The Big Walnut High School boys basketball team has recovered from its slow start to the season.
The Golden Eagles were 4-4 overall and 1-3 in the OCC-Capital Division before facing New Albany on Jan. 3. They entered the contest having won three consecutive games after losing four in a row.
"I'm happy with the progress the team's making offensively," coach Eric Myers said. "I think we're doing a real nice job shooting and we're taking care of the basketball. We're playing really well together."
Big Walnut participated in the First Federal Savings Holiday Tournament on Dec. 27 and 28 at Newark Catholic, opening with a 61-60 win over Alliance Marlington before beating Newark Catholic 53-40 in the championship game.
With Big Walnut trailing Marlington by two points, junior guard Matt Tarney made a 3-pointer with eight seconds remaining to give the Golden Eagles the lead. Marlington missed a shot as time expired.
"Tarney came down the floor and had an open shot in transition," Myers said. "It's a shot he's confident with and he hit a big one for us."
Logan Boyd led Big Walnut with 22 points. Nick Herbert scored 17 and Tarney added 12.
The Golden Eagles finished their game against Newark Catholic on an 18-0 run, getting a team-high 15 points from Michael Buckles and 12 from Boyd.
"We turned it up a notch on the defensive end," Myers said of his team's finish. "It was a great effort by everybody."
Big Walnut opened its winning streak with a 69-65 victory over Olentangy in an OCC-Capital game Dec. 23.
The Golden Eagles have two league contests this week, traveling to Olentangy Orange on Tuesday, Jan. 7, before playing host to Franklin Heights on Friday, Jan. 10.
"We were down 11 in the third quarter (against Olentangy) and our kids were relentless," Myers said. "They battled back. It has set the tone and could be a turning point for us."
Through eight games, Boyd, a 6-foot-1 senior guard, was averaging a team-high 12.5 points, followed by Herbert (8.9).
Girls basketball team seeking consistency
The girls basketball team was 5-3 overall and 1-3 in the OCC-Capital before facing New Albany on Jan. 3.
"We've had a funny season," coach Steve Palmer said. "We won three in a row, then we lost three in a row. Now we've won two in a row again.
"The kids are playing well and starting to settle into their roles. We're getting our patterns set."
The Golden Eagles defeated host Centerburg 51-47 on Dec. 23 and beat host Licking Valley 57-55 in double overtime Dec. 28.
Against Licking Valley, senior guard Skylar Fleak had a game-high 25 points and scored the decisive points with four seconds remaining by driving to the basket.
Junior guard Makenna Hammond added 17 points for Big Walnut, which led 12-0 after the first quarter.
"We had a good start (against Licking Valley)," Palmer said. "But as good as we played in the first quarter, we became a little ungrooved defensively."
Fleak and Hammond had 21 and 18 points, respectively, against Centerburg.
Through eight games, Fleak was averaging a team-high 15 points, followed by Hammond (12.5).
Big Walnut has three OCC-Capital contests this week. It will play host to Orange on Tuesday, Jan. 7, and travel to Franklin Heights on Thursday, Jan. 9, before playing host to Olentangy on Saturday, Jan. 11.
"We have some teams ahead of us (in the OCC-Capital)," Palmer said. "We've got a chance to right some wrongs. It was two or three bad games there. Hopefully, we've got some confidence under our belt and can pick up some league wins."
Hartings, Pinnix lead bowling teams
The bowling teams competed in the Holiday Baker Marathon on Dec. 21 at Columbus Bowling Palace.
The boys team finished 27th (3,011) of 35 teams, behind top-scorer Westerville South Red (4,052). The top eight teams qualified for a single-elimination tournament, won by Zanesville Maysville.
Luke Hartings led the Golden Eagles in the event with a 211 game average, followed by Joey Stellers (166.5).
The girls team placed 24th (2,227) of 27 teams, behind top-scorer Mentor (3,634). Briggs won the event's eight-team tournament.
Holly Pinnix led the Golden Eagles with a 141.5 average. followed by Alexis Beiwinkler (135.5).