The Dublin Jerome High School girls basketball team has bought into the system installed by first-year coach Rob Dunsmore.
After losing their first two games, the Celtics have won nine of 11 to improve to 9-4 overall and 5-3 in the OCC-Cardinal Division.
"We're listening to the coaches and we're executing," said senior forward Katherine McCoy, who scored 19 points in a 56-50 win over Fairfield Union on Jan. 7. "We have five seniors who are stepping up, and we're not playing as individuals."
The Celtics won their fourth consecutive game with a 60-26 league win over Westerville South on Jan. 8. Senior forward Sarah Auker scored 16 points, senior post player Hannah Gibbs had 14 and junior guard/forward Andrea Davidson and sophomore guard/forward Hadley Kiefer both added eight.
"The kids are starting to play better together and are learning what they need to do," Dunsmore said. "They have a never-say-die attitude and they play hard. These kids are mentally tough."
On Jan. 11, Jerome faced another team firing on all cylinders in Westerville Central, which won 39-37 for its fifth victory in a row while snapping the Celtics' winning streak. Auker scored 15 points and junior post player Madison Watson added 10.
"We have to have a consistent defensive effort," Dunsmore said. "We need to play defense as hard as we can and as long as we can."
McCoy said it was the job of the Celtics' seniors to make sure the team bounces back and is ready to play Friday, Jan. 18, at home against Hilliard Bradley.
"In the past, it was important that you know your role. As a senior, you know you have to put the team on your back," McCoy said. "They feed off of us and we need to be leaders and show them how hard to work.
"Also, the mental aspect of the game is just as important. It doesn't matter if a team is better than you, if you go out and do what you need to do and execute your offense, you can still win."
Boys team working on finishing touches
The boys team fell to 3-8 overall and 1-5 in the OCC-Cardinal by losing to Westerville Central 68-57 on Jan. 11.
"We know that we can compete against these teams," coach Dave Hale said. "We only have one league win, but we have had a lot of games where we would have the lead and we don't finish. Every team we have played, I felt we have had an opportunity to win.
"I felt we didn't play well (against Westerville Central). We didn't play with our usual intensity. (The Warhawks) were getting way too many offensive rebounds and we lost by 11 points and missed 10 free throws."
Freshman guard Mason Baich led with 16 points and freshman guard Seve Stavroff had 12 points with three 3-pointers. Senior forward Kyle Christman and junior guard Connor Kerns both scored 11 points.
"Mason and Seve have shown a lot of maturity for being freshman," Hale said. "But by this time of the season, we don't even consider them freshmen, but they do still make freshman mistakes. Both are tremendous athletes and know how to play the game. They definitely help the program."
On Jan. 8, the Celtics lost a league game to Westerville South 60-50. Kerns scored 11 points, senior post player Austin Schmidt had 10 and Christman added nine.