Notebook: Bexley Lions girls basketball team welcomes break before district opener

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
Bexley's Grace Heilman drives past Westerville Central's Avery Vukmanic earlier this season. Heilman was averaging 7.1 points and a team-high 3.0 steals through 15 games for the Lions, who are seeded third for the Division II district tournament and will play Feb. 19 as host to eighth-seeded Jonathan Alder.

Brycen Baugh is glad his Bexley girls basketball team will have time to mend as it prepares for the Division II district tournament. 

The third-seeded Lions were 12-3 overall before closing the regular season against Fisher Catholic on Feb. 12. They open the postseason Feb. 19 at home against eighth-seeded Jonathan Alder in the second round. 

“We’re playing really well even though we’re missing a few people. But they should be back before the district opener; at least that’s my understanding,” Baugh said. “We’ve stayed healthy for the most part all year. Then all of a sudden, we had two or three people out. It’s good for that to happen now so they can come back healthy.” 

The Lions were short-handed in a 60-43 loss to Worthington Christian on Feb. 5 in the championship game of the MSL-Ohio Division tournament. They also lost 59-41 to the Warriors on Jan. 13. 

“We were short against Worthington Christian, but even with a few people injured we played them a little closer than we did the first time,” Baugh said. “We’re competing and we’re practicing as hard as we can with sometimes having four or five people injured or in quarantine. 

“The girls are getting better, and they want to get better. Grace Heilman said the other day at practice, ‘I see what you’re saying. I see it, and it makes sense.’ They’re doing the best they can to improve.” 

The Lions’ only other loss was 55-43 to Granville in their third game Dec. 30. 

“We have three pretty good losses against the top teams in Division II and Division III,” Baugh said. “We lost twice to Worthington Christian, the top-seeded team in Division III, and once to Granville, the Division II top seed.” 

A win in the tournament open would having the Lions playing host to sixth-seeded Bloom-Carroll or ninth-seeded London on Feb. 24 in a district semifinal. Bexley defeated Bloom-Carroll 46-41 on Jan. 29. 

The district final is scheduled for Feb. 27 with Granville as a possible opponent. 

“We decided to go in the bracket with Granville because they’re more guard-oriented, and we’ve seen them before,” Baugh said. “(Second-seeded) Hartley was in the other bracket and we thought that we didn’t match up as well with them in the post.” 

Through 15 games, Maddy Young led the Lions in scoring at 12.8 points per game and had made 47 of 105 3-point shots (44.8 percent). She also was averaging 2.2 assists and 1.9 steals. 

Sydnie Smith added 10.2 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, and Heilman was averaging 7.1 points, 2.1 assists and a team-high 3.0 steals. Sofia Sheridan led with 5.9 rebounds per game and also was averaging 6.9 points. 

Nate Polinsky and the St. Charles hockey team captured the CHC-Red Division title with a 12-2-1 record. The top-seeded Cardinals open tournament play against No. 12 New Albany or No. 23 Cincinnati Sycamore on Feb. 20 at Chiller North.

•The St. Charles hockey team won the CHC-Red with 25 points, finishing 12-2-1 in league play. Upper Arlington (11-3-0-2, 24 points) was runner-up. 

The Cardinals were 14-5-1 overall and the top-seed in the Blue Jackets Cup before playing eighth-seeded Thomas Worthington on Feb. 11 in the opening round. The semifinals were Feb. 13 and the championship Feb. 14. 

The Cardinals also are the top seed in the district tournament, and they were the district’s highest-ranked team in the state poll at No. 8 behind top-ranked Lakewood. St. Edward. Upper Arlington was the second seed and Olentangy Liberty was third. 

St. Charles has a first-round district bye before opening against 12th-seeded New Albany or 23rd-seeded Cincinnati Sycamore on Feb. 20 at Chiller North. 

Through the regular season, Diego Pitones had 10 goals and nine assists in league play, and Alex Jimenez and Myles McKinney both had eight goals. In goal, Grant Wolf had a 92.8 save percentage and Cooper Tyson was at 89.6. 

•The Bexley boys basketball team is seeded 11th of 23 teams in the Division II district tournament. 

The Lions open Feb. 23 at home against 13th-seeded Watterson. Last season, they knocked off the Eagles 42-38 in their district opener. The winner plays at seventh-seeded Linden-McKinley on Feb. 26 in the second round. 

In the MSL-Ohio tournament, the third-seeded Lions defeated sixth-seeded Wellington 52-27 on Feb. 6 before falling 56-27 to second-seeded Whitehall in a semifinal Feb. 9. 

Henry Brandt led with 12 points against the Rams, and Chris Mitchell added nine. 

The Lions were 8-5 overall and 5-3 in the MSL-Ohio before playing fourth-seeded Columbus Academy on Feb. 12 in the third-place game. They closed the regular season against West Jefferson on Feb. 16. 

•Nick Bastaja and Teague O’Brien led the St. Charles bowling team through nine matches. 

Nick Bastaja was averaging 172.3 and Teague O’Brien 168.9 for the Cardinals, who finished the regular season 5-4 overall, 3-3 in the COHSBC-D and 3-4 in the CCL. 

Stuart Hankinson (160.1), Cole Hankinson (159.7) and Max Taylor (153.8) were other top performers for St. Charles. 

The Cardinals compete in a Division I sectional Feb. 20 at HP Lanes. The top 16 teams and the top 16 individuals not on advancing teams qualify for district Feb. 22 at HP Lanes. The top three teams and the top three individuals not on those teams advance to state March 6 at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl. 

•Eva Nicolosi and Emma Spangler led the CSG basketball team through 11 games. 

The Unicorns were 6-5 overall before playing Genoa Christian on Feb. 16, and they finished 4-5 in the MSL-Ohio. 

Spangler averaged 8.7 points to lead CSG, and also added 5.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game. Nicolosi had team-highs in rebounds (8.1) and assists (2.2) to go along with 7.2 points and 1.1 steals per contest. 

Lauren Sloan averaged 5.8 points and a team-leading 2.8 steals, Bella Sloan added 5.1 points and 5.0 rebounds per contest and Tori Johnson averaged 4.7 rebounds. 

The Unicorns are seeded 15th in the Division II district tournament and have a first-round bye, opening Feb. 19 against top-seeded Granville or 17th-seeded Hamilton Township at the home of the better seed.  

The winner is scheduled to play 10th-seeded Caledonia River Valley or 14th-seeded Sparta Highland on Feb. 24 in a district semifinal at the home of the better seed. 

shennen@thisweeknews.com 

@ThisWeekHennen