Nothing seemed to go right for the Johnstown-Monroe High School boys basketball team in a battle of LCL unbeatens Dec. 17 at Granville.
The Blue Aces shut down the Johnnies' one-two punch of senior guard Will Orr and sophomore post player Jason Carter en route to a 55-30 victory.
Johnstown trailed 14-8 after one quarter and 35-10 at halftime as the Blue Aces improved to 5-0 overall and 4-0 in the LCL before playing Lakewood on Dec. 20.
"I don't think we were mentally ready to face what was in front of us," said coach Kevin Martin, whose team dropped to 5-1 overall and 4-1 in the LCL before playing Licking Valley on Dec. 20. "We're used to dictating the offensive and defensive flow of the game, and when (the Blue Aces) came out and dictated that to us, we kind of shut down."
Through five games, Orr was averaging 21.4 points with 20 3-pointers and Carter was averaging 21 points. Orr did not hit a 3-pointer and scored four points against Granville, while Carter led the Johnnies with seven points.
"When you have two players averaging more than 20 points, they become a focus of the other team," Martin said. "(The Blue Aces) took care of Jason on the inside and took care of Will on the outside. We did a lot of standing around offensively, and that's something we normally don't do. We were on our heels."
Junior guard Jake Taylor and junior guard Kaden Welch both scored five points for Johnstown and senior guard Justin Bush added four points.
"When you have a season like this, you have some ups and downs," Martin said. "We were up for the first five games and we were down this one. We'll get things back to where they were."
On Dec. 13, Carter had 28 points and nine rebounds as Johnstown defeated Watkins Memorial 66-43 in LCL play. Orr scored 19 points with three 3-pointers and Welch added 11 points.
Girls basketball team loses point guard
The girls basketball team will be without the services of Laiken Valentine, a four-year starter at point guard, until at least February.
The 5-foot-6 senior was injured in a 72-32 league win over Watkins Memorial on Dec. 12, scoring 14 points before exiting the game.
"Laiken looks to be out until at least Feb. 1, but it could have been worse," coach Carl Dufford said. "The doctor said she had torn several leg muscles, including one of her hamstrings and a calf muscle. She didn't have any ligament damage, but if she would have, her season would be over. We're hoping she can come back for us to hopefully make a tournament run."
In their first game without Valentine, the Johnnies defeated Granville 68-34 as junior forward Paige Cannon had 20 points, seven rebounds and eight assists.
Natalie Carpenter scored 19 points as she continued her pursuit of the program's career scoring record of 1,123 points set by 1997 graduate Stacy Wright. The senior guard had 1,093 career points before the Johnnies played Licking Valley on Dec. 19.
Senior forward Makenzie Spang had 13 points and 10 rebounds against the Blue Aces, and sophomore point guard Maddi Lusk had nine points and nine rebounds as the Johnnies improved to 5-1 overall and 4-1 in the LCL entering the Licking Valley game.
"Maddi Lusk stepped into that (point guard) position and did well against Granville," Dufford said. "Sometimes (in the past) she even ran the point and we would put Laiken (on the) wing. Also, Carpenter has played (point guard) before, so we still have some experience there, but (Valentine) will be tough to replace."
Through six games, Carpenter was averaging a team-best 16.7 points, followed by Cannon (15.2), Spang (13.8), junior guard Kerrigan Williams (6.8) and Lusk (6.3).
Wrestling team to hold home duals
The wrestling team will be the host squad Saturday, Dec. 28, for the Johnstown Duals.
Teams scheduled to attend include Brookhaven, New Albany, Utica and Zanesville West Muskingum.
Last season, bad weather trimmed the 11-team field to five, with Grove City, Harvest Prep, New Albany and Utica joining the Johnnies.
Johnstown went 1-3, defeating Harvest Prep 52-12 and losing to champion Grove City (62-12), New Albany (39-30) and Utica (27-24).
Senior Clayton Bullard went 5-0 at 195 pounds and was named the event's Most Valuable Wrestler.