The Whetstone High School boys basketball team is hoping to gain some momentum from its first win of the season.
The Braves lost their first four games before defeating Columbus International 51-45 in a City League-North Division contest Dec. 13. Tommie Lee, a sophomore guard making his first start, scored 14 points and Aaron Adair, Brian Scott and Dexter Kowalski each scored eight.
Whetstone was 1-4 overall and 1-2 in the City-North before playing Northland on Dec. 17.
"Our defense shined," said Scott, a senior guard. "We created a lot of turnovers and scored lots of points off the turnovers. We were due for a win and I think this will boost our confidence to get another one and keep the ball rolling."
Many of International's turnovers were forced by the Braves' full-court, man-to-man pressure.
"We had good pressure on them and we were rotating up on passes, almost like a run-and-jump (defense)," Scott said. "We were anticipating passes."
The closest margin of defeat for Whetstone in its first four losses was 19 points, which came in a 51-32 loss to Columbus East in its league opener Dec. 9. The game had been scheduled for Dec. 6 but was postponed because of bad weather.
The Braves lost their second City-North contest 78-46 to Mifflin on Dec. 10.
Adair, a senior guard, scored 19 points against East and 21 against Mifflin. Also against the Punchers, Lee scored 11 points and Scott scored 10.
Whetstone's other losses came against defending Division II state champion Watterson (84-35 on Dec. 7) and Columbus West in its opener (74-48 on Nov. 29).
"It was a mixture of relief and joy (in the locker room after the first win)," Scott said. "We were relieved to get the first one and happy and excited at the same time. I think Tommie played well in his first start and it's nice to have balanced scoring. We had a lot of players score and contribute different things, too."
Bowling teams get out to strong start
The bowling team was comprised of a co-ed roster in its inaugural season a year ago.
This season, Whetstone, which is being directed by first-year coach Larry Howell, has a boys team and a girls team.
The boys team was 2-1 overall and in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-South before competing against International on Dec. 17.
The Braves defeated Centennial 1,678-1,651 in their opener Dec. 3 before losing to Hartley 1,751-1,728 on Dec. 9. They bounced back to beat Linden-McKinley 1,661-1,429 on Dec. 10.
The girls team also entered the week 2-1 overall and in the COHSBC-South, with wins over Centennial (1,496-1,189) and Linden (1,497-1,024) and a loss to Hartley (1,584-1,445).
"I think it's great to have separate teams, but you get the feeling of being all one team anyway because we practice and bowl against each other all the time," said Val Vokac, a first-year bowler on the girls team. "I've been wanting to do this for a few years, even though I've never bowled in a league. It's a lot of fun and I think we're going to have a good season."
Junior Ethan Denbow was leading the boys team with a 179.7 game average through three matches, followed by senior Win McCarter (153.7), freshman Michael Curry (138), junior Alec Waitkus (133.8), sophomore Christian Jefferson (125) and juniors David Stern (123.3) and Alex Embale (118.5).
McArter is the only returnee on the boys team.
Freshman Savannah Stuver (151) had the highest game average through three matches for the girls team, followed by freshman Chelsea Harper (132.8), senior Kaylee Fernandez (129.5), sophomore Jillian McCarter (118.5) and seniors Melinda Petrey (116.5), Annalise van Luinen (105.5) and Vokac (93).
The only returnee is van Luinen.
Girls basketball team continues good start
The girls basketball team continues its good start, entering the week 6-2 overall and 3-1 in the City-North.
Whetstone rolled to an 86-26 league win over International 86-26 on Dec. 13 behind 21 points from Lily Morris, 18 from Colleen Kelly and nine apiece from Liz Khoury and Brenna O'Sullivan.
The Braves had four players score in double digits in a 90-31 win over West on Dec. 2. Kalie Mascarello led the way with 20 points, followed by Khoury (18), Emily Morrison (11) and Cecilia Bulgrin (10).
Mascarello, Morris and Morrison all had nine points in a 49-27 win over East in a league game Dec. 9.
The win over International came after back-to-back losses to Watterson (61-40 on Dec. 7) and league rival Mifflin (49-32 on Dec. 10).
Swim teams place third in meet
The boys and girls swimming and diving teams both finished third of six teams in the Braves Invitational on Dec. 9 at Columbus Aquatics Center.
The girls team scored 134 points to finish behind Centennial (156) and Marysville (134) and ahead of Grove City (107), Northland (57) and Marion Harding (29), with junior Jennifer Basye winning the 100-yard breaststroke in 1 minute, 18.19 seconds.
The boys team scored 112 points to place behind Grove City (165) and Marysville (159) and ahead of Northland (70), Centennial (68) and Marion Harding (44), with freshman Trevor Karnehm finishing first in diving.