DeSales High School hockey coach Bob Heine would like to see his team perform the way it did in the Cleveland Benedictine Christmas Tournament on a regular basis.
The Stallions went 4-0 in the tournament held Dec. 7-9 and outscored their opponents 31-8, including a 12-2 win over Benedictine and a 10-0 rout of Avon Lake that was shortened to two periods because of the lopsided score. DeSales had 63 shots on goal against Benedictine and 38 against Avon Lake.
"We've executed quite well," Heine said. "The thing is we have a lot of guys on this team who are in their third year and they're starting to understand what our philosophies and traditions are. It's a core group of good, smart hockey players."
The Benedictine tournament championship was the Stallions' second of the season. They also won their bracket in the Midwest Thanksgiving Classic held Nov. 23-25 at Chiller Dublin, defeating Dublin Jerome 3-1 in the final.
But Heine said the Stallions had a letdown when they went 1-2 in the Landon Ramirez Tournament held Nov. 30-Dec. 2 at Chiller North. DeSales defeated Olentangy 3-1 in the first game before losing to Gahanna 6-4 and Troy 8-1.
The Stallions bounced back to beat Gahanna 4-3 on Dec. 16.
"We got away from what we do well," Heine said of the Landon Ramirez Tournament. "The sooner we grasped that, the better we were going to play. That's what happened in Cleveland. In past years, the gap between our more-experienced players and the less-experienced guys has been pretty wide. Now it's not. We have freshmen who have been playing the game for six, seven and eight years, and they have an ability to learn quickly."
Senior forward Joe Gray led the Stallions with 14 goals through 11 games, followed by junior forward Tyler Klutch with 10 and freshman forward Sam Gray with four. All but one of Sam Gray's goals came against Benedictine.
Junior goaltenders Roberto Bahensky and Ben Risinger have been alternating starts.
"That was a good weekend away before we started (Capital Hockey Conference) play, and it was a weekend of team bonding," Heine said.
Girls team getting balanced scoring
Having a different leading scorer seemingly each game is something girls basketball coach Brian Cromwell expected to see this season -- and wholeheartedly welcomes.
Three players led the Stallions in scoring through four games, and no one was averaging more than 10 points. Sophomore guard Carli Codner-Pinto and junior guard Maggie Simon each were averaging 9.5 points, followed by junior forward Nichole Tuel (9.3) and senior point guard Miranda Johnson (6.8).
"We've been balanced, and that's fun because there isn't one person that anyone can scout and say they have to stop," Cromwell said. "They saw an opportunity and they're all going after it. Watching the team play together is great. Not that we didn't last year, because we did. But we had more of a focal point behind a couple scorers. This year, we have multiple people who can handle the ball well and get to the paint so they can get to the line. We have some people who have worked on their 3-point shot, so we've knocked down some of those."
Codner-Pinto scored 22 points, which represents a season-high for any Stallions player, in a 60-48 win over Ready on Dec. 11. In the previous game, a 49-33 loss to Zanesville Rosecrans on Dec. 5, she was limited to one point.
The Stallions, who are 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the CCL after beating CSG 71-8 on Dec. 15, don't play again until Dec. 27, when they face Gahanna on the first day of the two-day Gahanna Cage Classic. Eastmoor Academy and New Albany are the other two teams participating in the event.
Gahanna features four Division I college signees in Zenobia Bess (Illinois State), Maddison Blackwell (Xavier), Chrishna Butler (Cleveland State) and Quiera Lampkins (Ohio University), and New Albany is led by two college signees in point guard Hannah Scipio (Akron) and post player Kyasia Duling (Duquesne).
"We'll get after it (in practice)," Cromwell said of his team's break from games. "To me, it's a time to grow as a team, maybe not all on the court but off."