Marysville High School girls basketball coach Aric Tucker believes thought-provoking quotes not only can help his players on the court, but in life in general. With that in mind, each practice he reads a quote to his players.

Marysville High School girls basketball coach Aric Tucker believes thought-provoking quotes not only can help his players on the court, but in life in general. With that in mind, each practice he reads a quote to his players.

One of the latest quotes he read: "Confidence builds winning and winning builds confidence."

Marysville definitely could use a boost in confidence. The Monarchs have lost three consecutive games, dropping to 2-4 overall and 1-4 in the OCC-Cardinal Division with a 57-40 loss to Westerville South last Monday, and face a major test Monday when they play host to non-league Delaware. A win could do wonders for the Monarchs' psyche.

"It would be a huge confidence-builder for us," Tucker said.

Delaware was 8-0 after beating Big Walnut 45-43 last Tuesday. The Pacers are led by 6-foot-1 post player Makeda Matthews and her twin sister, 6-1 post player Anasa Matthews. Other key players are guard and forward Caroline Welker and guard Brittany Skeens.

"Without a doubt, they're playing very well," Tucker said of the Pacers. "But if we come ready to play, we'll be OK because we have the size to match them."

Providing the size for Marysville are 6-1 post players Kate Francisco and Dani Jordan. Francisco (11.7) and Jordan (9.3) are the Monarchs' top two scorers. Rounding out the top four scorers are guards Jenny Jordan (8.2) and Chelsey Wyman (5.0).

"Our offense is geared to not have a kid score 25 points a game," Tucker said. "I would take that, but I would rather have four kids scoring eight to 12 points a game. We try to spread (the scoring) out, which is what the Princeton offense is designed to do."

That said, Tucker would like to see his team boost its scoring average per game to about 50 points. The Monarchs are averaging 42.7, with their victories coming in games in which they scored at least 50. They defeated Bellefontaine 58-49 on Dec. 2 and league-rival Olentangy Liberty 51-48 on Dec. 9.

"I think that's a good number," Tucker said. "Anytime you score 50, you should win. We're capable of scoring that many, but right now we're working on our defense. We're looking to keep teams below that mark."

Opponents are averaging 53.2 points against Marysville. The Monarchs allowed a season high in a 67-40 loss to league-rival Dublin Scioto on Dec. 5 and have allowed more than 50 in three of their six games.

•Victories continue to be difficult to come by for the boys basketball team, but coach Kenny Chaffin believes progress is being made.

The Monarchs, who play host to Fairbanks on Tuesday in a non-league contest, fell to 1-5 overall and 0-4 in the OCC-Cardinal with a 58-39 loss to Westerville South last Monday.

"We saw a lot of really positive things (against South)," Chaffin said. "We felt we made marked improvement in small spurts. Right now we're focusing on the small victories within a game."

What were the small victories Chaffin saw in the loss to South?

"There were stretches where we didn't turn the ball over and stretches where we played at our tempo, which is a half-court game," he said.

Turnovers have been problem, as the Monarchs are averaging 21 per game.

"That's unacceptable," Chaffin said. "But you have to build slowly. You can't expect to go from 21 a game to 10 a game right away. It takes time. Realistically, I think we can cut it to 15 turnovers a game. If we do that, I think we'll be in good shape."

Marysville also needs more offensive production. The Monarchs are averaging 42.0 points per game. They scored their season high in a 50-46 win over Thomas Worthington on Dec. 16 in a non-league contest.

"Ideally, we'd like our games to be in the high 40s, low 50s," Chaffin said. "That's our target. Our goal is to hold our opponents to 12 points a quarter. We play very hard on the defensive end, but we have stretches without scoring. When you're having a lot of empty possessions, you're going to struggle to win basketball games.

"We feel like our system is working. When we don't turn the ball over, we're getting open looks."

Chaffin would like to see one or more players establish themselves as a go-to player, someone who can be counted on offensively. The Monarchs' leading scorer is forward Mike Romesburg, who is averaging 5.7 points. The only other players averaging more than five points are guard and forward Paul Devine (5.5) and guard Michael Waite (5.2).

"Anytime you don't have a (go-to player), it's a concern," Chaffin said. "But we also look at it as a positive. We have balance. We share the ball, spread it around. At the same time, we'd like to see scorers step up and take a more aggressive role with the basketball."

•The wrestling team will be one of 44 teams competing in the Brecksville Invitational Holiday Tournament on Monday and Tuesday at Brecksville-Broadview Heights. Other area teams participating include Central Crossing, DeSales, Hilliard Davidson, Olentangy Liberty and Reynoldsburg.

The field for the Brecksville tournament will feature 105 returning state qualifiers, including 13 state champions and 20 state runners-up.

The Monarchs, who were sixth in the Division I area coaches poll last week behind Teays Valley, Central Crossing, Pickerington North, Davidson and Olentangy, will play host to Mason, Miamisburg and Reynoldsburg on Saturday before competing in a dual Jan. 8 at Hilliard Darby.

•The swimming and diving teams do not have any meets during the holiday break. Their next meet is Jan. 7 against Darby at the Marysville YMCA.

The Monarchs' last meet was a dual against Thomas Worthington on Dec. 17. The boys team lost 96-74 and the girls team lost 85.5-84.5.

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Marysville boys basketball and girls basketball teams:

BOYS BASKETBALL

*Dec. 19 -- Lost to Westerville Central 68-43. Kyle Goins scored 10 points and Trevor Morris scored nine.

*Last Monday -- Lost to Westerville South 58-39. Mike Romesburg and Michael Waite scored 11 points.

Tuesday -- Home vs. Fairbanks

*Jan. 6 -- Home vs. Dublin Jerome

Of note: The Monarchs are 1-5 overall and 0-4 in the OCC-Cardinal.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

*Dec. 19 -- Lost to Westerville Central 41-36. Kate Francisco scored 13 points and Dani Jordan scored nine.

*Last Monday -- Lost to Westerville South 57-40. Francisco scored 16 points and Jenny Jordan scored eight.

Monday -- Home vs. Delaware

Jan. 3 -- At Marion Elgin

*Jan. 6 -- At Jerome

Of note: The Monarchs are 2-4 overall and 1-4 in the OCC-Cardinal.

*OCC-Cardinal game