Last Tuesday, the Columbus Academy boys basketball team played its last game for 12 days.

Last Tuesday, the Columbus Academy boys basketball team played its last game for 12 days.

The extended break is nothing new to the players and coaches, but coach Chris Jones is concerned about its effect nonetheless.

After losing nine graduates, the Vikings opened with one win in their first four games, dropping to 1-3 overall and 0-3 in the MSL-Ohio Division with a 71-68 loss to Lakewood last Friday. A large group of newcomers combined with the five returning players still are adjusting to playing together.

"We're getting the kinks out," guard Cameron Baker said. "This is a young team, not as far as age but players who are new to varsity. It's not coming together as quickly as it did last year, but we'll get to where we need to be by the end of the season."

How Academy handles the break is critical, according to Jones.

"We've started to see improvements so it's hard to have a layoff," he said. "You know some lessons learned will slip a little bit."

Practice time has been important to the Vikings in the early portion of the season as the younger players learn how to play with experienced players like Baker, Max Hoster, Andy Eldridge, Wes Luckett and Will Boeckman. Jones' practices feature an intense pace in order to prepare his team for games and it takes time to adjust to his style.

"We need to do a better job in practice to make sure we give each other the look we need," Jones said.

"In the first three games we played, we've been out-worked. We couldn't expect the new kids to varsity to understand what we need from them as soon as they got here. It's a matter of the new guys learning from those with more experience. It's something we're seeing come together."

Aside from the fundamentals, Jones has noticed a team with strong team chemistry. Unlike in seasons past when his teams had to build toward chemistry, it is already there. The only downfall, according to Jones, is the players need to learn they can be intense with one another and still remain good friends.

"I am pleased with their willingness to learn," he said. "They want to be good, get better and make this team successful."

Through three games, Baker was averaging 14 points per game, followed by Hoster at 13.3. Since Baker and Hoster are the top two threats on offense, opponents are using their top two defenders to try to shut them down.

"Last year we leaned on (graduate Jake Beatley) especially," Baker said. "This year we're working for more team-oriented ball and that may contribute to the slower start. Everything is different, but nobody wants to lose and we'll get back on track."

After playing Northridge last Tuesday, Academy returns to action at home Jan. 3 against Fairfield Christian.

Academy has 11 MSL-Ohio games remaining, including rematches against Heath on Jan. 27 and Bexley on Jan. 31. Heath defeated Academy 65-56 on Dec. 9, and four days later Bexley won 67-55.

At a glance

Below are recent results and coming schedules for the Academy girls basketball and boys and girls swimming and diving teams:

GIRLS BASKETBALL

*Last Saturday -- Lost to Granville 52-43

*Last Monday -- Played Gilead Christian

*Jan. 6 -- Home vs. Newark Catholic

Of note: The Vikings were 4-3 overall before last Monday and 2-3 in the MSL-Ohio.

*MSL-Ohio game

SWIMMING & DIVING

Last Friday -- Boys: Defeated Delaware 118-47, def. Mount Vernon 89-81. Winners were Dustin Chan in 200 IM (2:12.83), Jackson Humphrey in the 100 fly (56.96), William Rosler in the 100 back (59.19), the 200 medley relay (1:47.16) and the 400 free relay (3:28.82); Girls: Def. Delaware 108-67, def. Mount Vernon 114-56. Winners were Sarah Wilson in the 100 fly (1:03.96) and 500 free (5:35.56), Chelsea Dipman in the 100 breast (1:14.09), the 200 medley relay (2:01.99) and the 400 free relay (4:02.1).

Jan. 9 -- Home vs. Westerville South