Senior point guard Kaleigh Whitlatch believes better teamwork is one of the primary reasons why the Canal Winchester High School girls basketball team is winning more frequently than it did the past two seasons.
The Indians were 7-8 overall before playing DeSales on Jan. 23. Their combined record the past two seasons was 10-32.
"We're all working together as one team instead of having individuals who are singling themselves out like we've had in the past," Whitlatch said. "Instead of having people who are trying to be one great player, we're all working together to try to be a great team."
The Indians utilized a balanced offense to beat Amanda-Clearcreek 51-49 on Jan. 19 to improve to 6-4 in the MSL-Buckeye Division. Guard Jade Smith had a team-high 12 points, followed by Whitlatch with 11, post player Raven Hamilton with 10 and post player Sarah Miles with eight.
On Jan. 15, Hamilton scored a career-high 31 points and Miles scored 10 in a 56-52 loss to Logan Elm, which was the MSL-Buckeye runner-up a year ago.
"Logan Elm has a really small team, so we fed the ball to our taller players in the post the whole game," Whitlatch said. "We're better when we spread the ball around to a lot of players and that's what we did (against Amanda-Clearcreek). We have a lot of skilled people and we're looking to set each other up to score."
The Indians are looking forward to playing host to Teays Valley on Tuesday, Jan. 29, after losing to the Vikings 62-60 on Dec. 21. Teays Valley placed third in the league last season behind champion Fairfield Union and Logan Elm.
Teays Valley defeated Circleville 47-32 on Jan. 19 to improve to 11-6 overall and 9-1 in the MSL-Buckeye as freshman guard Shayna Harmon scored 21 points.
Other key players for the Vikings are freshman guard Baylee Kuhlwein and 6-foot-3 junior post player Janelle James.
"It would be nice to beat Teays Valley because it would show how much we've improved since the last time we played them," Whitlatch said. "Shayna Harmon and Baylee are pretty much their main players. We usually play zone defense, but I'll guard Shayna as much as possible and Jade Smith or (guard) Taylor Thompson will guard Baylee."
Girls swimmers get ready for MSL meet
The girls swimming and diving team will compete in the MSL meet Saturday, Jan. 26, at Columbus Academy.
Last season, the Indians scored 98 points to finish fourth in the league meet, behind Granville (410), Academy (271) and Teays Valley (110) and ahead of Bexley (95), Grandview (82), Newark Catholic (57), Heath (38), Bloom-Carroll (27), Circleville (26), Fisher Catholic (9), Amanda-Clear-creek (9), Liberty Union (6) and Lakewood (2).
"We hope to do our best and get some personal-best times to help us get prepared for the (Division I) sectional meet (Feb. 9 at Upper Arlington)," senior Sydney Boyer said. "People like Devon Shull and Lexie Meade should do real well in the league meet."
Canal Winchester placed second in a five-team meet Jan. 19 at Academy, scoring 47 points to finish behind Academy (171) and ahead of Village Academy (28), Bloom-Carroll (21) and Fairfield Christian (14).
Meade leading way for boys swim team
The boys swimming and diving team finished eighth (54) in the MSL meet last season, behind Granville (302), Academy (164), Grandview (158), Circleville (104), Bexley (102), Bloom-Carroll (66) and Heath (56) and ahead of Liberty Union (53), Newark Catholic (34), Lakewood (30), Amanda-Clearcreek (23), Licking Valley (14), Teays Valley (12), Fisher Catholic (9) and Logan Elm (3).
"We have only three boys and nine girls, so both of our teams are probably too small to win the MSL," Boyer said. "But (senior) Wyatt (Meade) should do real well in his events."
Meade won both the 50-yard freestyle (23.9 seconds) and 100 breaststroke (1:08.19) in a five-team meet Jan. 19 at Academy, as Canal Winchester scored 20 points to finish last, behind Academy (95), Bloom-Carroll (54), Village Academy (45) and Fairfield Christian (29).