The Dublin Scioto High School girls basketball team seems to have improved by 42 points from Dec. 7 to Jan. 17.
That was the gap the Irish closed in their OCC-Cardinal Division series with Westerville Central.
After losing to the Warhawks 64-15 on Dec. 7, Scioto played a tightly contested rematch before falling 38-31 on Jan. 17 at home.
"Last time, we lost to them by 49 points, and this time we took them down to the wire," first-year coach Jen Clark said. "One reason for that is we are really jelling on and off of the court. The players have started to grasp what we are looking for, and are working hard in games and in practice. They are picking up our system."
Scioto trailed 30-24 entering the fourth quarter but cut its deficit to 30-29 with 4 minutes, 28 seconds remaining on two free throws by Abbie Moore.
"We knew after the first meeting that (the Irish) would know what we would be doing and we knew they would be a much better team," Central coach Jamiya Pride said.
The Irish held the Warhawks without a basket for nearly one quarter, a span of 7:52 beginning in the third.
Brianna Bell made a free throw with 2:21 to play as Scioto trailed 32-30, but the Warhawks finished on a 6-1 run.
"We have improved leaps and bounds," said Bell, whose team was 1-14 overall before playing Marysville on Jan. 21 and is 1-8 in the OCC-Cardinal. "We have a new coach and a lot of girls who are new to the program or are inexperienced. You never know what to expect with a new coach."
Viktoria Bedalli and Moore both scored seven points to lead the Irish against Central. Bell had six points and Alexis Kennedy added five.
"The kids were used to doing things a certain way for so long and they are learning new ways," Clark said. "Brianna came from Worthington Kilbourne and it was a godsend to get her. The older players have embraced the younger ones, helping them learn varsity basketball. I wish I had more seasons to coach the older kids."
Rachel Willis scored 11 points for Scioto in a 39-28 loss to Thomas Worthington on Jan. 14. Bell scored six and McKenzie Lomax scored five.
"We need to work on our offense a little more," Bell said. "We run our plays, but not as well as we should.
"We play defense well, very well at times, but offense has been a weak point for us right now."
Shamrocks defeat fourth-ranked SVSM
Coffman was 10-6 overall before playing Jerome on Jan. 21 and is 7-2 in the OCC-Central.
The Shamrocks defeated Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary 48-42 on Jan. 18. The Fighting Irish were ranked fourth in last week's Division II state poll behind top-ranked Millersburg West Holmes.
Kamerine Taylor led Coffman with 15 and three 3-pointers. Sade Olatoye also scored 15 points and Griffin Tullis added nine.
On Jan. 17, Taylor scored 30 points with six 3s and went 8-for-9 at the foul line as Coffman defeated Hilliard Davidson 54-44 in OCC-Central play. Tullis scored 11 points with three 3-pointers and Olatoye had seven points.
Celtics drop three consecutive games
Jerome was 6-7 overall before playing Coffman on Jan. 21 and is 5-3 in the OCC-Cardinal.
The Celtics have lost three games in a row, beginning with a 44-34 loss to Delaware on Jan. 14. Hadley Kiefer scored 12 points, Sarah Youngs had seven and Madison Watson added six.
Youngs had 10 points in a 46-36 league loss to Hilliard Bradley on Jan. 17. Kiefer, Watson and Bailey Williams all scored six.
On Jan. 18, the Celtics lost to Newark 89-43. Kiefer scored 10 points, Watson had eight and Natalie Christman added six.