As the regular season winds down, the time to build momentum grows shorter for the Hilliard Bradley High School boys basketball team.

As the regular season winds down, the time to build momentum grows shorter for the Hilliard Bradley High School boys basketball team.

A 51-38 loss to visiting New Albany on Jan. 21 dropped the Jaguars to 4-8 overall and 3-5 in the OCC-Capital Division.

"Early in the season, we struggled in the first quarter of games, but we've overcome that," coach Michael Limbird said. "Unfortunately, we still haven't put four good quarters together, especially against the better teams."

The Jaguars trailed 28-24 at halftime against the league-leading Eagles, but should have led by four or six points, according to Limbird.

"We had too many unforced errors in the first half and we took some bad shots," he said. "Plus, we missed four or five layups. In the second half, New Albany stepped up and made some shots and pulled away a bit. They're a veteran, disciplined team and they put us in scramble mode."

The 13-point loss matched Bradley's worst this season, as the Jaguars also fell to Delaware 72-59 on Jan. 5. Five of its losses have been by five or fewer points.

"I know we're better than our record shows and I believe there is not a team on our schedule that we cannot beat," Limbird said. "We just need to be more consistent, put 32 minutes together. The kids need to start believing in themselves. We believe in them and it's time for them to back it up. We've got all the pieces."

Two of those pieces include senior guard Evan Bell and 6-foot-5 junior center Trent Weaver.

Bell is the team's top defensive player. He limited New Albany's leading scorer, Nick Sosh, to four points in the first half, but Ryan Mayle picked up the slack with 13 points. In the second half, Limbird assigned Bell to Mayle, who finished with 15 points.

Weaver is averaging 15 points and nearly 10 rebounds. Limbird said Weaver is the most instinctive rebounder he has coached.

"The kids around school tell me I should get every rebound because I'm 6-5," Weaver said. "But there's more to rebounding than height. When someone takes a shot, I can usually anticipate how the ball will bounce off the rim and where it will land by how hard or soft the shot is. I'm not the bulkiest person. Although I'm skinny, I try to be physical. But I have to use all my skills to be a good rebounder."

The Jaguars, who played Franklin Heights on Jan. 25, will play at Big Walnut on Friday, Jan. 28, and at Central Crossing on Tuesday, Feb. 1, before a three-game stretch against teams near the top of the OCC-Capital.

Bradley plays host to Mount Vernon on Feb. 4 and to Delaware on Feb. 8 before playing at Orange on Feb. 11.

"We need to finish strong and take the next step by beating one of the giants in our league," Limbird said. "We're 0-4 against New Albany and we're 0-3 against Mount Vernon, Olentangy Orange and Delaware. If we can go win some of those games, that are circled on our schedule, we can make a deep (Division I district) tournament run."

Before Jan. 25, New Albany was 8-0 in the league, followed by Orange and Mount Vernon at 6-2 and Delaware at 5-3. Bradley was fifth. Franklin Heights and Big Walnut both were 2-6 and Watkins Memorial was 0-8.

•The girls team had its Jan. 20 game against New Albany postponed because of weather. It was rescheduled for Feb. 5.

That gives the Jaguars four league games in a seven-day period and five games overall in the last 10 days of the regular season.

"New Albany had a wrestling tournament (Jan. 21-22), so we couldn't make it up (last) weekend," coach Kathy Lindsey said. "Then our schedules conflicted, so Feb. 5 was what we settled on. It will be a grind, but we have to deal with it and just have a tough mindset."

AT A GLANCE

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

BOYS

*Jan. 21 - Lost to New Albany 51-38. Derek Tieman scored 15 points and Jacob Starinsky added eight for the Jaguars, who trailed 28-24 at halftime.

*Jan. 25 - Played Franklin Heights

*Jan. 28 - At Big Walnut. The Jaguars won 60-41 on Dec. 17, as Trent Weaver scored 21 points, A.J. Dixon supplied 17 and Evan Bell added 11. The Golden Eagles were 5-7 overall and 3-5 in the OCC-Capital before Jan. 25.

Feb. 1 - At Central Crossing. The teams have never played. The Comets were 4-9 overall before Jan. 25.

Of note: The Jaguars were 4-8 overall and 3-5 in the OCC-Capital before Jan. 25.

GIRLS

*Jan. 28 - Game at New Albany postponed because of weather and rescheduled for Feb. 5.

*Jan. 25 - Played Franklin Heights

*Jan. 27 - Home vs. Big Walnut. The Golden Eagles, who were 11-3 overall and 7-2 in the OCC-Capital before Jan. 25, are led by senior guard Tabitha Piper. The Jaguars won the first meeting 44-32 on Dec. 17.

Feb. 1 - Home vs. Westerville Central. Bradley won 41-33 last season.

Of note: The Jaguars were 10-3 overall and 6-2 in the OCC-Capital before Jan. 25.

*OCC-Capital game