The Johnstown-Monroe High School boys basketball team would rather not remember the last time it played Granville.
On Dec. 17, the Blue Aces blew past Johnstown 55-30 in an LCL game, handing the Johnnies their only loss entering a Jan. 24 game against Watkins Memorial.
Johnstown plays host to Granville on Tuesday, Jan. 28. The Johnnies led the LCL at 11-1 before Jan. 24, with the Blue Aces at 10-2 and Newark Catholic in third at 9-3.
"Granville is obviously a big game, especially since (the Blue Aces) are coming to our place and the way we played the first time against them," said coach Kevin Martin, whose team was 14-1 overall before playing Watkins Memorial. "Then we play (at) Licking Valley (on Friday, Jan. 31) who we only beat by one point (45-44 on Dec. 20). There are no easy nights in the LCL."
In the first meeting, Johnstown trailed Granville 14-8 after one quarter and scored only two points in the second, falling behind 35-10 at halftime.
"I think if we stick to our game plan, we'll be OK," Martin said. "A lot of times, it comes down to guarding the basketball. In terms of matchups, (the Blue Aces) defended us well and we were chasing them early last time. Our defense suffered because of the way we played offensively. We'll be ready to play."
On Jan. 17, Justin Bush hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer in overtime to give the Johnnies a 45-42 win over Newark Catholic. Jason Carter led with 17 points, Kaden Welch scored eight and Will Orr and Jake Taylor both added seven.
"We defended as well as we have all year," Martin said. "(The Green Wave) had (6-foot-7) Connor Keck on (6-1) Will Orr, and when they did that, that opened things up for Jason."
Orr had 19 points with four 3-pointers in a 43-27 win over Utica on Jan. 21. Carter had 10 points and Taylor added six.
Girls basketball team continues winning
The girls basketball team was 14-2 overall and 11-2 in the LCL before playing Granville on Jan. 25.
The Johnnies overcame adversity to defeat North Union 63-50 on Jan. 21.
"We had bus problems on the way (to North Union) and got there late," coach Carl Dufford said. "Then we had a slow start, getting down 19-10 after one quarter and (the Wildcats) hit four 3-pointers.
"We had to get back in our base man-to-man defense and get after it. They cooled down shooting and we went on a 32-6 run, with a 20-0 run in the middle of it."
Natalie Carpenter led with 27 points, and Paige Cannon had 25 points and 11 rebounds. Makenzie Spang had seven rebounds and six assists.
"(North Union) concentrated on keeping Makenzie off of the boards, but that allowed Paige to score," Dufford said. "When they looked to stop Paige that opened things on the perimeter for Natalie, who had two 3s and 15 points in the second quarter."
On Jan. 18, the Johnnies defeated Utica 73-52 in LCL play. Carpenter scored 22 points with three 3s and Spang added 19 points.
Cannon scored 26 points as Johnstown defeated Watkins Memorial 76-25 on Jan. 23 in an LCL game. Carpenter had 18 points and Spang added 14.
Through 14 games, Carpenter was averaging 19.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.8 steals, and Cannon was averaging 15.0 points, 9.4 rebounds, 7.6 assists and 3.6 steals. Spang was averaging 14.1 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.9 blocks, Kerrigan Williams was averaging 7.1 points and Maddi Lusk was averaging 5.5 points.
Wrestling squad falls in state team tourney
The wrestling team is preparing for the LCL tournament Saturday, Feb. 1, at Licking Heights.
Last season, the Johnnies competed in the MBC and finished sixth (132) in the league duals behind champion Northridge (395).
On Jan. 22, the eighth-seeded Johnnies won their dual against ninth-seeded Africentric 40-24 in the preliminary round of Region 21-A in the Division III state team tournament, but lost their first-round matchup against top-seeded and host Hartley 63-15.
Against the Nubians, Colton Hiles (152) and Dakota Ramey (120) won by pin and Seth Jackson (138) won by major decision. Winning by forfeit were Clayton Bullard (195), Hayden Bullard (132), Trevor McGee (145) and Vince Walls (126).
Clayton Bullard (195) and Walls (126) won by pin and Hayden Bullard (132) won by decision against Hartley.