The Bexley High School boys basketball team picked a good time to pick up its first victory.
After dropping their first two games, the Lions opened MSL-Ohio Division play by defeating host Columbus Academy 65-51 on Dec. 13.
Senior forward Sam Nolan scored a career-high 31 points as the Lions won their second consecutive game in their series with the Vikings after having lost the previous four.
"It felt great to get our first win and to be 1-0 in the league," said the 6-foot-2 Nolan, who is averaging 23.3 points. "Whenever you beat Academy, it is always nice."
Nolan, a second-team all-league selection a year ago, dominated Academy's zone defense in the third quarter, scoring 16 points with four 3-pointers as Bexley built a 52-36 lead. The Lions outscored the Vikings 24-14 in the third.
"It felt great, and the cool thing was that my teammates were excited for me," Nolan said of his big third quarter. "I was more excited that we were beating Academy than anything I was doing individually."
Junior point guard Niejel Young followed with 17 points, while senior forward Taylor Walker added seven points and six rebounds.
"The (1-2 overall) record, I'm not hung up on that and all that is behind us," said 10th-year coach Dave Gustin, who is in his 23rd year overall as a coach. "Having our first win against our archrival and being 1-0 in the league is something we have to build on.
"We took a good first step and I think we are going in the right direction, but the team has a lot to improve on before March and tournament time."
The Lions return to action with a non-league game Thursday, Dec. 19, at Wellington. They resume league play Saturday, Dec. 21, at London.
Bexley's home game against Hartley on Dec. 10 was rescheduled for Jan. 15 because of the length of the Hawks' football season.
Girls basketball team earns coach's 1st win
The girls basketball team lost three of its first four games, but its victory came in the MSL-Ohio opener.
The Lions won 61-53 on Dec. 10 at Madison Plains for John Callahan's first victory as a varsity coach. Brie Toney, a 6-0 freshman forward/center, led Bexley with 18 points, while junior forward Mary Massarelli scored 14 points and 6-3 junior center Elise Torrence added 13.
The Lions led 39-38 after three quarters and outscored Madison Plains 22-15 in the fourth.
Two days later, Bexley fell 33-29 at home against Hamilton Township. Massarelli scored 13 points to pace the Lions, who trailed 17-12 at halftime and 22-21 after three quarters.
"Our season has been one where we have played great defense, but we have had trouble scoring," Callahan said. "In our one win we shot 50 percent from the floor and we scored 61 points, while in two of our three losses we have shot below 20 percent and been held below 30 points.
"If we can continue to get the effort the girls have given through the first four games, we will have a successful season."
The Lions played West Jefferson on Dec. 17 in a league game and travel to Whitehall on Friday, Dec. 20, for another league contest.
Wrestling team splits home tri-match
The wrestling team went 1-1 in its home tri-match against Watterson and Westerville Central on Dec. 11 and followed with an eighth-place finish in the 13-team Hamilton Township Classic on Dec. 14.
Bexley defeated Watterson 45-16 and fell to Westerville Central 47-27. Senior Sam Shorr (132 pounds), freshman Eric Crane (138), sophomore Dylan Cramer (160 and 152), freshman Parker Getz (182) and senior Daniel Lee (220 and heavyweight) each went 2-0 for the Lions.
Against Watterson, Cramer competed at 160 and Lee competed at heavyweight. They competed down a weight class against Central.
At Hamilton Township, Bexley scored 84 points to finish behind Grove City (214), Hilliard Darby (196.5), Clyde (176.5), Hilliard Davidson (159), Hamilton Township (149), Dublin Scioto (137.5) and Gahanna (97).
The Lions competed Dec. 18 at home against Centennial and Grandview.
Swimmers compete in Academy Relays
The boys and girls swimming teams competed in the Columbus Academy Relays on Dec. 14 at Ohio Wesleyan. The boys scored 44 points to finish last in a five-team field, while the girls scored 42 points to also place fifth.
Dublin Coffman (108) won the boys event, followed by Academy (74), Delaware (68), Gahanna (52) and Bexley.
On the girls side, Delaware finished first (94), followed by Coffman (92), Academy (74), Gahanna (62) and Bexley.
The Lions competed Dec. 17 against DeSales at the North YMCA.