Despite its record, the Dublin Jerome High School boys basketball team continues making strides and remains a tough test for opponents.

Despite its record, the Dublin Jerome High School boys basketball team continues making strides and remains a tough test for opponents.

Case in point was a 55-42 loss to Westerville North last Friday.

The Warriors entered the game will one loss in 12 games and the Celtics had one win in 11 contests, but Jerome cut a double-digit deficit to four points on a Cam Wilson basket with 5 minutes, 14 seconds to play.

North answered with fast-break dunks by Ralph Hill on back-to-back possessions off of a steal and block, both by Hill, as Warriors survived an upset bid.

The key was a 2-3 zone by the Celtics, which limited the inside passing lanes and forced the Warriors into prolonged offensive possessions in order to make use of their substantial size advantage.

"We had good success with the zone the first time we played and felt like we would try it again," said coach Chris Carlisle, referring to Jerome's 51-48 loss to North on Dec. 8. "We did a nice job of staying within our philosophy of what we wanted to do defensively."

Sophomores Wilson and Nick Neale both had 10 points for Jerome, and senior Jake Martin had seven.

"The score is really no indication as to how close the game was, but we need to come up with a solution to win," said Carlisle, whose team played Olentangy Liberty in a league game last Tuesday. "Our guys were within one or two plays of going ahead and maybe winning the game."

The Warriors may have improved to 12-1 after the victory last Friday but suffered a few growing pains along the way. They were 3-18 in consecutive seasons before finishing 13-10 last season after falling to eventual state champion Northland 59-56 in a Division I district championship.

"Anytime that you only have one win and however many losses, it would be easy just to roll the ball out, take a 30-point lickin', get some pizza and go home. But these kids aren't like that," Carlisle said. "One of these days the light will go click against one of the area's good teams and we'll beat them."

Carlisle said that comes from the continued hard work of the players in practice. Jerome continues to work on the little things necessary to build improvement.

Carlisle said freshman Donavan Wilson doesn't fill the stat sheet, but his dives and defensive tips helps give the team added energy.

"We have seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshmen out there working hard and one of the hardest workers is one of the freshmen, Donavan Wilson," Carlisle said. "He works hard in practice and he works hard in the classroom and his energy makes things exciting for everyone."