At 6-foot-2, Makenzie Spang always has been an inside presence for the Johns-town-Monroe High School girls basketball team.
Already holding the program record for blocked shots, the senior post player became the Johnnies' career rebounding leader with 12 in a 76-43 win Jan. 30 over Licking Valley.
Through 17 games this season, Spang had a program-best 185 blocks and 705 rebounds for her career, eclipsing the record of 698 set by 1997 graduate Stacey Wright.
"Makenzie's inside presence has really helped us out and she has had teams challenging her," said coach Carl Dufford, whose team was 15-2 overall and 12-2 in the LCL before playing Lakewood on Feb. 1. "She has done a good job of blocking shots and getting in position to get rebounds both on the offensive and defensive ends."
After averaging 7.1 points as a sophomore and 8.6 as a junior, Spang was averaging 13.3 points through 16 games to go with 10.2 rebounds, 3.1 blocks and 2.0 assists.
"I really wanted to work on my offense for my senior season," Spang said. "I played AAU ball over the summer on a team with (Newark Catholic seniors) Jill Blacksten and Ashleigh Parkinson and we really pushed each other."
Still, Spang has continued to be a defensive presence for the Johnnies. She set the program record for blocks in a game with seven in a 60-32 win over Lakewood on Dec. 21. She also had 19 rebounds in a 79-54 win over Beechcroft on Dec. 30.
"The great thing about Makenzie is that she can block shots and not get into foul trouble," Dufford said. "Against Watkins (Memorial, a 76-25 win Jan. 23), Makenzie had six blocked shots and did not have any fouls. That's impressive."
Spang said blocking shots -- like rebounding -- comes down to timing.
"Timing is really key (in blocking shots)," she said. "The most important part is not to get (the shooter) with your body. You have to stay away and get your hand up.
"As for rebounding, you have to watch the ball and know where to be. If they shoot a (3-pointer), you know the rebound will go long and things like that."
Spang has signed to play collegiately at Mount Vernon Nazarene, meaning her games with the Johnnies are numbered. She has yet to ponder what it will be like to play her last game in Butt Gymnasium.
"It's hard to believe that we (the three seniors) have come this far," Spang said. "I have been with these girls since junior high and even (Johnstown Youth Association) basketball, and now we're seniors.
"I can remember when we were freshmen, Natalie (Carpenter) and Laiken (Valentine) were on varsity and now we're seniors. ... It doesn't seem that long ago. Once that (final home game) comes, it's going to be hard. It will be tough."
Against Licking Valley, Carpenter scored 20 points, Valentine had 14, Spang scored 13 and Maddi Lusk added 12
Through 16 games, Carpenter was averaging 19.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.9 steals, and Valentine was averaging 5.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 2.1 steals.
Paige Cannon was averaging 16.3 points, 9.4 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 3.7 steals. The junior also scored 26 points against Watkins Memorial to surpass 1,000 career points.
The Johnnies' home league game with Granville on Jan. 25 was moved to Feb. 11 because of bad weather.
Boys basketball team roughs up Warriors
The boys basketball team was 15-1 overall and 12-1 in the LCL before playing Licking Valley on Jan. 31.
The Johnnies defeated Watkins Memorial 53-35 on Jan. 24 in a league contest. Will Orr led Johnstown with 17 points and Jason Carter had 11. Cody Farley scored nine points and Justin Bush added seven.
Johnstown's LCL game against visiting Granville was postponed Jan. 28 because of bad weather and rescheduled for Feb. 13.
Bullard wins title at New Lexington
The wrestling team competed in the LCL tournament Feb. 1 at Licking Heights.
On Jan. 25, Clayton Bullard won the 195-pound title in the Jimmy Wood Memorial at New Lexington.
The senior won an 11-2 decision over St. Paris Graham's Josh Couchman in the championship match.
The Johnnies finished 10th (109 points) of 15 teams behind champion Graham (481.5).
Hayden Bullard (132) placed fourth and Vince Walls (126) was seventh. Aaron Davis (220) and Dakota Ramey (120) were eighth.