal March 12 at ODU.
Earlier in the day, OHSAA executive director Jerry Snodgrass postponed the remainder of the regional tournament, along with the state tournaments for girls basketball, hockey and wrestling, because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. All four events were canceled March 26.
The Warhawks, who finished 18-7 overall and 6-4 in the OCC-Buckeye Division, captured a district title despite being seeded 13th for the tournament.
"When you look back at the year we had years from now, winning that first district championship for the school, this team will probably go down as the best team in school history," Martin said. "That what-if will always creep in the back of your mind. What if we had that opportunity to play that regional semi? What if we would have won that, how would we have fared against (Hilliard) Bradley (in the regional final)? You try not to let your mind wander that way. I try to look at the positive of it."
Junior guard Tasos Cook played a major role in the Warhawks' success, averaging a team-high 16.9 points. He was named first-team all-league and third-team all-district.
Junior guard Quincy Clark averaged 11 points and was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district.
"We just wanted to play," Clark said. "It stinks that we couldn't get to finish out what we had going. We proved a lot of people wrong. We got Westerville Central its first district title, so that's a big deal. We wanted to take it further than that. At least being able to do that is a big accomplishment."
Junior forward/wing player M.J. Davis (6.6 points) was second-team all-league, and senior wing player/forward Will LeMaire (6.6 points) was honorable mention all-league.
Senior forward Tyler Beckel averaged 7.1 points.
Other players eligible to return are juniors Will Jados (post player), Mamadi Kaba (guard) and Landon Tillman (guard) and sophomore Brad Leonard (wing player/forward).
"It was a good group," Martin said. "They got a ton of experience. (The underclassmen) carried us a lot of ways in our statistical categories. The (six) seniors all had a role that they bought into and really helped carry the attitude of the team throughout the season. That's the best part about it. The attitudes from 12, 13 players never wavered. They enjoyed each other. They worked with each other and they wanted to win for each other."
Central will compete in the OCC-Ohio next season with Gahanna, Grove City, New Albany, Pickerington North and Westland.
"Next year we're going to try to get back and take it further, but the seniors were a big piece to our team, so we're going to miss them," Clark said. "Some people just have to step up and we have to get some of our young guys on j.v. to come up and give us some good minutes next year."
Wrestler unable to compete at state
Sophomore wrestler David Javier saw his season end with the cancellation of the Division I state tournament, which had been scheduled for March 13-15 at Ohio State.
Javier was preparing to compete at 106 pounds. He finished the season 48-3.
"I'm disappointed for David, but I know we have two more years to go back," coach Jerry McSwords said. "I am really disappointed for any senior that got this far and can't go any further. Everything was a pretty possibility for them. Now it's been taken."
Javier finished first in a sectional Feb. 29 at Marysville and second at district March 7 at Hilliard Darby. He also was named first-team all-OCC-Buckeye.
Last season at Class A Elkin in North Carolina, Javier went 1-2 at 106 at state to finish 47-3.
Other district qualifiers for Central were juniors Josiah Mair (195, 36-11), Logan Moore (170, 24-14), Caleb Scheideger (132, 27-20) and Gary Steele (145, 42-13).
Mair and Moore were second-team all-league, and Scheideger and Steele were third-team all-league.
Another key wrestler eligible to return is junior Tate Sterling (152, 36-14).
Juniors Zeke Healy (182) and Braden Weimer (195) missed the postseason with shoulder injuries. Healy finished 24-3 and Weimer was 18-10.
"I have a large junior class and throw David in the mix as a sophomore and returning two-time state qualifier, we're looking pretty good for next year," McSwords said.