The Watterson High School girls basketball team easily won its own Watterson Holiday Tournament last year, defeating Dublin Jerome 61-40 and Upper Arlington 52-38 in the final.

The Watterson High School girls basketball team easily won its own Watterson Holiday Tournament last year, defeating Dublin Jerome 61-40 and Upper Arlington 52-38 in the final.

In an effort to strengthen the four-team tournament, coach Tom Woodford has replaced Centennial and Dublin Jerome with Cincinnati Mother of Mercy and Olmsted Falls, and he invited UA back.

The event will be held Monday and Tuesday at Watterson, and winning it again would be an even more satisfying accomplishment.

"It definitely would because we've got a lot better teams coming," said guard Melissa Gilliland, whose team beat Hartley 69-32 on Dec. 13 and Columbus School for Girls 52-44 last Saturday to improve to 5-0 overall and 1-0 in the CCL heading into a non-league game last Tuesday against Olentangy Liberty. "Upper Arlington is always pretty good and the other teams are tougher now, so it would mean a lot to us to win this tournament again."

The semifinals will be played Monday, with Mother of Mercy and UA meeting at 6 p.m. and Watterson and Olmsted Falls to follow. The consolation is 6 p.m. Tuesday, followed by the final.

Olmsted Falls is led by senior center Ashley Hodge (6-foot-1), senior point guard Rachel Rossman and senior guard Alexis Henton. Rossman scored 11 points as it beat Amherst Steele 37-18 on Dec. 17 to improve to 3-2.

Through five games, Henton was averaging 17.5 points, Rossman was averaging 8.0 points, 5.5 assists and 2.5 steals and Hodge was averaging 8.0 points and 9.0 rebounds.

Utilizing a man-to-man defense, Olmsted Falls held Amherst Steele to 19 percent shooting from the floor. Coach Matt Fulton said the Bulldogs will need a similar defensive effort to beat the Eagles.

"We're not going to go up and down the floor and outscore many teams, so we have to get in their grill and play pressure defense to win low-scoring games," Fulton said. "We'll try to slow them down. We're relatively deliberate on offense, but I'd like to see us take early shots if we get good ones."

Mother of Mercy lost to Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame 54-33 on Dec. 18 to drop to 3-2. The Bobcats' top players are senior center Katie Kees (6-3), senior guard Jill Brunsman (5-6), junior forward Erin O'Brien (5-6) and junior center Chelsea Meckstroh (5-11).

Through five games, Kees was averaging 10 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.6 blocks, Brunsman was averaging 8.6 points, 4.0 assists and 2.8 steals, O'Brien was averaging 8.2 points and 1.8 steals and Meckstroh was averaging 5.2 rebounds.

UA lost to Hilliard Darby 55-41 last Friday to drop to 3-2. The Golden Bears are led by senior guard Abby Frye (5-8), junior center Jane Windler (6-1), junior forward Shannon Flower (5-9), sophomore guard Mary Corbett (5-7) and freshman guard Michela Paradiso (5-6).

Regardless of who Watterson plays in its tournament, Woodford would like to see the Eagles continue to feature a balanced attack. Through five games, Daiva Gerbec was averaging 14.3 points, followed by Gilliland (12.3), Courtney Haley (10.3) and Sunny Finnegan (5.5).

Gerbec also was averaging 9.5 rebounds.

"Both our posts and guards are scoring a lot of points, so we've got good balance," Woodford said. "We've had five different players score in double figures for us. We'd like to score inside first to open things up on the perimeter. In our win over Hartley (69-32 on Dec. 13) we were 8-for-8 from 3-point range in the second half because we made a lot of inside shots in the first half."

Defensively, Woodford's goal is for the Eagles to get 40 rebounds and to hold their opponents to 38 or fewer points.

He listed Gerbec, Cami Frommeyer, Mary Kate Campbell and Stasia Valentino as his top defensive players.

"Daiva's defense stands out because she blocks a lot of shots and plays good help-side defense," Woodford said. "Cami defends the other team's best guard, and Mary Kate defends the other team's best player, whether it's a perimeter or post player. We're going to play nine to 10 players per game to try to wear teams out with our depth."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Watterson boys basketball, wrestling and boys and girls swimming and diving teams:

BOYS BASKETBALL

*Last Friday -- Lost to Worthington Christian 56-43

Last Saturday -- Lost to Beechcroft 69-66

Last Tuesday -- Played Mansfield St. Peter's

Saturday -- Home vs. Whitehall

Of note: The Eagles were 2-3 overall before last Tuesday and are 1-1 in the CCL.

WRESTLING

Jan. 7 -- Home vs. Chillicothe

SWIMMING & DIVING

Saturday -- At Thomas Worthington vs. Lancaster

Monday -- At Watterson Relays

*CCL contest