Girls hope to solve sputtering offense
Winter break might not provide much of a respite for the Northridge High School girls basketball team.
The Vikings, who were 1-7 overall and 0-4 in the MBC before playing Loudonville on Dec. 20, don't play again until Jan. 3 at Utica.
That will give coach Fred Davis a chance to help his players refine an often sputtering offense.
"We have struggled running our sets after the first or second options," Davis said "We have to have the tenacity to look at the third, fourth and fifth options.
"Our effort was great; I never have doubted that at any point. Even when we're down 20, the effort is still there."
The Vikings defeated Millersport 47-34 on Nov. 27, but never scored more than 35 points while losing their next seven games. That output came in a 54-35 loss to East Knox on Dec. 6.
On Dec. 18, Northridge lost to Granville Christian 38-34. The Vikings turned the ball over on three of four possessions in the final two minutes after holding a 34-33 lead.
"We had several possessions that we didn't get the look that we wanted and turned the ball over," Davis said. "But we're still learning to win with a younger group of kids. We have to learn how to hold the lead once we have it and not feel pressure about that."
Sara Pribonic scored eight of her 13 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Vikings. Lydia George had seven points with two 3-pointers and Belinda Marcum added six points.
The Vikings trailed Granville Christian 14-7 after the first quarter.
"We have to start faster," assistant coach Dan Davis said. "We have been losing big in the first quarter, and then most of the time, we have outscored opponents in the second half. We have to start the games the same way we have been playing in the second half."
The Vikings now will have a working vacation.
"We plan to work on (pressure defense) and on our half-court (offensive) sets," Fred Davis said. "We're so young that we haven't been able to work on the press yet. You have to learn how to walk before you can run, and now we're at the point we can put in the press."
Boys basketball team looking for wins
The boys basketball team was on a four-game losing streak before playing Fredericktown in a league game Dec. 21.
Coach Ben Patrick said his team easily could have been unbeaten through six games instead of 2-4 overall and 0-3 in the MBC.
"We had the lead late in all four of our losses and easily could have been on a six-game winning streak to start the season," Patrick said. "But we're inexperienced. The juniors and seniors have not seen a lot of varsity time in the past and we're committing too many turnovers late. We're in games late, but just not finishing."
The Vikings beat Heath 72-68 on Nov. 30 and Lakewood 64-60 on Dec. 4 before dropping MBC games to Danville (68-60 on Dec. 7), East Knox (65-64 on Dec. 11) and Centerburg (55-53 in overtime Dec. 14). They also lost at Parma Heights Holy Name 70-61 on Dec. 15.
"Holy Name was a really good team," Patrick said. "We jumped on them early (27-11 after one quarter) and they just worked their way back. We hardly broke 10 points in the remaining quarters.
"We played not to lose instead of to win. If someone comes out and beats us, fine. But we have been beating ourselves."
Chad Campbell, a 5-foot-10 sophomore guard, led the Vikings in scoring though six games, averaging 19.3 points. Junior guard Matt Grindle was averaging 11.0 points, followed by senior guard Sean Higgins (8.3), sophomore guard Gavin Shank (7.2) and senior guard Hayden Warner (6.5).
"Chad Campbell has been great for us, but I have been talking about him since summer," Patrick said. "He's so quick off of the dribble, and now he's starting to get double-teamed because guys are not quick enough to stop him. But that's OK, because when he draws a double team that opens things up for our other guys."
Patrick also said he has been impressed with the steady play of Higgins.
"Sean Higgins has been doing the little things that don't always show up in the scorebook," Patrick said. "He has been rebounding and playing great defense for us. He's been hard to take off of the floor. I wish we had him another season."
Wrestlers batter MBC juggernaut
The wrestling team won a pair of league duals Dec. 19, defeating Johnstown-Monroe 65-12 and Loudonville 55-22. The Redbirds have won the MBC six of the last seven years.
"We beat (the Redbirds) last year in the league duals and they beat us in the (league) tournament," coach Eric Potts said. "We still have to beat them (in the MBC tournament)."
Winning twice for the Vikings were Michael Holley (106 pounds), Jake Adkins (113), Drew Mullen (138), Thomas Williams (152), Rob Mickey (160), Zach Rudy (182) and A.J. Mooney (220).