Among the strengths for the Hartley High School boys basketball team this season is the speed of its backcourt players.
During a season-opening 61-48 victory over DeSales on Dec. 20, the speed of senior guards Chris Moxley and Drew Onega helped the Hawks lead by as many as 18 points in the second half.
"We really didn't (run) much last year, but we've all played together since our freshman year and our coaches have talked about (running) a lot this year," Moxley said. "I think we can go pretty far this season."
The play of Moxley and Onega, in particular, could be the biggest reasons for Hartley's optimism.
The Hawks, who beat non-league Worthington Christian 57-49 on Jan. 3 and CCL-foe Ready 54-46 on Jan. 4, are 6-1 overall and 3-0 in the league heading into their game Friday, Jan. 10, at St. Charles. They split with the Cardinals last season, winning 45-36 and losing 37-34.
Through five games, Moxley was averaging 17 points and Onega was averaging 14.6.
Moxley, who averaged 11 points and made honorable mention all-district a year ago, scored 23 against DeSales and 19 apiece in wins over Horizon Science Academy (78-35 on Dec. 21) and Whitehall (76-60 on Dec. 30).
Onega made three 3-pointers and had a team-high 23 points against Whitehall and had 20 points, including three 3s, against DeSales. He also went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter of a 46-43 win over Dayton Carroll on Dec. 27 in the Tuscarawas Central Catholic Shootout.
Hartley's only loss came in that same event, 52-46 to Toledo St. John's on Dec. 28.
Cameron Ball, Jacob Mercier and Michael Morgan are other ball-handlers playing key roles for the first time. Two other guards, J'air Wheelwright and Adam Rose, also have contributed in their first seasons on varsity.
Leaning on a backcourt led by Moxley and Onega hasn't been difficult for coach Randy Kortokrax.
"We have several seniors," he said. "I believe in seniors, and we have five of them. I think it's good having Drew and Chris back there.
"Our goal is to rebound, play good defense and go. We want to push the ball as long as we're under control. I think you get your best fast breaks off of missed shots."
Wrestling team out to strong start
The wrestling team begins the 2014 portion of its schedule Thursday, Jan. 9, when it travels to West Jefferson for a meet that also will include Granville and Madison Plains.
The Hawks have competed in four meets thus far, including the 53-team Greater Miami Valley Wrestling Association Holiday Tournament held Dec. 27-28 at Wright State University.
"We've started off pretty well this year," coach Kevin Petrella said.
"This has probably been one of the best starts we've had. This program has gotten a lot better the last few years and I've got some kids that just bleed wrestling."
In the GMVWA Holiday Tournament, Hartley tied Cincinnati Princeton for 24th (64 points) behind champion Lawrenceville (Ga.) Archer (332.5). The Hawks were 14th in the 28-team small-school division behind champion St. Paris Graham (319), which finished second overall.
Kristopher Hill lost to Graham's Eli Stickley 11-2 in the championship match at 113 pounds and Grant Rathburn placed sixth at 138.
Jared Croswell (220) lost in the third round of the consolation bracket and Luke Wulf (106), Josh Heinmiller (120) and Nate Jula (170) lost in the second round of the consolation bracket.
Also winning one match was Patrick Moran (132).
The Hawks will compete in three invitationals this month, including the Marion County Invitational on Friday, Jan. 10, and Saturday, Jan. 11, at Marion County Fairgrounds.
Lawrence leading boys swim team
Patrick Lawrence has gotten off to a strong start for the boys swimming and diving team.
On Dec. 28 in Grandview's Yule at the Pool Invitational at Columbus Aquatics Center, the junior placed second in the 100-yard butterfly (58.75 seconds) and 200 individual medley (2:08.52) and was a member of the 200 freestyle relay that placed fifth (1:43.46) and the 200 medley relay that placed sixth (1:58.28).
Joining Lawrence on both relays were junior Michael Bungard and sophomores Niels Grunden and Bruce Kotlinski.
The boys team finished seventh (97) in the 16-team meet behind champion Springboro (245).
The girls team finished ninth (62) in the 17-team Yule at the Pool behind champion Springboro (247) as sophomore Hayley Elizondo and freshman Carly Archambeau led the way.
Archambeau placed fourth in the 100 free (58.33) and seventh in the 100 fly (1:06.92) and Elizondo finished third in the 100 backstroke (1:06.27) and third in the 200 IM (2:21.82).
Archambeau and Elizondo teamed with sophomores Jillian Rhodes and Sidney Melton to finish fifth in the 200 free relay (1:53.65).