The Watkins Memorial High School boys basketball team hit a rut after winning its first two games.
The Warriors lost three consecutive games before ending the skid with a 58-44 win over visiting Big Walnut on Dec. 18.
"We know we'll face adversity throughout the season and it's up to us how we're going to deal with it," coach Pat Dimmick said. "We need to learn from it, make improvements and get back after it."
During the three-game skid, Dimmick stressed to his players the importance of sticking together and avoiding lapses in games.
"We need to put together 32 minutes of good basketball. We're still trying to iron things out," he said. "It seems like it was a little bit of everything. We had way too many turnovers in the first three games, even though we won the first two. Then, we cut (the turnovers) down, but then we weren't blocking out and checking out on rebounding and we were struggling to execute on offense."
The skid began with a 71-40 loss to Delaware on Dec. 7, followed by losses to Heath (50-41 on Dec. 10) and Mount Vernon (54-38 on Dec. 14).
Dimmick said the Warriors must remain focused and not panic when faced with adversity.
"They need to not worry about outside influences, whether that's the crowd or anything else," he said. "They have to stay focused, let the last play go and have that 'next-play mentality.' Our shooting percentage decreased. Rather than being more patient, the guys felt like they want to be the one to the rescue. They don't. They need to play within themselves."
Watkins Memorial was 3-3 overall and 1-2 in the OCC-Capital Division before playing Franklin Heights on Dec. 21 and Dresden Tri-Valley on Dec. 22. The Warriors travel to Licking Heights on Friday, Dec. 28.
Against Big Walnut, guard Thomas O'Sickey scored a season-high 21 points, including 12 from the free-throw line. Forward Hunter Holton had 11 points and post player Kevin Crawford scored nine.
"Thomas O'Sickey has been steady," Dimmick said. "He's scoring, handling the ball well, playing good defense and has been a good leader. Kevin Crawford is playing well most of the time and his effort is always there. His shot selection could be a bit better at times, but that's true for all of them.
"Everyone wants to step up, be the leader, make the big play. Rather than everyone rushing things or try too hard to step up, what we could use more of is patience. We need to be smart and everyone has to stick to their strengths."
Dimmick likes what he has seen from his players in terms of effort.
"I've been pleased with the way they show up to practice ready to work on things," he said. "I'm seeing improvement with Clay Gray, who has done well at off guard and point guard. I also think Hunter Holton is getting better in the post every game in his first season with varsity."
Swimming coach happy with start
The girls swimming and diving team finished third (53 points) in the 16-team Warsaw River View Invitational on Dec. 15 at Coshocton behind champion Dover (92).
Shelby Seas won the 200-meter individual medley in 2 minutes, 49.92 seconds and Kayla Fenimore won the 100 butterfly (1:14.27). Placing second were Miranda Gessner in the 500 freestyle (29.68) and 100 free (1:06.45) and the 200 medley relay of Rachel Baughn, Seas, Fenimore and Gessner (2:21.26).
Finishing third were Baughn in the 100 fly (1:19.57), Seas in the 100 breaststroke (1:25.3) and the 400 free relay (4:43.81) of Gessner, Baughn, Seas and Fenimore.
The boys team placed fifth (19) of 16 teams behind champion Dover (102).
Alan Chapman placed third in the 100 free (1:02.65) and 100 backstroke (1:11.8).
"I am very proud of the team and their performances," first-year coach Heidi Williams said. "For this being our first meet in a meter pool, which is harder because it's a longer distance than a yard pool, we did well. I am also proud of them because we haven't had much pool time lately due to meets being held at the YMCA we use."