There are days at practice when Dublin Coffman High School girls basketball coach Bryan Patton might feel as though he is overseeing a junior varsity team.

There are days at practice when Dublin Coffman High School girls basketball coach Bryan Patton might feel as though he is overseeing a junior varsity team.

Not because of the talent displayed - the Shamrocks were 10-4 overall before playing Westland on Jan. 25 - but because of the age of the players.

Coffman is young. Very young, in fact. Of the 14 players on the roster, 10 are freshmen or sophomores.

"They're a fun group to be around," Patton said. "They practice the way you're supposed to practice and play the game the way you're supposed to play the game. I'm glad this group is my building block. I'm glad they're the foundation for us."

The Shamrocks start three seniors who are the unquestioned leaders in center Meredith Stranges and guards Sarah McQuade and Stacy Axner. However, nearly all the other minutes go to underclassmen.

The other two starting spots have been shared by three sophomores in guard Quynh Vo and forwards Bailey Wilson and McKenzie Bailey.

Another sophomore, guard Grace Filler, has been a regular substitute, and classmates Rylee Axner, Shelby Saunders and Kaylee Taylor have gotten playing time.

Three freshmen also have scored their first varsity points: Samantha Edwards, Amanda Stratton and Griffin Tullis. Edwards, a guard, is getting regular time as a substitute.

"We all get along really well and that helps a lot," Wilson said. "We're all good friends. The seniors help us, too. They're good leaders. They make sure we know our roles."

Wilson was in the starting lineup by the end of last season, averaging four points and two steals. Vo was a regular starter a year ago, averaging five points and 2.5 steals.

Wilson and Vo both were averaging 4.8 points, two assists and two steals through 14 games this season. They also are strong defenders, with Wilson's athleticism and 5-foot-10 frame allowing her to guard players on the perimeter and down low. She routinely draws opponent's top offensive threats.

Bailey has emerged as a major offensive threat in her first full varsity season. She was averaging 12.7 points through 14 games, ranking second on the team behind Stranges (15.3), and was averaging a team-best 8.4 rebounds.

Of Bailey's 118 rebounds, 69 have come on the offensive boards. Her ability to move without the ball, cut to the basket and get offensive rebounds gets her several high-percentage scoring opportunities every game. She scored 24 points in a 67-41 victory over Toledo Waite on Dec. 18 as well as in a 51-43 loss to Toledo Central Catholic on Dec. 30, marking the two highest point totals by a Coffman player this season.

"They all have a certain intelligence and competitiveness, but they also have different skill sets, which is neat," Patton said of his freshmen and sophomores. "Even some of the girls who are not playing as much right now are skilled. I know they'll put the time in to be good high school players in the future."

The minutes being played by the young non-starters certainly will help Coffman in coming seasons.

Filler was summoned from the bench late in the first quarter of a 64-46 victory over Central Crossing on Jan. 21 after Wilson picked up her second foul. Filler played solid defense and made a baseline jump shot off a pass from McQuade to open the second quarter. Though it was her only basket of the game, it aided her confidence.

"Playing last year helped me a ton," Wilson said. "I got experience and got used to what varsity was like. I think playing some this year is going to help a lot of the girls who are coming back next year. It will help us in the future."


Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Coffman boys and girls basketball teams:


*Jan. 21 - Defeated Central Crossing 52-30. Coffman led 26-8 at halftime. Zack Riddle had 15 points and Christian Heine scored 11.

Jan. 22 - Lost to Walnut Ridge 51-48 (OT) in Ohio Play-By-Play Classic at Capital University. The Shamrocks rallied to overcome a fourth-quarter deficit but scored only one point in overtime. Riddle had 15 points.

*Jan. 25 - Played Westland

*Jan. 28 - At Thomas Worthington. Coffman beat Thomas 66-61 on Dec. 17. The Cardinals are 4-4 in the league after falling to Upper Arlington 45-43 on Jan. 21.

Jan. 29 - Home vs. Columbus East. The Tigers were 2-10 after a 57-53 loss to Brookhaven on Jan. 18.

Of note: The Shamrocks were 8-3 overall and 7-1 in the OCC-Central before Jan. 25.


*Jan. 21 - Def. Central Crossing 64-46. Coffman began the third quarter on a 15-2 run. McKenzie Bailey scored 21 points, Meredith Stranges scored 16 and Sarah McQuade scored 15.

*Jan. 25 - Played Westland

*Jan. 28 - Home vs. Thomas Worthington. The Shamrocks lost to Thomas 51-47 on Dec. 17.

Jan. 29 - At Dublin Jerome. Jerome was 6-6 before playing Olentangy Liberty on Jan. 25.

Of note: The Shamrocks were 10-4 overall and 7-2 in the OCC-Central before Jan. 25.

*OCC-Central game