Whetstone High School boys basketball coach Kevin Arway is hoping that the momentum his team gained from winning consecutive games during the holiday break continues in the second half of the season.
"I wouldn't say we are where we want to be in terms of our record and our execution, but it's definitely an improvement, so we're heading in the right direction," he said. "We are preparing for and expecting a much better second half of the season."
The Braves entered the week 3-6 overall and 1-4 in the City League-North Division.
They defeated Orrville Kingsway Christian 83-33 in the first round of the Mount Gilead Holiday Classic on Dec. 28, but the championship game the next day was canceled because of bad weather.
Whetstone's only league win coming into this week came against Linden-McKinley, 57-36 on Dec. 21. Gary Hoover led the Braves with 16 points and Claude Bogan scored 15.
"What stood out that night was our defense," Arway said. "We limited Linden to single digits in scoring in three of the four quarters and led by 30 at one point in the fourth quarter. The big issue there is the way we are practicing, I believe.
"We're picking it up harder in practices and we've added more competition in practices to pick (the players') intensity up and we're asking for a higher level of accountability from them. I think we're starting to see that carry over into the games."
Matt Moyer led the way against Kingsway Christian with 20 points. Hoover had 17 points and Brian Scott and Darius Bester scored 13 and 10, respectively.
"For most of the season, we've played well for a quarter, a half, maybe a little more, but we haven't really played well for an entire game," Arway said. "That's what we're hoping to piece together the rest of the season. We increased the intensity in practices to simulate games and maybe we won't get fatigued and have mental and physical breakdowns throughout games. Maybe we'll keep our focus now."
The Braves have league games against Centennial on Friday, Jan. 11, at home and Tuesday, Jan. 15, at Columbus East.
"Against Linden, we played the passing lanes well, we played good help defense and we boxed out and rebounded strong," Arway said. "If we can do those things and shoot it well and keep our turnovers down, we'll be in good shape."
Walters takes over as girls basketball coach
The girls basketball team underwent a coaching change four games into the season when Scott Radde abruptly resigned.
Radde, who was in his third season leading the program, was replaced by Bucky Walters, a 1974 Whetstone graduate whose resume includes stints as coach of the Tree of Life boys and girls basketball teams and the Linden-McKinley girls basketball team. He completed his fourth season as the girls tennis coach at Whetstone last fall and will enter his sixth season as the Braves' boys tennis coach this spring.
The Braves entered the week 3-9 overall and 1-6 in the City-North. They were 1-3 when Radde stepped down.
Bowlers continue to learn game
The boys bowling team entered the week 2-3 overall and in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-Central Division.
The Braves defeated Brookhaven 1,651-1,555 on Jan. 3.
"That was a big win against Brookhaven for two reasons," coach Lori Jackson said. "First, it gave us some confidence. Secondly, the kids were taking the things we worked on in practice and implementing them into their games. I was so proud to see them do that.
"They're understanding now that you have a choice and decisions as to how to get the ball where you want it to go. They're understanding the game and looking for ways to improve their game."
The roster is comprised of boys and girls because the school is not fielding a girls team this season because of low numbers. The team consists of seniors Cameron Thompson and Abbie Nypaver, juniors Andrew Carringer, Win McCarter and Annalise Van Luinen and freshman Laurin Perfect.
"Cameron Thompson has increased his average from 140 to 164 (a game) and he rolled his first 200 game against Brookhaven," Jackson said. "Abbie Nypaver's game has settled down a lot and her average has jumped from 125 to 144. She has a very accurate ball and a great follow through."
Twenty students attended a preseason meeting about participating this winter, but only 10 took part in tryouts.
"All but one of the kids who made it have their own ball and can practice on their own and take the sport seriously," Jackson said. "The kids are excited about competition and learning how they can improve. That's fun as a coach."