Big Walnut Roundup
Girls team still seeks consistency
Big Walnut High School girls basketball coach Bob Scott is pleased with where his team is at the midpoint of the season, but he wants for players to step up their games in the second half of the season.
The Golden Eagles were 7-4 overall and 3-4 in the OCC-Capital Division before playing Franklin Heights on Jan. 11.
"We've had some tough games against some top teams," Scott said. "We've struggled a little bit, but we've been competitive."
In a 70-48 loss to Olentangy Orange on Jan. 8, junior post player Skylar Fleak had a team-high 17 points, followed by senior forward Emily Chucta with 10 and sophomore guard Makenna Hammond with nine.
"We don't have that one consistent scorer," Scott said. "Offensively, we're getting better. But (a consistent scorer is) what we're looking for."
Fleak was the Golden Eagles' top scorer in four of their first 11 games and was averaging a team-high 9.2 points. She had scored 10 or more points five times.
"She's been one of our main cogs," Scott said. "She does a lot of things."
Chucta was the team's second-highest scorer through 11 games, averaging 8.7 points, followed by junior post player Sara Petty (8.2).
Scott also would like to see his squad fare better in the second round of OCC-Capital play, which began Jan. 11. Big Walnut has finished fourth or higher in the league the past nine seasons, including second in 2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2009-10. Its lone OCC-Capital title came in 1997-98.
The Golden Eagles tied Delaware for fourth last season at 7-7, behind champion Orange (14-0).
"You always want to finish in the top half of the (league)," Scott said. "Orange and New Albany are two of the best (Division I) teams in central Ohio. We just try to go out there and do the best we can and compete with them."
The Golden Eagles lost to New Albany 45-27 on Jan. 4. They travel to New Albany on Feb. 5 and play host Orange on Feb. 8 in the second round of league play.
Rising in the league ranks would benefit Big Walnut in the postseason.
"We're the only (Division II) team in the OCC(-Capital)," Scott said. "We hope to get some wins to help us with our tournament seed. We're trying to get the best draw we can."
Wrestlers starting 'to hit (their) stride'
Wrestling coach Luke Moore thinks his team finally has settled into the season.
"We've started to hit our stride a little bit," he said. "Right around the new year, we got everybody back, everybody healthy. I think we're wrestling real well. The kids are working hard and are very motivated. We're in a good position to make a run in this last half of the season."
Big Walnut scored 49.5 points to finish 25th in the 30-team Marion Harding Classic on Dec. 28 and 29, behind champion Thomas Worthington (183).
"We didn't wrestle bad," Moore said. "We just ran into some pretty stiff competition."
Junior R.J. Martin was Big Walnut's only placer, going 4-2 at 138 pounds and defeating Sparta Highland's Jake Limings 7-5 in the fifth-place match. Martin was 20-3 after the Golden Eagles lost to Delaware (58-20) and defeated New Albany (59-15) in OCC-Capital duals on Jan. 10 at Big Walnut and before competing in the Marion Elgin Invitational on Jan. 11 and 12.
"He's having a great season," Moore said. "He's one of the hardest workers in the practice room. He's a guy we can count on to go out and get some wins for us."
After competing against Franklin Heights and Watkins Memorial in OCC-Capital duals Thursday, Jan. 17, at Orange, Big Walnut will prepare for its matches in the Division II regional quarterfinal of the inaugural state team tournament. The tournament draw will be held Monday, Jan. 14, with the dual-format tournament beginning Jan. 23. Big Walnut is in Region 14-B with Buckeye Valley, Caledonia River Valley, Highland, Lexington and Shelby.
"It's great for the sport," Moore said the state team tournament. "It's great for the fans. It's generating a lot of excitement. The whole team gets to wrestle at once. I think it's going to be a lot of fun."
Boys team set for 2nd round of OCC play
The boys basketball team begins the second round of OCC-Capital play Friday, Jan. 18, at Olentangy.
Big Walnut, which was 5-7 overall and 1-5 in the OCC-Capital before playing Franklin Heights on Jan. 11, lost to the Braves 63-36 on Dec. 7. Senior forward Adam Shaheen led the Golden Eagles with 13 points and senior guard Seth Clark led Olentangy with 16 points.
Big Walnut plays host to Worthington Kilbourne on Tuesday, Jan. 15. Kilbourne joins the OCC-Capital next season.