Winning while learning beats losing while learning every time.
The Watkins Memorial High School boys basketball team experienced both situations in its first two contests.
The Warriors allowed a sizable lead to disappear in their season and LCL opener before rallying to beat Lakewood 62-61 on Dec. 3. They then started slow in a 55-47 loss to Newark Catholic in a league contest Dec. 10.
Against Lakewood, sophomore guard Joey Looney scored his first varsity points on a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
"We were very fortunate to come out with a win," coach Pat Dimmick said. "We were up by 11 points midway through the third quarter and didn't play smart, fundamental basketball. We allowed them to get back into it and take the lead. But it's always better to learn things and win rather than learning from a loss."
Dimmick was disappointed with the Warriors' shot selection, turnovers and defensive rebounding against Newark Catholic.
"When you have that type of lead, you'd like to see the guys be somewhat patient on offense and force (the opponent) to expend energy defensively," Dimmick said. "You also have to be strong with the ball."
Jared Clark had 24 points to lead the Warriors against Lakewood, with Clay Gray and Hunter Holton adding 10 and nine points, respectively.
"I was real happy with the play of Gray," Dimmick said. "I know (Lakewood's Reece) Dupler had 22 points, but I thought Zach Lescalleet and Alex Miles did a great job on him defensively."
Against Newark Catholic, the Warriors fell behind 9-2 after the first quarter and trailed 24-17 at halftime and 38-29 after the third quarter. Gray and Holton both had 12 points and Clark scored 11.
Watkins Memorial's league game against Heath on Dec. 6 was postponed because of bad weather and has yet to be rescheduled.
Girls basketball team seeking consistency
The girls basketball team has been up and down in the early portion of the season.
Watkins Memorial lost its first two games, falling to Canal Winchester 43-40 on Nov. 26 and Lakewood 29-26 in its LCL opener Nov. 30 before defeating Groveport 55-42 on Dec. 2 and Heath 48-43 in a league game Dec. 5.
However, the Warriors lost their next two games, falling to Newark Catholic 52-26 in league play Dec. 7 and Worthington Kilbourne 38-19 on Dec. 10.
Watkins Memorial was 2-5 overall and 1-3 in the LCL after losing to Johnstown 72-32 on Dec. 12 and playing Licking Valley on Dec. 14.
"After we won two in a row, we came out and led Newark Catholic 10-2 before they scored 31 of the next 35 points," coach Jayme Gates said. "We were patient and our shots were falling. They changed the tempo on us and we stopped making shots. They sped the game up and just took off on us. What hurt us a lot was only getting six offensive rebounds. When you're shooting poorly, you need to get extra looks and we didn't get them.
"We're a young team with just one girl who started last season (Vicki Smith), so we're still in the growing process and consistency is difficult to build with young teams. But the girls come in to practices focused and eager to learn."
Smith, a senior post player, had 18 points and 18 rebounds against Groveport. Kelsey Grove added 10 points and Emma Hock scored nine.
Hock and freshman point guard Rylan Perry both scored eight points and Monica Foutty scored seven against Heath and Madi Moore had 12 points against Newark Catholic.
Wrestling team opens with strong showing
Despite having four open weight classes in its lineup, the wrestling team made a strong showing in its opening tournament, scoring 207 points to finish fourth in the 10-team Rick Link/Doan Ford Invitational on Dec. 7 at Belmont Union Local.
Steubenville Central Catholic (261) won the event, with Richmond Edison Local (237) and Vincent Warren (209) rounding out the top three.
Freshman Alex Lieb was the lone winner for the Warriors, going 5-0 at 106 pounds. Matt Kennedy (160) and Adam Tompkins (170) both went 4-1 and placed second, Jack May (220) placed third and Simon Ponce (heavyweight) and Dean Marek (120) finished fourth.
"Alex Lieb wrestled well for his first varsity tournament," coach Mark Kurth said. "Matt Kennedy and Adam Tompkins also had good days and Simon Ponce wrestled well for his first experience on the mat.
"Everyone won at least one match, so we have a lot to build on. We are a young team and it was nice to finally start wrestling and see some areas that we looked good and some that we need to improve on."