John Wheeler has seen several ups and downs in his first season coaching the Northridge High School boys basketball team.

John Wheeler has seen several ups and downs in his first season coaching the Northridge High School boys basketball team.

The Vikings were 3-1 before dropping six consecutive games. But they had won two of their last three before playing Johnstown last Friday, giving Wheeler cause for optimism.

"Our guys have been bringing it every night and playing four quarters. That's different from the way they had been playing," said Wheeler, whose team was 5-8 overall and 4-4 in the MBC before last Friday. "We played one good quarter against Johnstown (on Dec. 16) and we still came out with a (53-51) win. Against Fredericktown (on Dec. 12), we played three good quarters but end up losing (38-31).

"We say that playing all four quarters is what we need to do, but getting the players to buy into it is another thing. That's what's starting to happen here."

The Vikings beat Fredericktown 43-39 on Jan. 23, but lost Justin Dague to a minor knee injury in the second period. They lost to Heath 36-27 last Monday playing without Dague and post player Brett VanDervort, who is nursing a bad back.

"I expect Justin to be back (against Johnstown last Friday) because he practiced (last Tuesday)," Wheeler said. "We just kind of gave him the day off (last Monday against Heath) because we didn't want to push too much too soon."

Wheeler was impressed with his team's play against an up-tempo Heath team, which was 8-3 after the victory last Monday.

"After the (46-25 loss to Utica on Jan. 6), we played really well against Centerburg (68-49 loss Jan. 9), and that was without Brett," he said. "Then we took care of the ball well against Heath and they run one of the best diamond presses that I have seen. We were able to control the tempo and slow down their attack."

In the win over Fredericktown, Derek Hull had 11 points and three steals and Cody Smith and Barry Roth had eight points. Ryan King added nine rebounds and four blocks. Last Monday, Hull and Roth had six points and Cody King scored five.

"Right now we have a lot of very unselfish basketball players that are playing within themselves and trying not to do too much. They don't care who gets credit," Wheeler said. "We have different guys stepping up and hitting shots when Brett and Justin are out. We have other guys stepping up and making plays and playing with a lot of confidence. That's good for us as a team."

•The girls basketball Division III district tournament is today at Olentangy Liberty.

Northridge was 0-13 overall and 0-9 in the MBC before playing Utica last Saturday.

"We have started 0-13 but we're still shooting more free throws than our opponents and have been making them," coach Ron Florey said. "But when you only shoot 20 percent from the field and average 20-25 turnovers per game there you go."

Northridge lost to Johnstown 61-37 on Jan. 24 led by Diedre Wells with seven points and four steals. Keilah Ketron and Jessie Johnson scored seven points and. Dana VanDervort had five blocks. Lindsay Rose had six rebounds and two assists and Sierra Fronk had four rebounds.

"We started slow (against Johnstown), but we start slow all of the time," Florey said. "We shot 10 of 40 and that's about what we normally shoot. We were outrebounded 40-23 and they had way too many second-chance tries."

The Vikings are a young, inexperienced team and entered the season building for the future.

"The thing we need to do to get better is just repetition and how hard you work in the summer," Florey said. "We need to shoot, lift and play a lot of basketball in the summer. That's what that's what we need to do."

The Vikings were to play a league game last Thursday at East Knox, but the game was postponed because of bad weather and will be made up Wednesday. The game originally scheduled for Wednesday at home against Columbus School for Girls has been canceled.

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Northridge boys basketball, girls basketball, swimming and wrestling teams:

BOYS BASKETBALL

*Jan. 23 -- Defeated Fredericktown 43-39

Last Monday -- Lost Heath 36-27

*Last Friday -- Played Johnstown

Tuesday -- At East Knox. The Vikings lost 34-32 on Dec. 19. The Bulldogs were 3-7 overall and 1-6 in the MBC before playing Centerburg last Friday.

*Friday -- Home vs. Utica. Northridge lost 46-25 on Jan. 6. The Redskins were 5-7 overall and 4-4 in the MBC before playing Loudonville last Friday.

Saturday -- Home vs. Liberty Union. The Lions were 5-7 before playing Millersport last Saturday.

*Feb. 9 -- Home vs. Loudonville. The Redbirds were 7-3 overall and 6-1 in the MBC before playing Utica last Friday.

Of note: The Vikings were 5-8 overall and 4-4 in the MBC before last Friday.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

*Jan. 24 -- Lost to Johnstown 61-37

*Last Saturday -- Played Utica

*Monday -- At Loudonville. The Redbirds were 10-4 overall and 8-1 in the MBC after beating Fredericktown 53-30 last Thursday.

*Wednesday -- At East Knox. The game was postponed from last Thursday. Northridge lost 44-33 on Dec. 13. The Bulldogs were 3-11 overall and 1-9 in the MBC before last Saturday. The game scheduled for this date against Columbus School for Girls has been canceled.

*Saturday -- At Centerburg. The Vikings lost 57-51 on Jan. 8. The Trojans were 7-7 overall and 6-4 in the MBC after losing to Utica 55-44 last Thursday.

*Feb. 10 -- Home vs. Granville. The Blue Aces were 10-2 before playing Heath last Saturday.

Of note: The Vikings were 0-13 overall and 0-9 in the MBC before last Saturday.

SWIMMING

Last Friday -- Competed in Northridge Invitational

Saturday -- At Southeastern Ohio Swim League meet at Ohio University

Feb. 14 -- At Division II sectional at Columbus Academy

WRESTLING

Last Saturday -- Competed in Utica Invitational

Saturday -- At John Deno Invitational at The Plains Athens

*Feb. 14 -- At MBC tournament at Utica

*MBC contest