The Dublin Jerome High School boys basketball team improved by 36 points between Dec. 21 and Feb. 1.
The Celtics, who lost to Dublin Scioto 63-33 on Dec. 21, defeated the Irish 41-35 on Feb. 1 thanks to a strong defensive effort.
Jerome trailed 19-16 at halftime, but held Scioto scoreless in the third quarter for a 24-19 lead entering the fourth.
"We played great defense in the third quarter and most of the points (Scioto) got in the fourth quarter came from driving the lane and getting free throws," coach Dave Hale said. "Our zone really was doing a great job for us."
The Irish were 11-for-42 from the field and 1-for-17.
Jerome made 17 of 22 free-throw attempts. In the fourth quarter, freshman guard Mason Baich went 6-for-7 from the foul line and senior guard John Laufersweiler was 5-for-6.
"(Laufersweiler) has really played well for us in our last few games," said Hale, whose team was 5-11 overall and 3-7 in the OCC-Cardinal Division before playing Worthington Kilbourne on Feb. 5. "He also helped us out defensively. He did an especially good job on (Scioto senior guard Josh) Ashwill and was on him basically the whole night, limiting him to nine points."
Baich scored 12 points and Laufersweiler added 11.
On Friday, Feb. 8, the Celtics play at Westerville South in an OCC-Cardinal game. Jerome lost to the Wildcats 60-50 on Jan. 8 as junior guard Connor Kerns scored 11 points and senior post player Austin Sherman had 10.
"When we played South the first time, we were up 39-25 at halftime," Hale said. "Then we came out and shot 1-for-17 (on field goals) in the third quarter and we were 3-for-25 total in the second half.
"When we played Scioto the first time, we were 1-for-23 in the first half. This time we were 11 of 24, so making baskets helps a lot."
On Jan. 29, Jerome lost to Westerville North 53-38 in an OCC-Cardinal contest. Christman and senior guard Matt Holden both scored 12 points.
"When you get to the second half of the season, you hope that the team is getting better and playing good team ball," Hale said. "We have played well for a quarter or for a half, but we seem to have had that one (quarter) that we haven't been able to finish out. Hopefully, (the win over Scioto) means we have turned the corner."
Girls team closing regular season
The girls team was 13-7 overall after defeating Jonathan Alder 63-37 on Feb. 4 and 7-5 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Kilbourne on Feb. 5.
The Celtics play Friday, Feb. 8, at home against Westerville South to close the regular season. Jerome won the first meeting 60-26 on Jan. 8 as senior post player Sarah Auker scored 16 points and senior post player Hannah Gibbs had 14. Junior guard/forward Andrea Davidson and sophomore guard/forward Hadley Kiefer added eight points apiece.
Senior post player Katherine McCoy scored 10 in a 50-27 loss Jan. 29 at Westerville North.
"We have been winning a couple games and then lose one or two," coach Rob Dunsmore said. "We haven't been consistent."
On Feb. 1, junior guard/forward Amanda Kessler led with 16 points as Jerome defeated Scioto 54-43 to sweep the season series. McCoy had 15.
In the Division I district draw Feb. 3, the Celtics were seeded 15th and open Feb. 16 at home against Central Crossing.