Notebook: Hilliard Darby Panthers boys basketball team hopes to end tournament drought

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group
Seeking the program's first postseason win since the 2009-10 season, Nate Ruland and Darby open the Division I district tournament Feb. 23 at Olentangy Berlin. The Panthers defeated the Bears twice in OCC-Cardinal Division play.

The Hilliard Darby boys basketball team has set its sights on an elusive goal as it prepares for the Division I district tournament. 

The Panthers are seeking their first district tournament win since the 2009-10 season when they beat Dublin Jerome 47-44 in the opening round. 

“We haven’t won a district tournament game in 11 years,” coach Chris Maul said. “Coming into the draw, we wanted to be in a position where we could win a tournament game. We could have played at home, but once we saw the (Olentangy) Berlin game we thought it was going to be a good fit for us.” 

Seeded 31st, the Panthers will visit 29th-seeded Berlin in the first round Feb. 23. The winner visits ninth-seeded Dublin Coffman on Feb. 26. 

Darby beat Berlin 45-42 on Feb. 10 and 64-41 on Feb. 2 in OCC-Cardinal Division contests. 

“Berlin has struggled in the first couple of years getting their program going, but they’ve had a better year this year,” Maul said. “Coach (Donovon) Barrett does a good job. He’ll throw a lot of different defenses at you, some zones, some man-to-man.” 

The Panthers were 6-10 overall and 3-5 in the league before playing Thomas Worthington on Feb. 12. 

Through 16 games, Cam Gilkerson was averaging 10.9 points to lead the Panthers, followed by Gio Roberts (10.8) and Matt Sech (10.8), while Gilkerson (5.6) and Alex Smith (4.2) were the top rebounders. 

The Panthers are missing sophomore guard Javi Quimba, who will be out the rest of the season with a left hamstring injury. 

“We lost our starting point guard to a hamstring injury,” Maul said. “We haven’t had a lot of guard depth and we had a backup guard, Nate Ruland, sprain his ankle, so we’ve only had six guys for about five games in a row. When you’re playing three or four games in a week, we’ve had some defensive issues in the fourth quarter and part of that is being fatigued.” 

Ruland has since returned. 

•The Davidson boys basketball team is looking to make a long postseason run. 

Seeded 25th in the Division I district tournament, the Wildcats will visit 11th-seeded Licking Heights in the opening round Feb. 23. With a victory, Davidson would play at 17th-seeded Whitehall on Feb. 26. 

“Being seeded 25th, we would have loved to have been a little higher and had a few more choices to where we go, let someone jump on us, but we were satisfied with where we’re at,” coach Tim Congrove said. “We have to be ready to play each night and you can’t take anything for granted. We have to be ready to fight and battle.” 

Davidson was 5-7 overall and 2-4 in the OCC-Central before playing Olentangy Liberty on Feb. 12. 

“We’re taking steps in the right direction,” Congrove said. “We’ve talked about playing our best basketball to end the year in February and March.” 

The Wildcats lost 65-55 on Feb. 10 to visiting Westerville Central, which is the No. 2 seed in the district tournament behind Gahanna. 

Jared Frey led Davidson with 17 points, followed by Jayden Nervis and Jonathan Weir with 12 apiece. 

–Frank DiRenna 

Sofia Gentile and Darby open the Division I district tournament Feb. 19 at DeSales. The Panthers were 8-11 overall and 5-4 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Thomas Worthington on Feb. 12.

•The Darby girls basketball team is seeded 25th in the Division I district tournament, opening Feb. 19 at 23rd-seeded DeSales in the second round.

The winner advances to a district semifinal Feb. 24, likely against top-seeded Newark.

Through 19 games, Ashley Powers was averaging 9.4 points and 5.5 rebounds to lead Darby, which was 8-11 overall and 5-4 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Thomas on Feb. 12.

Bella Heaton was averaging 9.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.0 steals and a team-leading 2.5 assists, and Tayen Brown was averaging 7.1 points, 2.1 assists and a team-high 2.3 steals. Sophie Williams was averaging 6.3 points and had made 31 of 84 3-point shots (36.9 percent).

–Scott Hennen

•The Bradley girls basketball team is seeded 13th in the Division I district tournament and opens Feb. 19 at home against 14th-seeded Liberty or 26th-seeded Pickerington North in the second round. 

The winner will play fifth-seeded Watterson or 30th-seeded Northland in a district semifinal Feb. 24 at the home of the better seed.

Bradley was 11-7 overall and 6-3 in the OCC-Central before facing Olentangy Orange on Feb. 12.

Chloe Callahan had 15 points and Carly Callahan added nine as the Jaguars lost 59-35 to Coffman on Feb. 9 in league play.

–Scott Hennen

•The Bradley boys and girls bowling teams both captured OCC-Cardinal championships.

The boys won the OCC-Cardinal at 7-0 and were 12-1 overall and 9-1 in the COHSBC-B before playing Pickerington North on Feb. 11.

Nick Caruso led Bradley in average at 189.4 before Feb. 11, followed by Zander Dietz (187.6), Carson Dever (185.0) and Brandon Dever (183.8).

The girls tied Newark at 6-1 for their third consecutive OCC-Cardinal title. They finished 10-2 overall and 9-1 in the COHSBC-B.

Olivia Johnson led the Jaguars with a 189.6 average entering the postseason, followed by Callie Hribar (172.9) and Makayla Davis (161.4).

In the Division I sectional at HP Lanes, the girls competed Feb. 17 and the boys compete Feb. 19.

For both boys and girls, the top 16 teams and top 16 individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district Feb. 22 at HP Lanes. 

–Scott Hennen

•The Davidson boys bowling team will compete in a Division I sectional Feb. 20 at HP Lanes.  

Davidson was 7-5 overall and 3-2 in the OCC-Central before playing Marysville on Feb. 11 and went 6-4 in the COHSBC-B. 

Through 22 games, Kaden Miller led the Wildcats with a 192.8 average, followed by Caelan Guthrie (188), Ben Curry (183.2), Nicholas Bremer (174.4) and Owen Savage (165.2). 

–Frank DiRenna

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