Notebook: Dublin Coffman Shamrocks girls basketball team draws on experience in postseason

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Coffman's Veronica Baldridge (right) and Kenzie Bicking cheer on their teammates in the waning minutes of a 37-28 win over Marysville in a Division I district final Feb. 27. The Shamrocks played Newark in a regional final March 5.

Trailing by double digits for much of the first half didn’t prove to be an overwhelming situation for the Dublin Coffman girls basketball team during its Division I regional semifinal March 2 against Reynoldsburg. 

It helped that the Shamrocks had been in that position before. 

Coffman, which rallied from an 11-point halftime deficit to beat the Raiders 60-57 and advance to a regional final March 5 against Newark, trailed Pickerington Central by 16 points before rallying for a 47-42 victory Jan. 18. 

“We were actually down (against Central) by 10 with three minutes left in the fourth quarter and were able to come back and win by a couple, so this team is used to fighting and not quitting and just expects to win,” coach Adam Banks said.  

Coffman was 23-1 heading into the regional final, with the winner advancing to a state semifinal at 5 p.m. March 12 at the University of Dayton against Akron Hoban or Canton GlenOak. The state final is 8:30 p.m. March 13 at the same site. 

The Shamrocks made their only previous state appearance in 2014 and also reached a regional final in 2017, losing 66-54 to Newark. 

Against Reynoldsburg, Jenny Kopyar’s 3-pointer with 20 seconds remaining gave the Shamrocks a 58-56 lead, and Taylor Covington made a pair of free throws with 8.8 seconds to go to help seal the win.

Covington led the way with 16 points, Tara Flynn scored 11 and Tessa Grady added 10. 

Second-seeded Coffman reached the regional by defeating 16th-seeded Marysville 37-28 on Feb. 27 to earn its fifth district championship since 2008, as Flynn scored 15 points and Kopyar had 12. 

The Shamrocks, who also beat 11th-seeded Marion Harding 53-38 on Feb. 24 in a district semifinal, entered the game against Newark on a 21-game winning streak. 

Newark won last year’s regional before the state tournament was canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.  

“We’ve worked so hard this season and our goal has always been to win a state championship,” Kopyar said. “We fell short last year in a district final and ever since then we knew we had to work through it. We’re all so selfless and everybody’s a team player. 

“We have such great chemistry on and off the court. They know it’s not just on the court but it’s about the connections we make through it. We’ve just been able to strengthen the connection we’ve had and that’s been my favorite thing about this whole year.” 

•The Jerome boys basketball team had won four of six before losing 53-46 at 10th-seeded Reynoldsburg on Feb. 26 in the second round of the Division I district tournament. 

The Celtics, who were the 30th seed, lose only one senior regular in guard Andrew Butcher along with guard Austin Carlin. 

“These seniors are very special to me, as they were my first class to be with since I arrived at Jerome,” fourth-year coach Richie Beard said. “We were happy our young men were able to compete and play a full season. With multiple shutdowns in the preseason, no preseason scrimmages, practicing with masks, to game cancellations, to game rescheduling with teams not on the original schedule, to injuries, our guys showed great perseverance.” 

The top returnees are expected to be sophomore guards Ryan Nutter and Lachlan MacDonals. Nutter averaged 12.0 points and was first-team all-OCC-Cardinal Division, and MacDonald averaged 9.5 points and was second-team all-league.

Junior forward C.C. Ezirim was special mention all-league and junior forward Matt Butler was honorable mention all-league. Both averaged 6.5 points.

Junior guards David Adolph and Jack Pinney, junior forward Jayden Sun and sophomore guard Sasha Stavroff are others eligible to return. 

“We return our entire starting lineup, as well as 10 of our top 11 scorers,” Beard said. “We played five sophomores and five juniors along with Andrew Butcher. This group has gained a lot of valued experience these last two years.” 

—Jarrod Ulrey 

Joel Kunzelman was part of a nine-player senior class for Jerome. “It will be very difficult to replace this senior class. Our underclassmen are going to have to step it up big time next year,” coach Pat Murphy said.

•The Jerome hockey team will lose nine players to graduation after going 9-14-1-1, including a 5-1 loss to eighth-seeded Thomas Worthington on Feb. 20 in the second round of the district tournament as the No. 9 seed. 

The biggest losses will be forwards Evan Halligan (17 goals, 8 assists), Landon Hale (9 goals, 5 assists), Joel Kunzelman and Anthony DiPaolo and defensemen Hayden Hale and Gavin Mlicki. 

“We have some work to do in the offseason to prepare for 2021-22,” coach Pat Murphy said. “It will be very difficult to replace this senior class. Our underclassmen are going to have to step it up big time next year.” 

Eligible to return at goalie are junior J.B. Russo, who went 6-9-1, and sophomore Abby Gyruko, who finished 3-7-0-1. 

Other returnees should include juniors Charles Beuselnick (defenseman), Alex Erickson (forward), Danny Kaszubowski (forward), Colin Norkin (forward), Jackson Pollina (forward) and Kade Williams (forward/defenseman) and sophomores Carter Brown (forward) and A.J. Lawler (forward). 

“This season had its challenges, obviously,” Murphy said. “I thought our players worked hard and played much better than our record indicates. We had some inexperienced young players who learned a lot and improved quite a bit. Our veterans played well every night. Our biggest issue was scoring goals. (We had) plenty of scoring chances, but not enough pucks crossing the goal line.” 

—Jarrod Ulrey 

•Despite playing nine fewer games than last season, the Coffman hockey team improved by two wins and finished 12-11. 

The Shamrocks, who were the 11th seed for the district tournament and lost 2-1 to seventh-seeded Olentangy Berlin on Feb. 20 in a second-round game, will lose forwards Ervin Cui, Matthew Jasniecki, Thiago Jeronimo and Ben Schepflin and defenseman Gavin Schiefferle to graduation. 

Schiefferle was second-team all-CHC and first-team all-CHC-White. 

“The team itself handled themselves particularly well in keeping as much as possible to the guidelines, masks, social distancing to ensure an uninterrupted season from our team’s perspective,” coach Jeff Kerr said. “The team as a whole was open and committed to our game plan, even as it may change depending on our opponents.” 

Junior forward Nick Schepflin led the Shamrocks in points (21) and junior defenseman Camden Willis led in goals (12) and was honorable mention all-CHC. 

Juniors Noah Clemens (forward), Eliav Dayan (defenseman), Brycen Levings (defenseman) and Will Pace (goalie) also should be among the top returnees.

“Our returning first-year players will have a larger role due to the number of key positions we’ll lose due to graduation,” Kerr said. “The expectation for next year is that everyone is going to step up their commitment, preseason conditioning and strength training, on-ice development and hockey IQ.” 

—Jarrod Ulrey

•The Scioto girls basketball team posted its fourth consecutive winning season, finishing 10-8 overall and 7-6 in the OCC-Capital. 

“There were some positives this year,” coach Jen Music said. “Our group did a really nice job. It was tough having an eight-week preseason (because of the pandemic), but they stayed focused. They made the best of it. Dublin had some of its own rules that they followed and (our team) did it without question and it paid off for us.” 

Forward Karleigh Rothe, who averaged 10.4 points and 7.8 rebounds, was second-team all-league, while forward Ashleigh Rothe was special mention all-league after averaging 11.4 points and 4.9 rebounds. They were part of a four-member senior class. 

Junior guard Tiffany Trinh was honorable mention all-league. 

Others eligible to return are juniors Trinity Johnson (forward), Erika Little (guard), Avery Samms (guard) and Mia Treboni-Hogan (guard/forward) and freshman Alec Rothe (center). 

Seeded 18th in the Division I district tournament, Scioto lost 58-53 at 11th-seeded Harding in the second round Feb. 19. 

—Frank DiRenna 

•The Scioto hockey team finished 1-20 under first-year coach Zach Vallette. 

Senior forward Nick Gould had 25 goals and seven assists, sophomore defenseman Tommy Dwyer had four goals and seven assists and senior forward/defenseman Bennett Obenour had six goals and three assists. 

Sophomore John Jones saw most of the playing time in goal. 

Others eligible to return are juniors Shane Hall (forward), Ibrahim Miniato (forward) and Ryan Wallace (forward), sophomores Ricky Monzalvo (forward) and Alex Rath (defenseman) and freshman Ian Waizmann (forward). 

Seeded 25th in the district tournament, the Irish lost 14-1 to ninth-seeded Jerome in the first round Feb. 19. 

“The kids had a lot of fun even though our record was not very good,” Vallette said. “The locker room and practice were always fun. The kids were always excited to be at the rink and had a smile on their face.” 

—Frank DiRenna 

COFFMAN HOCKEY 

Record: 12-11 overall  

CHC-White standings: Cincinnati Moeller (29, 14-1-1), Olentangy Berlin (25, 12-3-1), Thomas Worthington (19, 9-6-0-1), Cincinnati St. Xavier (17, 7-6-2-1), Coffman (16, 8-8), Springboro (10, 4-10-1-1) 

Seniors lost: Ervin Cui, Matthew Jasniecki, Thiago Jeronimo, Ben Schepflin and Gavin Schiefferle 

Key returnees: Noah Clemens, Eliav Dayan, Brycen Levings, Will Pace, Nick Schepflin and Cam Willis 

Postseason: Defeated Troy 9-1; lost to Berlin 2-1 in second round of district tournament 

JEROME BOYS BASKETBALL  

Record: 9-14 overall  

OCC-Cardinal standings: Thomas (10-0), Marysville (7-3), Olentangy (6-4), Hilliard Darby (4-6), Jerome (3-7), Berlin (0-10) 

Seniors lost: Andrew Butcher and Austin Carlin 

Key returnees: David Adolph, Matt Butler, C.C. Ezirim, Luke Kuhlman, Lachlan MacDonald, Ryan Nutter, Jack Pinney, Sasha Stavroff and Jayden Sun 

Postseason: Def. Watkins Memorial 46-31; lost to Reynoldsburg 53-46 in second round of Division I district tournament 

JEROME HOCKEY 

Record: 9-14-1-1 overall  

CHC-Red standings: St. Charles (25, 12-2-1), Upper Arlington (24, 11-3), Olentangy Liberty (22, 10-3-1-1), Olentangy Orange (21, 10-4-0-1), Jerome (10, 4-10-1-1), New Albany (5, 1-9-2-1) 

Seniors lost: T.J. Boroff, Sam Cho, Anthony DiPaolo, Hayden Hale, Landon Hale, Evan Halligan, Joel Kunzelman, Gavin Mlicki and Jack Ryan 

Key returnees: Carter Brown, A.J. Lawler, Colin Norkin, Jackson Pollina, J.B. Russo and Kade Williams 

Postseason: Def. Scioto 14-1; lost to Thomas 5-1 in second round of district tournament 

SCIOTO GIRLS BASKETBALL 

Record: 10-8 overall 

OCC-Capital standings: Westerville North (12-2), Delaware and Westerville South (9-5), Scioto (7-6), Worthington Kilbourne (7-7), Big Walnut (6-8), Canal Winchester (5-8), Franklin Heights (0-14) 

Seniors lost: Gabbie Johnson, Ashleigh Rothe, Karleigh Rothe and Avery Schwab 

Key returnees: Alec Rothe and Tiffany Trinh 

Postseason: Lost to Marion Harding 58-53 in second round of Division I district tournament

SCIOTO HOCKEY 

Record: 1-20 overall 

CHC-Blue standings: Olentangy (22, 11-5), Watterson (20, 10-6), Gahanna (18, 9-7), Columbus Academy (13, 6-10-0-1), Kilbourne (9, 4-10-0-1), DeSales (6, 3-14), Scioto (0, 0-16) 

Seniors lost: Nick Gould, Bennett Obenour and Gavin Smith 

Key returnees: Tommy Dwyer, John Jones, and Ryan Wallace 

Postseason: Lost to Jerome 14-1 in first round of district tournament