On the way to a 12-9 finish a year ago, the Beechcroft High School boys basketball team lost five of its first six games before turning around its fortunes and entering the postseason on a roll.

On the way to a 12-9 finish a year ago, the Beechcroft High School boys basketball team lost five of its first six games before turning around its fortunes and entering the postseason on a roll.

The Cougars are hoping for similar results this season.

After losing its first six games, Beechcroft posted three victories in a row before falling to Northland 99-58 on Jan. 20.

Adding optimism to a lineup led by one of the area's leading scorers in junior Khaleed Franklin is that senior Tyquan Wakefield scored 17 points against the Vikings in his season debut. Wakefield had been ineligible.

"There are a lot of positive things," said Franklin, who was averaging 17.6 points and eight rebounds through 10 games. "There's no selfishness and everything is coming together. It's taken a little while to adjust and for everyone to get used to varsity. I'm just seeing what happens, scoring and handling the ball and just not trying to do too much."

The addition of Wakefield isn't the only change for Beechcroft, as senior Kevin Chapple, who had five games with 20 points or more and was averaging 17.4 points through seven games, is no longer with the team.

Senior Arthur Thomas was averaging 11.4 points through 10 games and providing a steady hand at point guard, according to coach Scott Davis.

Beechcroft has competed in the Division I district tournament each of the past four seasons but has dropped to Division II for the coming postseason. The last time the Cougars competed in Division II was 2007 when they won a district title under former coach Kent Burgert.

Beechcroft has more than two weeks to improve its résumé before the tournament drawing on Feb. 12. The Cougars travel Friday, Jan. 27, to Mifflin and play host to Brookhaven on Tuesday, Jan. 31.

The Cougars lost to the Bearcats 91-58 on Jan. 6.

"We're doing a few things better here and there," Davis said. "The guys are kind of settling into some roles. Last year we started 1-5 and finished 11-3, so we're trying to do something similar to that. We're still not getting as much contribution off our bench as we'd like.

"Khaleed Franklin has emerged as our leader and Arthur Thomas has been doing a good job at point guard in his first (season) playing varsity basketball. I don't think (Franklin) is great at any one thing, but he does a lot of things pretty decently. He can rebound, he can get to the rim and he can handle the ball a little bit. He can do a lot of things well. He's a nice, well-rounded kid."

•Northland boys basketball coach Sean Taylor believes his team has benefited from high-profile non-league games.

On Dec. 22, the Vikings traveled to the Ironton Classic to play Huntington (W.Va.) Prep and lost 71-62.

Northland had no trouble beating Logan (W.Va.) 73-49 on Dec. 17 or Toledo St. John's 89-57 on Jan. 7 in the Ohio Scholastic Play-By-Play Classic. The Vikings did get tested, however, during a 70-62 win Jan. 14 over Garfield Heights in the Flyin' to the Hoop tournament at Kettering Fairmont.

The Vikings, who beat Garfield Heights 67-59 in a Division I state semifinal a year ago, close their non-league schedule Feb. 4 against visiting Lakewood St. Edward.

If Northland wins the City League-North Division, its final regular-season game would be against the champion of the City-South on Feb. 18 in the City championship game.

Entering this week, Huntington Prep was 15-1 and Garfield Heights was 9-3.

"We had our chances (against Huntington Prep) and I don't want to say that brought us back to reality, but it gave us a sense of reality," Taylor said. "We've been doing a lot better with our pressure since then and I think we're playing at a pace that we're more comfortable with, more up tempo. Garfield Heights has really good guards and is really good up front. I wouldn't be surprised if we see each other again."

The Vikings were 11-1 overall and 8-0 in the City-North before playing Whetstone on Jan. 24.

Through 12 games, Jalen Robinson was averaging 18 points, followed by Devon Scott (17.9), Jordan Potts (16) and Ke'Chaun Lewis (10.4).

While those seniors have been leading the way, the Vikings have begun developing depth. According to Taylor, junior Armani Towns and sophomores Ty Hairston and Jaylen Tucker all have provided strong contributions.

•Senior Devin Williams has been leading the Brookhaven wrestling team.

In the 15-team Licking Heights Invitational on Jan. 13 and 14, the Bearcats were seventh (100.5) behind champion Westerville North (242) as Williams was first at 160 pounds. Also placing were junior Jalen Bonner (fourth at 145) and sophomores Righteous Bridges (third at 106) and Devonte Lewis (fifth at 120).

On Jan. 22 in the Robin Drumm Classic at Heath, the Bearcats were fifth (180) of seven teams behind champion Dresden Tri-Valley (392). Williams took second at 160, Lewis was third at 120, freshman Steven Pelletier placed second at 182 and sophomore Miguel Hawkins placed fourth at 126.

Williams, according to coach Steve Ayers, has more than 20 victories this season.

The City League tournament will be held Feb. 11 at Centennial. The Bearcats finished sixth a year ago.

"I've only got one senior, one junior and the rest are freshmen and sophomores, but I think we'll have a pretty good showing (in the league tournament)," Ayers said. "We're maybe a little bit ahead of schedule. I keep telling the guys that it's more mental right now."