Brooklyn Hess

Danville guard Brooklyn Hess drives to the hoop during a Jan. 4 matchup vs. East Knox.

COLUMBUS – When it comes to her goals for the 2019-20 season, Danville senior CeCe Newbold has one thing in mind.

“I want to make a far run in the tournament,” the all-state forward said after a win over East Knox in January.

The Blue Devils have lost in the district semifinals two straight years. In 2017, Newbold’s freshman year, they won 20 games but fell in the regional final – one game short of a trip to the Div. IV final four.

If Danville (13-6, 9-4 Knox Morrow Athletic Conference) wants to make another deep postseason run this winter, it now knows what it will take. The OHSAA held its tournament draw on Sunday, where teams were seeded and tournament brackets were finalized.

The Blue Devils, seeded fourth in the Div. IV central district, will begin their postseason voyage with a home matchup against 17-seed Millersport on Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. If they win, they will host 14-seed Madison Plains on Feb. 21.

Danville and three-seed Fairfield Christian Academy, who have faced each other twice in the last four years, are on opposite sides of the district bracket. Both teams will need to win two games to meet in the district title game on Feb. 29 at Ohio Dominican University.

Danville will play two more games to conclude the regular season – against East Knox on Wednesday and Coshocton on Saturday. Blue Devil coach Matt Proper said his team is excited about its tournament draw and the challenge ahead.

“We are excited about finishing the last two games of our regular season on a positive note and moving forward into the tournament,” Proper said in an email. “One of our team goals this season is to win a district championship, so I know our players will be focused and willing to put in the work necessary to make a tournament run.”

Yellow Jackets could face district’s top seed: In the Div. I central district, 47-seed Mount Vernon will have a first-round bye. The Yellow Jackets (2-16, 1-8 Ohio Cardinal Conference) will face the winner of top-seed Newark vs. 44-seed Franklin Heights on Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. The higher seed hosts during the first two rounds, which means Mount Vernon will be on the road.

Newark and Franklin Heights will face off on Feb. 15. Newark is currently ranked third in the state, according to the latest AP poll.

While Mount Vernon has struggled this year, the squad has shown improvement over the course of the season. The Yellow Jackets knocked off Ashland on Jan. 23 after falling to the Arrows in December. They will play three more conference games on the road to conclude the regular season.

The winner of Mount Vernon vs. Newark/Franklin Heights will face the winner of Watkins Memorial vs. Olentangy Berlin/New Albany in the district semifinals on Feb. 26.

Trojans could face defending state champs with win: In the Div. III central district, 19-seed Centerburg also has a first-round bye. The Trojans (1-17, 0-13 KMAC) will play the winner of 10-seed Elgin vs. 12-seed Fairbanks on Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. The higher seed hosts during the first two rounds, which means Centerburg will be on the road. Elgin and Fairbanks will square off on Feb. 18.

Centerburg captured its lone win against Northside Christian on Dec. 17. Plagued by injuries, the young Trojans have struggled in conference play this winter. They will play three more games, including a home KMAC finale vs. Fredericktown, to conclude the regular season.

The winner of Centerburg vs. Elgin/Fairbanks will face the winner of Africentric Early College vs. Columbus International on Feb. 26. Africentric is currently ranked first in the state, according to the latest AP poll. The Nubians captured their second consecutive state title (and seventh all-time) last March, finishing the season 28-0.

Freddies set to battle North Union in first round: Also in the Div. III central district, 15-seed Fredericktown will play eight-seed North Union in the tournament’s first round on Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. The game will be played at North Union High School.

Fredericktown (7-11, 2-10 KMAC) has shown improvement this season under second-year head coach Tim Maceyko. The Freddies had just one win last year at seeding time and finished last in the KMAC.

This year, Fredericktown has defeated Northmor and Centerburg, while challenging some of the conference’s top teams along the way. The Freddies will play four more games to conclude the regular season, including two against conference foes.

The winner of Fredericktown vs. North Union will face 14-seed Columbus Academy on Feb. 22. If the Freddies win, they will hit the road for that matchup.

Bulldogs draw Ridgedale in competitive central district: In the Div. IV central district, six-seed East Knox will face nine-seed Ridgedale in the tournament’s first round on Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. The game will be played at East Knox High School.

The Bulldogs (9-10, 3-9 KMAC) have battled injuries and growing pains this season. Still, they’ve managed to straddle the .500 mark and beat three KMAC opponents. They’ve been competitive against some of the conference’s top teams, such as Mount Gilead and state-ranked Cardington.

East Knox will play two more games to conclude the regular season, both against county rivals.

The winner of East Knox vs. Ridgedale will face the winner of Granville Christian Academy vs. Grove City Christian/Fairfield Christian Academy in the district semifinals on Feb. 26.

For statewide tournament brackets, click here.

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Staff Reporter

Grant is a 2018 graduate of Ohio Northern University, where he studied journalism and played basketball. He likes coffee, books and minor league baseball. He loves telling stories and has a passion for local news.