Although Bexley High School boys basketball coach Dave Gustin said he would like to see his team work harder "collectively," he was pleased with the Lions' record on their recent road stretch.
Bexley defeated Hamilton Township 85-49 on Jan. 3 to improve to 4-3 overall and cap a string of five consecutive road games with a 4-1 mark.
"We're coming off a five-game road trip and we ended up 4-1, and I'm impressed with that," Gustin said.
"We played pretty well (Jan. 3), but this team is still trying to find itself collectively.
"We don't have any consistent effort with things we are trying to get done in general. We are not on the same page effort-wise, yet it is always a work in progress."
After opening the season with a pair of home losses (74-63 to Watterson on Nov. 30 and 60-52 to Circleville on Dec. 4), the Lions found some success away from home. Bexley picked up its first MSL-Ohio Division victory by defeating Columbus Academy 65-51 on Dec. 13 before cruising to a 65-33 win at Wellington on Dec. 19. The Lions moved to 2-0 in the MSL-Ohio by edging London 68-64 on Dec. 21, but fell to Columbus South 60-52 on Dec. 27 before their win over Hamilton Township.
Through seven games, senior forward Sam Nolan was averaging 21.2 points and junior point guard Niejel Young was averaging 11.5 points. Against Wellington and London, senior forward Marshall Drewry scored 12 points and a career-high 18, respectively.
Junior forward Drew Elliott scored 16 points against South and 24 with six 3-pointers against Hamilton Township.
The Lions returned home Jan. 7 to face Whitehall, which was leading the MSL-Ohio at 5-0. Bexley entered the game having won five of its last six meetings with the Rams.
Next up are home league games Thursday, Jan. 9, against Worthington Christian and Saturday, Jan. 11, against Grandview.
"We need to work harder collectively. Some of them are, but we're not all on the same page," Gustin said. "I demand a lot in practice. When these kids understand consistency it will help the cause."
Wrestlers struggle at Orange tourney
After having just over a two-week break from its last competition, the wrestling team returned to the mat Jan. 4 for the Pioneer Invitational at Olentangy Orange.
The Lions collected 32 points and finished 15th in the 17-team event. It wasn't the performance coach Ed Cruz was looking for from his team.
"Overall, we performed poorly and need to step it up," he said. "We can't use winter break as an excuse. Everyone else had winter break, also.
"It is a matter of significantly increasing the intensity of practice."
Pickerington North won with 231 points, followed by Orange (172.5) and Olentangy (168).
Of Bexley's nine wrestlers in the event, only freshman Zach Welsh (120 pounds) and senior Daniel Lee (220) won more than once.
Welsh finished 2-3 and placed fourth. His two victories were by pin, over Korey Boggs of Westerville South and Ray Madero of Grove City.
Lee went 2-2 and placed fifth.
Also competing in the Pioneer Invitational were senior Sam Shorr (1-2 at 132), freshman Eric Crane (1-2 at 138), senior Craig Music (1-2 at heavyweight), freshman Perrin Ruff (1-3 at 113), sophomore Dylan Cramer (0-3 at 152), freshman Jalen Hatton (0-3 at 160) and freshman Parker Getz (0-3 at 182).
The Lions played host Jan. 8 to Hilliard Darby B and Whetstone in dual matches. Bexley, which won just two duals last season, entered with a 3-3 record.
Girls basketball team on three-game skid
The bad news for the girls basketball team is it entered the week on a three-game losing streak and was 2-6 overall before playing Buckeye Valley on Jan. 7.
The good news for the Lions is both of their wins have come against MSL-Ohio opponents.
Bexley is third in the league at 2-1, behind Worthington Christian (5-1) and West Jefferson (4-1).
Against Whitehall on Dec. 20, junior center Elise Torrence scored 25 points as the Lions won 49-33. Junior forward Mary Massarelli and freshman forward/center Brie Toney each added seven points.
Bexley then lost a pair of games in the Watterson Christmas Classic, falling to the host Eagles 50-32 on Dec. 27 and to Ready 62-32 on Dec. 28.
Bexley dropped its third consecutive contest and suffered its first MSL-Ohio loss when it fell to Grandview 41-32 on Jan. 4.