When Brookhaven High School senior Ronnie Williams begins attending college next year at Ohio Dominican University, he hopes it will be the first step in reaching his goal of becoming a broadcaster.
In the meantime, he is focused on helping the Bearcats build one of central Ohio's deepest boys basketball teams.
Led by Williams, who has signed to play at ODU, Brookhaven was 4-1 overall and 3-0 in the City League-North Division before playing Columbus International on Dec. 20.
He made four 3-pointers and had 25 points in a 91-59 win over Beechcroft on Dec. 17.
"We've still got to work on our rebounding, but as a team we're coming together," said the 6-foot-3 Williams, who spends most of his time at shooting guard and small forward. "I'm trying to get the juniors on the same page."
Williams, who has a 3.8 GPA, said among his personal goals is to follow in the footsteps of college basketball broadcaster Clark Kellogg.
Although he lives on the east side of Columbus, Williams enrolled at Brookhaven as a freshman in part so that he could play with his cousin, 2011 graduate and former Bearcats starting point guard Devon Montgomery.
According to coach Hali Robinson, Williams and juniors Shadrick Kimble and J-Saun Davis have been among the biggest reasons for the Bearcats' strong start.
Brookhaven plays Massillon Perry on Friday, Dec. 27, and host Berlin Hiland on Saturday, Dec. 28, in the First Federal Holiday Showcase and then gets another shot at defending Division II state champion Watterson on Jan. 4.
Last season, Brookhaven lost to Watterson 59-56 in the regular season and 56-52 in overtime in a district final.
"The reality of it is that each contest greatly enhances our chemistry," Robinson said. "Ronnie Williams is really pushing the guys, along with J-Saun Davis."
Ward leaving Cougars to coach at Gahanna
After leading the Beechcroft football team to a 37-14 record that included two Division II playoff appearances in five seasons, Bruce Ward was named the coach at Gahanna on Dec. 17.
Ward, who has two children in the Gahanna school district, informed his players the night before.
"Any time you end a relationship, it's tough," Ward said. "I've spent the last 13 years there and I've always looked at it as part of a family. I was only the third head coach in school history (after Andy Powell and Tom Dunlap). ... Just leaving those kids is the toughest part. Thirteen years is a long time. As far as job for job, no disrespect, but it's a better situation (at Gahanna) from a football standpoint."
This fall, Beechcroft went 6-4 overall and had a three-run of winning at least a share of the City-North title snapped as it tied Northland for second (5-2) behind Brookhaven (6-1). The Cougars closed the regular season with a 17-14 win over Northland but settled for 10th in the Division III, Region 9 computer ratings, two spots from the playoffs.
Ward said he hopes Brian Miller, who has been a Beechcroft assistant and coached Mifflin to a 24-46 mark from 2003-09, will be a candidate to take over.
Vikings boys bounce back from loss
After winning its first 28 games last season before losing in a Division I state semifinal, the Northland boys basketball team lost its opener 67-55 to Dayton Thurgood Marshall on Dec. 7 in the Clark Kellogg Tipoff Classic at Ohio Dominican. It served as a wakeup call for the Vikings, who won their next three in blowouts and were 3-1 overall and 3-0 in the City-North before playing Beechcroft on Dec. 20.
Northland next will play Thursday, Dec. 26, through Tuesday, Dec. 31, in the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
"We only lost one player from last year (2013 graduate Armani Towns) but that loss was a huge loss because he brought us toughness and a refusal to lose," coach Sean Taylor said. "(The loss to Thurgood Marshall) was good for us. We thought we could put on our Northland jersey and it was just going to happen. ... We're going to keep on grinding."
On Dec. 17, the Vikings blew past Whetstone 110-35 as five players scored in double figures. Ty Hairston (18 points), Jaylen Tucker (17) and Derek McKeithen (16) led the way for Northland, which led 54-20 at halftime and outscored the Braves 30-5 in the third quarter.
Bonner leading Bearcats wrestlers
Junior Giovaughni Bonner is the top returnee for the Brookhaven wrestling team after being a Division II district qualifier a year ago at 106 pounds.
Bonner, who is at 113 this season but could eventually drop back to 106, is among the most experienced wrestlers for ninth-year coach Steve Ayers.
"We've got some veterans returning, but we're just young," Ayers said. "We're just trying to get better week to week."
Bonner, who went 1-2 at district to finish 32-12 a year ago, is joined in the junior class by returnees Trevette Knight (160) and Steven Pelletier (220). Senior Justin Baker (heavyweight) and sophomore Josh Thornton (126) also competed at sectional last year. Senior Miguel Hawkins (152) is another looking to contribute.
Bonner's brother, 2013 graduate Jalen Bonner, was a district qualifier at 152 last season. Senior Keandre Powell was a district qualifier at 145 last season, but is not back with the team.