Licking County News

Watkins Memorial Roundup

Girls basketball team maintains positive stance

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JOHN HULKENBERG/THISWEEKSPORTS
Lou Nickel and the Watkins Memorial girls basketball team will play host to Big Walnut on Tuesday, Jan. 29, in an OCC-Capital contest.
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The Watkins Memorial High School girls basketball team has been meeting some of its goals this season.

"It's not showing up in our record, but we are winning by accomplishing some of our goals," said coach Jayme Gates, whose team was 4-12 overall and 1-8 in the OCC-Capital Division before playing Mount Vernon on Jan. 25. "We're holding our opponents to fewer points and we're not fouling as much as we were earlier in the season. Our defense has improved."

However, the Warriors' offensive struggles have kept them down. They had lost four games in a row before facing Mount Vernon, averaging just 26.8 points during the skid. Their highest point total during that stretch came in a 70-36 loss to New Albany on Jan. 8.

The other losses came against Olentangy (64-27 on Jan. 4), Olentangy Orange (55-21 on Jan. 11) and Delaware (41-23 on Jan. 18). All of the contests during the losing streak were against OCC-Capital opponents.

"We're not attacking or looking for our shots aggressively, so we're not getting to the foul line," Gates said. "We pass the ball well, but we're too limited in our shot selection, for the most part. We need to gain confidence and trust in each other and rebound for each other. When we run our offense and are aggressive enough to take the open shots, we're getting good buckets."'

According to senior point guard Lou Nickel, confidence, or a lack thereof, has played a major role in the Warriors' shooting woes.

"There is a hesitation for some of us to take shots, especially if you miss the first one or the first couple," she said. "It's almost like (certain players) don't want to shoot it. But you can't score if you don't shoot."

Nickel is doing her best to lead by example and maintain team morale.

"Hey, this isn't the season we wanted or hoped for," she said. "We're still playing hard and playing through things. As long as we keep fighting and give it everything we have and not hold anything back, I'll be happy with that.

"Personally, if coach asks me to get more rebounds or more assists, that's what I'm going to do. I want to do anything I can to help the team. I know the best thing I can do is to keep the girls positive."

Gates said leadership is one of Nickel's primary roles.

"She is our most consistent player and scorer, but it's her leadership and ability to motivate her teammates that make her special," Gates said. "She's a very smart player who anticipates well. She keeps us in control on the floor."

Boys basketball team ends losing streak

The boys basketball team snapped an eight-game losing streak by beating Hilliard Bradley 55-51 in an OCC-Capital contest Jan. 22.

Forward Kevin Crawford had 21 points, including three 3-pointers, to lead the Warriors, who led 33-25 at halftime. Guard Thomas O'Sickey had 14 points and post player Hunter Holton scored 10.

"This is proof to the boys that if they keep working hard and stay focused good things can happen," coach Pat Dimmick said. "They worked their tails off and deserved this win.

"Kevin Crawford was very strong and had a double-double with 11 or 12 rebounds. Thomas O'Sickey hit a lot of big shots when we needed them and is our leader on the floor, and Hunter Holton rebounded well, played strong inside and he played exceptional defense."

The Warriors were 4-11 overall and 1-7 in the OCC-Capital before playing Mount Vernon on Jan. 25.

Wrestlers fall in first round of team tourney

The wrestling team lost in the first round of the inaugural Division I state team tournament.

Seeded seventh in Region 6-B of the dual-format tournament, the Warriors lost to second-seeded Pickerington Central 55-22 on Jan. 23. Central advanced to the second round Wednesday, Jan. 30.

The Warriors are 3-2 in OCC-Capital dual matches and will face Franklin Heights in a league match Thursday, Jan. 31, at home before playing host to the 10-team Watkins Memorial Invitational on Saturday, Feb. 2.

Chris Bankes, who is 35-6 at 126 pounds, leads the team in wins. Andrew Lieb (32-4 at 120) and Damian George (32-7 at 220) are next, followed by Nick Lancia (31-3 at 152) and Noah Holter (29-7 at 138). Josh Lyday is 14-5 at 195.

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