Watterson High School girls basketball coach Tom Woodford challenged his players to improve their offensive production when he learned that Makenzie Bevins would be unavailable for two games last week.
Bevins was averaging a team-best 15.5 points before suffering a severely sprained ankle during a 61-53 loss to Westerville South on Jan. 21. Woodford said he wasn't sure how long the 5-foot-8 senior guard would be sidelined.
Fortunately for the Eagles, a number of players stepped up to help fill the void in wins over Ready (43-37 on Jan. 23) and Gahanna (41-40 on Jan. 25).
Watterson was 11-5 overall before playing Marion Pleasant on Jan. 28 and is 4-2 in the CCL.
"Makenzie is by far our most reliable and consistent scorer, and we don't have anyone else who is even averaging in double digits with their scoring," Woodford said. "When Makenzie went down, it changed everyone's role offensively and everyone had to make major adjustments because we don't have one player who can do what she does.
"We had a lot of kids step up and score a little more than usual and we were able to use our defense to create offense for us as well."
Eight players scored against Ready, including Bryn McQuade with 11 points and Dominique Garrett with eight.
Ready led 13-4 in the first quarter but Watterson went on a 15-2 run in the second quarter to take a 19-15 lead into halftime. The Eagles increased their lead to 34-27 by the end of the third quarter.
Six players scored against Gahanna, including Maggie McCarthy with 13 points and McQuade with eight.
With Gahanna leading 40-39, Garrett hit a 10-foot jump shot with 2.5 seconds left to lift the Eagles.
"Our kids showed a lot of toughness and made big plays both offensively and defensively (against Gahanna)," Woodford said. "This isn't the best shooting team that I've coached, but our players set good screens and give themselves better looks at the basket than any team I've coached in the past five years.
"We usually have eight or nine kids scoring every game and we'll need to keep that up, especially until Makenzie returns. Our defense needs to be good, too. Emily Amen is doing a good job of guarding other teams' best perimeter players, and Dominique Garrett, Sydney Mayle and Maggie McCarthy are also leading the way defensively."
CCL title streak ends for girls swim team
The girls swimming and diving team had its streak of consecutive CCL titles snapped at seven.
Watterson finished second (319 points) in the CCL meet that concluded Jan. 25 at St. Charles, behind Columbus School for Girls (442) and ahead of Hartley (193), DeSales (170) and Ready (32).
"We all swam well and we had a lot of big point-scorers, but CSG had more depth than us in most events," senior Madeline Grubbe said. "We had a lot of people who were sick (last) week and weren't at their best or I think this would have been a closer meet."
Carrie Horan won the 100-yard breaststroke in 1 minute, 10.01 seconds after undergoing what was expected to be season-ending shoulder surgery Dec. 18.
Finishing second were Grubbe, Alicia Margello, Jenna Durham and Taylor Brown in the 200 medley relay (1:55.86), Grubbe in the 200 individual medley (2:18.05) and 500 freestyle (5:34.25), Brown in the 50 free (26.26), Durham, Molly DeSantis, Grubbe and Brown in the 200 free relay (1:45.69) and DeSantis, Kaleigh O'Reilly, Mae Welty and Margello in the 400 free relay (4:00.81).
"It was exciting to see Carrie come back and win her race so soon after she had her surgery," Grubbe said. "Luckily, her shoulder wasn't torn and all they had to do was remove scar tissue, but she still came back very quickly. That's going to be good for her mentally and confidence-wise."
The boys team finished fourth (54) in the CCL meet behind St. Charles (481), Hartley (249) and DeSales (120).
Austin Leahy placed third in the 100 breast (1:09.98) and the 200 free relay of Michael Carmody, Leahy, Daniel Cobb and Joseph Heutel finished fourth (1:57.7).
Boys basketball team continues winning ways
The boys basketball team rolled to an 82-40 win over Beechcroft on Jan. 25 to extend its winning streak to four games.
Matt Hughes had 20 points and Joey DiOrio and Avery Janning each scored 12 for Watterson, which entered the week having won 35 of its last 36 games.
The Eagles were 12-1 overall before playing Caledonia River Valley on Jan. 28 and are 4-0 in the CCL.
Watterson beat Hartley 46-40 in a league contest Jan. 24, scoring the final six points, as Andy Grieser had a team-high 12 points and DiOrio had nine points and 15 rebounds.