Girls Basketball: Dublin Coffman, Pickerington Central, Reynoldsburg, Hartley win district titles

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group

Junior forward Tara Flynn describes herself as a “generally OK” free-throw shooter, but she was better than that during the Dublin Coffman girls basketball team’s Division I district final Feb. 27 against Marysville. 

Held to their second-lowest point total of the season, the second-seeded and host Shamrocks grinded out a 37-28 victory over the 16th-seeded Monarchs to advance to a regional semifinal March 2 against Reynoldsburg at Westerville South. 

With her team clinging to a 31-28 lead, Flynn made a pair of free throws with 56.1 seconds left and then hit two more with 30.7 to go to help seal the win. 

Flynn finished 9-for-10 from the foul line and scored 15 points as the Shamrocks improved to 22-1. 

“It’s just a big game, so we’ve got to be able to make the big shots when we can,” Flynn said. “It’s huge because last year we fell a little short and we just want to keep going.” 

Dublin Coffman's Veronica Baldridge, right, and Kenzie Bicking cheer on their teammates in the waning minutes of a 37-28 win over visiting Marysville in a Division I district final Feb. 27.

Coffman, which last won a district title in 2017 and was a district runner-up last season, didn’t score until there was 3:35 to go in the opening quarter but led 18-11 by halftime. 

After the Monarchs cut it to 26-23 at the end of the third quarter, the Shamrocks made it 31-26 when Cassidy Lafler grabbed a rebound and then hit the first of two free throws with 1:49 to play. 

Marysville made it 31-28 on a basket by Ava Krutowskis with 1:01 left and nearly forced a turnover on the ensuing possession before fouling Flynn. 

Jenna Kopyar had 12 points for the Shamrocks. 

The Monarchs, who got 10 points from Leah Brown, finished 18-6. 

“One of the goals we set was a district championship, among other things,” Coffman coach Adam Banks said. “We’re still on course for some of the other goals. We’ve been talking about winning a state championship for the last year and a half and there’s no reason we can’t compete at that level.” 

Pickerington Central 48, Watterson 28 

Central captured its sixth consecutive Division I district title with a 48-28 victory Feb. 27 at fifth-seeded Watterson, earning a chance to face defending regional champion Newark in a regional semifinal March 2 at Westerville South.

The seventh-seeded Tigers got a 3-pointer from Madison Greene in the final moments of the second quarter and led 20-18 at halftime. 

The Eagles missed their first five shots of the third quarter as Central put together a 10-0 run. 

“We shot the ball really badly today, and part of that is their defense,” said Watterson coach Sam Davis, whose team finished 17-5. “They’re just really athletic and we knew they were going to trap so we worked on it all week, but you can’t simulate their athleticism.” 

Watterson cut it to 30-24 by the end of the third but Central scored the first five points of the fourth, including a 3-pointer from Berry Wallace. 

After a pair of free throws by the Eagles’ Danielle Grim made it 35-26 with 4 minutes remaining, the Tigers went on a 10-2 run. 

Greene went 3-for-4 from the free-throw line during the final three minutes and finished with 14 points. 

Wallace led the Tigers with 17 points. 

Central, which improved to 13-6, played its last regular-season game Feb. 2 and then went into a 14-day quarantine. 

Tigers coach Jonathan Hedgepeth believes his team is close to being on track as it prepares for a rematch against Newark, which it lost to in a regional final last season. 

“It seems like we play (Newark) every year (in the postseason) and they’re in our conference,” Hedgepeth said. “We know them really well.” 

Reynoldsburg 67, Logan 23 

With its 67-23 win over 34th-seeded Logan on Feb. 27 at home, third-seeded Reynoldsburg won its fifth Division I district title in six seasons and 10th in 12 years. 

The Raiders built a 17-0 lead with 2:30 to go in the opening quarter and led 43-12 by halftime. 

Reynoldsburg improved to 16-4 and Logan finished 6-10. 

“We’ve been working on playing as a team and it’s finally come together,” junior guard Imarianah Russell said. “Everyone wants to count us out, but we’re going to play as a team and we want to play at states. We’re finally sticking together.” 

Russell will face her former team, Coffman, in a regional semifinal after transferring to Reynoldsburg in the offseason. She finished with 26 points, including 16 in the first half. 

Alexia Mobley, who helped Reynoldsburg win a district title as a freshman before playing for Whitehall last season, scored 12 of her 14 points in the first half and had 19 rebounds. 

Mya Perry added 16 points for the Raiders. 

Nearly the entire second half was played with a running clock. 

“Our defensive pressure has gotten better as the season has gone on,” Reynoldsburg coach Jack Purtell said. “It’s a tremendous group of athletes.” 

Hartley 69, Heath 49 

With a 69-49 victory over fifth-seeded Heath in a Division II district final Feb. 27 at home, Hartley advanced to a regional semifinal March 2 against Hamilton Badin at Springfield. 

The second-seeded Hawks improved to 15-5 and won their first district title since 2017. Heath finished 14-7. 

“We took the pressure off and decided to play them in the half-court,” Hartley coach Donald Dennis said. “Then we settled down a little bit.” 

Ella Brandewie, a 6-foot-2 sophomore post player, scored 10 points in the opening quarter and finished with 20. She also had 12 rebounds. 

Hartley led 32-26 by halftime and outscored the Bulldogs 16-10 in the third quarter. 

In the final quarter, the Hawks were 6-for-8 from the free-throw line.

“We were up six at the half and we were able to stretch it out a little bit, settling into our half-court defense,” Dennis said. “It felt really good to win (a district title) in our gym. It doesn’t happen very often. Cutting down the nets in your own gym is a big deal.” 

julrey@thisweeknews.com 

@UlreyThisWeek