Miranda Johnson knew she would shoulder many responsibilities this season as the DeSales High School girls basketball team's only senior.
According to coach Brian Cromwell, the 5-foot-4 guard has done that and then some given that the Stallions have had to deal with a multitude of injuries. Johnson was averaging 8.6 points through 13 games and also sets the tone defensively for a team that was allowing an average of 42.5 points.
The Stallions entered the week 8-5 overall and 3-1 in the CCL.
"She's been thrown into this leadership role, (and) she's done a great job," Cromwell said. "Through 12 games, I told her the other night her leadership and maturity has been great and it's really leading our team in the right direction. We've lost some games, but in the end she knows it's about the wins and losses as much as where we're going to be in the end and how we're growing as a team."
Having known since last season that she would be asked to fill a leadership role, Johnson knew that she would have to become more vocal on the court. Off the court, however, she maintains a soft-spoken personality.
"I was a little skeptical going in," Johnson said, noting the Stallions had lost four starters from last season when they finished 17-8, won a Division II district championship and shared the CCL title with Watterson. "But we're really close. Our team is really close on and off the court. It's made my job easier leadership-wise."
A recent stretch without sophomore guard Jori Arnold, who missed a few games because of illness, was the latest instance of DeSales having to play short-handed.
"We haven't had one game with the team I thought we'd field, but we had one girl (junior forward Tessa Mulligan) get hurt the first day of practice and she hasn't been back yet," Cromwell said. "(Forward) Taylor Freeman stepped in as a sophomore and she only played about five games, maybe six, then she's been out ever since. We've been in and out. We've had some concussions, some ankles, some stress fractures. The next person has to step in and play. It is what it is."
Johnson has had offensive support from her teammates. Sophomore guard Carli Codner-Pinto was averaging a team-high 10.3 points through 13 games and junior guard Maggie Simon was averaging 6.5.
"I haven't had to do a lot of yelling and stuff like that," Johnson said. "They know what they're supposed to do."
DeSales, which won its first CCL title since 2006 a year ago, resumes league play Saturday, Jan. 26, at Ready. It defeated the Silver Knights 60-48 on Dec. 11 behind 22 points from Codner-Pinto and 14 from Simon.
The Stallions' hopes for a second consecutive CCL title might hinge on a Feb. 9 home game against Hartley. They lost to the Hawks 41-33 on Jan. 12.
Hockey team hits stretch run in CHC
The hockey team enters the final stretch of its Capital Hockey Conference schedule hoping to improve its standing in the White Division and recapture the spark that helped it win eight of its first 12 games.
The Stallions are third in the CHC-White at 4-6-1-1 (10 points), behind Olentangy Orange (10-1, 20 points) and St. Charles (7-3-0-1, 15) and ahead of Thomas Worthington (3-8-1, 7), and have four league games remaining.
The first of those four games is against Upper Arlington on Saturday, Jan. 26, at Chiller Dublin. The final three contests will be played Feb. 1-3 against Dublin Scioto, Olentangy and Olentangy Liberty.
Miltko pacing gymnastics team
Senior Kate Miltko of the gymnastics team had a standout day in the McGee Invitational on Jan. 12 at Dublin Coffman, recording an all-around score of 36.125 -- the highest in central Ohio this season.
Miltko won the balance beam (9.275) and was second in the floor exercise (9.2), third on the vault (9.1) and fourth on the uneven bars (8.55) to win the all-around title ahead of Coffman's Nicole Fusco (35.2).
Miltko followed that up performance by winning floor (9.4) and finishing third in the all-around (35.425) in the Wolfpack Invitational on Jan. 19 at Worthington Kilbourne.
DeSales plays host to its annual Sweeney-Smith Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 26. The Stallions won the meet last season, scoring 136.65 to edge runner-up Coffman (135.725).