Senior guard Grant Beam believes he and his teammates on the Big Walnut High School boys basketball team have made significant strides in recent weeks.

Senior guard Grant Beam believes he and his teammates on the Big Walnut High School boys basketball team have made significant strides in recent weeks.

The Golden Eagles lost five in a row, starting with a 41-37 setback to Delaware Hayes on Dec. 20, followed by losses to Olentangy (56-47 on Dec. 28), Licking Valley (62-57 on Dec. 30), New Albany (47-34 on Jan. 3) and Mount Vernon (55-33 on Jan. 6).

However, Big Walnut won its next three games and was 5-6 overall and 3-4 in the OCC-Capital Division before playing Watkins Memorial on Jan. 20.

"I think we've turned a corner," Beam said. "I think we're in a good spot right now. We're getting comfortable playing with each other and winning games solves a lot of things, and I think that's where we are right now. Everybody is excited to come to practice. That leads to better practices and ultimately to better results on game days."

First-year coach Eric Myers said the players "never quit" during the losing streak.

"When I took the job about seven months ago, I knew this was a great group of guys and I knew they were resilient," he said. "I really don't think the five-game losing streak became an issue within the locker room. We just knew that we had to keep improving every day and keep the attitude positive. I think the guys did a nice job of weathering that.

"Three (wins) in a row is a nice step in the right direction, but by no means are we there yet. We still have work to do."

On Jan. 17 against visiting Licking Heights, Big Walnut never led during the fourth quarter, trailing by as many as five points, before rallying to win 63-55 in overtime.

"I think that is us growing as a team," Beam said. "Earlier in the season, we would play with (our opponent) for two-and-a- half or three quarters and then they would make a run and we would go dead and really never gain (momentum) back. I think showing the ability to come back after (an opponent) makes a run is us maturing as a team."

After Licking Heights extended its lead to 52-49 with a pair of free throws with 3.8 seconds left in regulation, Beam took the inbounds pass and dribbled just past midcourt before banking in a 3-pointer as time expired to force overtime.

"We knew there were three seconds left and we would be getting the ball out of bounds after the free throw, so coach told us we had three dribbles," Beam said. "Generally, the rule of thumb is that however many seconds are left is how many dribbles you can make. I knew I had three dribbles and after I took those dribbles, I knew I had to let (the shot) fly."

Beam scored seven of his game-high 22 points in overtime, including five free throws. Senior forward Seth Wandling and junior forward Adam Shaheen each had 12 points and senior guard Tyler Beam scored 11.

The point total was a season high for Wandling, who missed three games after sustaining a concussion when he was elbowed against Olentangy. His return coincided with the winning streak.

"We knew when we got Seth Wandling back that would help solidify us inside," Myers said.

While Big Walnut got Wand-ling back, it has lost junior forward Seth Myers, who quit the team earlier this month.

"Seth chose to leave the team and we wish him the best," said coach Myers, who is not related to Seth. "We just had to pick up and move on. We're going to play with the guys we have. It's unfortunate that he decided not to be with us."

Myers was the team's fourth-leading scorer through seven games, averaging 7.9 points.

"He was good for us offensively. He provided a spark for us," Grant Beam said. "We understand that he's not here anymore, so that's one less offensive weapon we have and everybody has to pick up the slack a little bit."

Through 11 games, Grant Beam was averaging 11.7 points, followed by Shaheen (10.0), Tyler Beam (7.7), Wandling (6.3) and junior guard Zach Laughman (5.0).

•Members of the swimming and diving teams will spend this week preparing for the OCC-Capital meet at New Albany.

The diving competition will be held Friday, Jan. 27, followed by the swimming competition on Saturday, Jan. 28.

Last season in the OCC-Capital meet, the boys team scored 60 points to place sixth behind New Albany (432), Delaware (285), Mount Vernon (166), Olentangy Orange (119) and Watkins Memorial (74) and ahead of Hilliard Bradley (42). The girls team placed sixth (112) behind New Albany (343), Delaware (268), Orange (174), Mount Vernon (155) and Bradley (114) and ahead of Watkins Memorial (98).

The Eagles did not have any top-three finishers.

Big Walnut competed against Beechcroft, Marysville, Village Academy and Watterson in the Worthington Sprint Invitational on Jan. 14 at Thomas Worthington, but team scores were not kept.

Placing first for the boys team were junior Carson Chatterton in the 50-yard backstroke (30.36 seconds), sophomore Carter Marsch in the 50 breaststroke (32.7) and the 400 freestyle relay of Chatterton, Marsch, sophomore Joel Windle and junior Ben Stefaniak (4:07.24).

Finishing first for the girls team were sophomore Michelle Stefaniak in the 100 free (1:01.6) and the 400 free relay of Stefaniak, freshman Claire Chatterton, sophomore Jessica Osburn and junior Natalie Chatterton (4:14.3).