Andrea Grassbaugh of the DeSales High School girls basketball team jokes that she might have "the ugliest shot in central Ohio."
The 5-foot-3 junior guard shoots toward the basket with a quick flick of the right wrist and little, if any, follow-through. But as long as she continues to score, Grassbaugh and her teammates don't care about the means to the end.
Grassbaugh has scored 84 of her 103 points this season on 3-pointers and 33 of her last 36 points have come from outside the arc, helping the Stallions to a 14-5 overall record and a 5-2 mark in the CCL and placing them on the cusp of the outright league championship.
"People say it's an ugly shot and that's completely true," Grassbaugh said. "It's really quick and it goes in. I don't follow through, and I don't know how it goes in. The ball pretty much spins sideways."
Grassbaugh had some trouble describing her shooting motion, even as she acted it out after a 52-45 league loss to Ready on Jan. 30 in which she hit four 3s to help DeSales rally from an early 18-point deficit.
"I put my right elbow out completely, and you're supposed to keep it in, I think," she said. "I threw up the ball when I was little and never changed (my form). My motion comes from my right shoulder and I launch it.
"Everybody has their individual jobs they have to carry out. This has been mine since freshman year."
Coach Brian Cromwell has no complaints, calling Grassbaugh the team's best shooter and knowing she can spark a turnaround with a flick of her wrist.
"It's one of the most unorthodox shots you'll ever see," Cromwell said. "But if you're going to be consistent in something you do all the time, you'll get pretty good at it, and that's what she's done. She's our best shooter. She has a quick release, and she's perfected a pretty funny-looking shot."
DeSales could use a quick start in its CCL game Thursday, Feb. 6, at Watterson. The Stallions defeated the Eagles 42-37 on Jan. 4.
The Stallions stumbled out of the gate twice last week, falling behind 25-6 in the first quarter at Zanesville Rosecrans on Jan. 27 en route to a 73-50 loss and watching Ready reel off an 18-0 run spanning the first and second quarters to take a 20-2 lead.
DeSales pulled within four points of the Silver Knights twice in the second half but couldn't get closer.
"We've talked for a while now that if we don't play four quarters, it's going to bite us in a big game," Cromwell said. "We've been able to overcome it in other games, even games we've won. We have to be consistent. We have to be fundamentally sound. We turned the ball over way too much (against Ready) and gave up way too many rebounds early on. When we're not consistent, that's going to be a big problem."
DeSales ended its first meeting with Watterson on a 30-11 run, including an 18-5 advantage in the fourth quarter.
A loss to Watterson could cost DeSales any piece of the CCL title. Watterson is 4-2 in the league, ahead of Hartley (4-3) and Ready (3-3). Watterson plays Columbus School for Girls, which is 0-6 in the CCL, on Saturday, Feb. 8.
The Stallions earned the 15th seed in the Division I district tournament and will play host to 24th-seeded Worthington Kilbourne in the first round Feb. 17.
"Our goals are still intact," Cromwell said. "That's all you can ask for at the end of the season."
Hockey team surges toward CBJ Cup
After a 1-5-1 stretch in mid-January, the hockey team won two games this past weekend and clinched a berth in the Blue Jackets Cup.
DeSales is 16-13-1 overall and finished 8-8 (16 points) in the Capital Hockey Conference-White Division to place third, behind St. Charles (26, 13-2 before Feb. 3) and Upper Arlington (23, 10-3-2-1).
The top three teams in the White Division, the top four teams in the CHC-Red and the CHC-Blue champion qualified for the Blue Jackets Cup, which runs Thursday, Feb. 6, through Sunday, Feb. 9.
DeSales is seeded seventh and will play second-seeded Dublin Jerome on Feb. 6 at a site to be determined. Sites and the full bracket were not available before press time.
The Stallions went 0-2 against Jerome during the regular season, losing 4-1 on Nov. 29 in the Midwest Thanksgiving Classic and 5-3 in a CHC game Jan. 5.
DeSales had 78 shots on goal in a 9-1 league win over Dublin Scioto on Jan. 31 and defeated Olentangy 7-3 in league play Feb. 1. Justin Antoncic had three goals against Olentangy and Tyler Klutch scored two against both Scioto and Olentangy.
DeSales lost to Olentangy Liberty 5-1 on Feb. 2 in its regular-season finale.
"Our main strategy has just been to shoot the puck well and get a lot of shots and rebounds," Antoncic said. "We've renewed our focus on aggressive play. We're just going for it. We have to do what we did this (past) weekend. We know we can handle our business."
Boys bowling team closes in on title
Two weather-related postponements last week meant the boys bowling team had to wait until this week to attempt to clinch the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-Central Division.
DeSales was 12-0 overall and in the league before competing against Whetstone on Feb. 4. The match was a makeup from Jan. 28.
The Stallions will close the regular season against Ready on Thursday, Feb. 6, at Capri Lanes in a match that had been scheduled for Jan. 29.
Entering the week, DeSales was a game ahead of second-place Columbus Academy (11-1) and a game and a half ahead of third-place St. Charles (11-2). The Stallions defeated Academy 2,064 to 1,922 on Jan. 22.
The girls team also entered the week with a chance to win the COHSBC-Central, as it was tied for second with Northland at 9-1, behind first-place Ready at 8-0.
The Stallions lost to Northland 1,841 to 1,438 on Jan. 23.
Carfagna wins CCL title in wrestling
Domenic Carfagna led the wrestling team in the CCL meet Feb. 1 at St. Charles, winning the championship at 106 pounds.
Carfagna defeated Hartley's Connor Cunningham in the final to lead nine Stallions who placed in the top three.
Codi Littler placed second at 113, losing to Hartley's Kristopher Hill in the final, and James Prater lost to Hartley's Jared Croswell in the final at 220. Adam Acquista (152), Cameron Cua (126), Brian Dytko (220), Collin Golden (120), Jake Mulligan (138) and Nick Myers (145) all placed third and Conner Cua (132) was fourth.
DeSales scored 166 points to finish fourth behind Hartley (307), St. Charles (187) and Ready (179) and ahead of Watterson (114).