Midway through the season, the Delaware Christian School boys basketball team has been hovering around .500.
With a schedule that was intentionally beefed up this season, the Eagles are seeking to post their first winning record. They thought they had accomplished that goal last season, only to find out they had used an ineligible player. So their 13-8 mark was wiped away by forfeits.
"We toughened our schedule to include Grandview, (Sparta) Highland, Cardington and Berne Union, plus the MOCAL is tough this year with Fairfield Christian ranked in the state (in Division IV) and Gahanna Christian ranked fourth in the district," coach Matt Moore said. "We lost to Cardington (50-48 on Dec. 28) on a buzzer beater and we lost in overtime to Granville Christian (69-63 on Jan. 4)."
Those losses left the Eagles at 6-5 overall after defeating Mansfield Temple Christian 76-20 on Jan. 10.
"Otherwise, we would be (8-3) now," Moore said.
The Eagles have been led by senior point guard Pete Kerins, 6-foot-4 junior shooting guard MacGregor Roberts and 6-3 junior forward Austin Roden.
"Kerins has played extremely well and is a pivotal part of our team," Moore said. "Unfortunately, he was in foul trouble the other night and that hurt us (in a 67-43 loss to Wellington on Jan. 8).
"Roberts has been very consistent and (has been) averaging 13.3 points per game. He's physical, rebounds well, handles the ball well and he is good under pressure. Roden is close to averaging 10 points and 10 rebounds."
While those three are regulars in the starting lineup, Moore has rotated 6-4 senior Luke McGrath and 6-8 sophomore Ben Evans in the post and senior David Tobin at shooting guard.
"Those six have been our starters, depending on the opponent's size and speed and who has been playing well for us lately," Moore said. "They have all contributed greatly to our success. Evans has been improving greatly and we're excited to see what he can be in the future. He had seven blocks against Wellington."
Other contributors have included seniors Joey Miser and Jackson Quist, juniors Matt Cellar, Jacob Saliba and Neil Williams and freshman Wesley Blakemore.
"The goal is for us is to go 9-3 or 8-4 in our final 12 (regular-season games) and make sure we get that winning record," Moore said. "We're an up-and-down team because of our youth and we've got a big learning curve, but we feel good about where we're headed."
Girls basketball team relying on added depth
The girls basketball team is showing more depth than past seasons, when a few standouts typically sparked much of the team's success.
"Last season, either (2012 graduate) Haley Kirby or Brenna McCullough led us in scoring in every game," coach Jackie Boggs said. "We've already had four, maybe five, different girls lead us in scoring this season. We have more depth and balance."
Seniors McCullough, Lenora Boyer and Emily Kirkham and junior Katie Morgan all played important roles last season and are doing so again for the Eagles, who were 8-3 overall and 2-2 in the MOCAL before playing Fairfield Christian on Jan. 11.
"We have 20 girls in the program, which is a nice increase," Boggs said. "Plus, we've got a core of basketball-only girls. So we're meshing girls who haven't played much together before and it's been an adjustment. ... We need to get them all on board and learn how to win. It's a mindset we don't have yet. We have to play with more heart. It's a slow process."
Senior Alex Warwick, who is new to the program, is the point guard, with Morgan and Kirkham playing on the wings. Boyer and McCullough are post players. Boggs also has incorporated junior Bethany Kuykendall in the lineup as a starting guard at times.
"We've got eight or nine girls who have started and we rely on all of them to contribute," Boggs said. "Lenora missed some time early with mono, but she returned now, but is still a little run down. So we're trying to cut down on her practice time, back her off a little."
Also on the roster are juniors Alex Stone and Carmon Weldi, sophomores Emily Cornelius, Rachael Kirby and Hannah Mandic-Nowac and freshman Erin McCullough.
"We have skill and if we can play with heart and play together, I think we can beat any Division IV team in the district," Boggs said. "But we have to stay healthy and learn how to win and play with heart."