The season has not gone exactly according to plan for the Big Walnut High School boys basketball team, but coach Eric Myers likes the positive attitude being displayed by his players.
The Golden Eagles were 5-9 overall and 1-6 in the OCC-Capital Division and had lost three games in a row before playing Olentangy on Jan. 18.
"We felt like there were a couple ballgames we let get away from us," Myers said. "But we've talked about it all year how it's going to be a battle because of our youth and lack of experience. But there's a great attitude in the locker room and they're positive and working hard in practice."
Big Walnut ended the first round of OCC-Capital play with a 46-45 loss to host Franklin Heights on Jan. 11.
The Golden Eagles led most of the game, but Franklin Heights rallied in the fourth quarter and opened a four-point advantage late in the contest. Big Walnut made a 3-pointer to pull within one point and had an opportunity to salvage the win, but its final shot rimmed out as the buzzer sounded.
Senior forward Adam Shaheen had 13 points and sophomore guard/forward Michael Buckles scored 10 for the Golden Eagles, who play host to Franklin Heights in the regular-season finale Feb. 15.
"Our coaching staff feels the (OCC-Capital), from top to bottom, is as strong as it's been in recent history," Myers said. "There's some real quality players in the league and some real quality teams. It'll be tough going through a second time."
Big Walnut lost to visiting Worthington Kilbourne 65-55 on Jan. 15 in a non-league game. The Wolves will switch from the OCC-Cardinal to the OCC-Capital next season when Watkins Memorial moves to the Licking County League.
Shaheen had 25 points against Kilbourne and senior guard Zach Laughman and junior guard Nick Herbert each scored six.
Through 14 games, Shaheen was averaging a team-high 16.6 points and was second on the team in 3-pointers with 16.
"He's putting some nice numbers up for us right now," Myers said."
Laughman was the team's second-leading scorer, averaging 11.2 points, and had a team-high 21 3-pointers.
"He's been hot and cold," Myers said. "But he's been battling injuries all season."
Search begins for boys soccer coach
A search to find a boys soccer coach is under way, as Brett Weiss has stepped down after leading the program the past two seasons.
"It was a personal choice," Weiss said. "I just needed to spend a little more time with my son. I enjoy coaching, but I have other responsibilities. I like being a dad."
Weiss began working with the program in 2001 as an assistant and volunteer coach. He continued that role until he was asked by athletics director Steve Glesenkamp to take over as head coach two days before the 2011 season opener after the abrupt resignation of 19-year coach Charlie Brodhead.
A 1992 Big Walnut graduate, Weiss led the Golden Eagles to a 26-8-5 overall record.
In 2011, Big Walnut finished 14-1-4, won its first OCC-Capital championship since 2003, was ranked third in the final Division II state poll and earned the top seed of the district tournament before losing to second-seeded DeSales 2-1 in double overtime in a district final.
Last fall, the Golden Eagles finished 12-7-1 and again reached a district final, where they lost to Watterson 2-1.
"I'm going to miss the art of coaching," Weiss said. "I loved starting new in the first part of the season and trying to develop a group of guys into a well-oiled, fully-functioning machine."
Glesenkamp respects the reason behind Weiss' decision but is sorry to see him leave.
"I was really disappointed," Glesenkamp said of Weiss' resignation. "I really like the job he did. I thought in his two brief years he did an outstanding job with the program. I'm thankful we had him, but I wish we had him for longer."
Wrestlers getting set for state team tourney
The wrestling team will face host Buckeye Valley in the first round of the inaugural Division II state team tournament Wednesday, Jan. 23.
Big Walnut is seeded fifth of six teams in Region 14-B of the dual-format tournament and Buckeye Valley is the fourth seed.
The winner faces top-seeded Lexington in the second round Jan. 30 at a site to be announced. The regional semifinals will be held that same day at the same site.
Also in Region 14-B are second-seeded Caledonia River Valley, third-seeded Sparta Highland and sixth-seeded Shelby.
The semifinal winner will face the Region 14-A champion in a regional final Feb. 6. Region 14-A consists of Columbus South, DeSales, Jonathan Alder, Linden-McKinley, Mifflin and Whitehall.
The regional champion advances to a state quarterfinal Feb. 9.
Big Walnut was ranked ninth in the Division II area coaches poll last week, behind Whitehall, River Valley, Granville, Licking Valley, Highland, Hamilton Township, Buckeye Valley and Jonathan Alder.
R.J. Martin and C.J. Harness were ranked third at 138 and 160 pounds, respectively.
The Golden Eagles defeated Franklin Heights 44-24 and lost to Watkins Memorial 57-19 Jan. 17 at Olentangy Orange to move to 2-3 in the OCC-Capital.
Austin Carr (152), Donny Didion (113) and Alec Eisnnicher (170) each went 2-0 at the double dual