For quite some time, senior Will Orr has had a role of scoring from the perimeter for the Johnstown-Monroe High School boys basketball team.
The four-year varsity player and three-year starter quickly saw that duty unfold early in his freshman season.
"As a freshman I would get in the game every once in a while, but I remember a game against Watkins Memorial (55-48 win Dec. 29, 2010) that my main purpose was to get out and shoot (from 3-point range)," Orr said. "That's changed. As a sophomore, I would run off screens, catch and shoot the ball. I couldn't take my guy one-on-one and had trouble putting the ball on the floor, but I've worked hard on improving my game."
Now a more complete player, he was averaging 18.4 points through 10 games while shooting 54.5 percent (30-for-55) from 3-point range.
A 6-foot-1 guard, Orr entered the Johnnies' game against Heath on Jan. 11 with 810 career points. He had made 116 of 279 3-point attempts (41.6 percent) and 284 of 619 field-goal attempts (45.9 percent).
"The biggest thing for Will is his maturity as a young man and his setting goals," coach Kevin Martin said. "He takes the parts of his game that he considers to be weaknesses and works to make them strengths.
"He went from being a good shooter to a great one. He's one great basketball player that can score in a number of ways."
The Johnnies were 9-1 overall and 6-1 in the LCL before playing Heath. Their loss came Dec. 17, 55-30 against Granville, the state's seventh-ranked team in Division II. Orr scored only four points in that game.
Before Jan. 10, the Blue Aces led the league at 7-0, with Newark Catholic joining the Johnnies in second place at 6-1.
"After the Granville game, I was really upset with myself," Orr said. "We didn't play well offensively. We didn't play well defensively. I thought I should have done more, especially offensively.
"It was a tough game to let go. ... I didn't like the feeling afterward. We knew that even though we had our butts handed to us, we have to move on to the next game."
In the three games before Jan. 11, Orr led the Johnnies in scoring, including 25 points with three 3-pointers in a 77-32 win over East Knox on Dec. 21 and 26 points with three 3s in a 52-47 win over Lakewood in an LCL game Jan. 3.
"One way that Will's game has evolved is finding other ways to score," Martin said. "He doesn't just settle for jump shots, but he has worked to create off of the dribble or put the ball on the floor and get to the rim.
"And he has really improved defensively."
Orr also is one of the better free-throw shooters in the area, making 28 of 30 (93.3 percent) through 10 games. He had missed only 24 free throws in his career (126 of 150 for 84 percent).
"Coach Martin has taught me to let the game come to me," Orr said. "He knew that I just had to be patient and let it come to me. I don't have to force a shot or make a 50-50 pass. I have good players around me who can make things happen."
Girls basketball team preps for Green Wave
The girls basketball team was 10-1 overall and 8-1 in the LCL before playing Northridge on Jan. 11.
Its loss came to Newark Catholic, 60-54 on Dec. 5. The teams meet again Thursday, Jan. 16, at Johnstown.
"I think the league will be tougher in the second round," coach Carl Dufford said. "All of the teams know each other and there won't be any easy nights."
That was displayed Jan. 4 when Granville slowed the tempo and handed Newark Catholic a 33-29 loss, its first league setback.
"Newark Catholic was playing without its top scorer, Jill Blacksten, and its point guard, Kelly Clapper, but Granville had a great game plan," Dufford said. "We're planning for both to be back when we play."
Natalie Carpenter scored 24 points and Paige Cannon had 17 to lead the Johnnies past Licking Heights 66-48 in a league game Jan. 4. Makenzie Spang scored 12 points and Kerrigan Williams had eight.
In a 72-18 win over Heath on Jan. 9 in LCL play, the Johnnies led 29-0 after one quarter and 44-6 at halftime. Carpenter and Cannon both scored 19 points, Spang had 14, Williams scored 12 and Maddi Lusk added eight.
Wrestling team falls to Vikings, Redskins
The wrestling team competed in the Larry Remmert Memorial on Jan. 11 at Thornville Sheridan.
On Jan. 9, the Johnnies lost at home to Northridge 36-33 and Utica 57-13.
Clayton Bullard won by forfeit twice at 195 pounds to improve 17-0. Hayden Bullard (132; 13-1) won twice and Vince Walls (126; 12-6) had one win and one forfeit.