Olentangy High School girls basketball coach John Feasel believes the Lady Panther Holiday Classic at Pickerington North provided his team an assessment of its talent with the bulk of its league schedule still to be played.
But Feasel and the Braves sought better than a 1-2 record in the three-day, eight-team tournament.
Olentangy opened with a 67-50 loss to eventual champion Centerville on Dec. 27. It bounced back to defeat Northland 58-46 on Dec. 28 but lost to Fairborn 47-41 on Dec. 29 in the fifth-place game.
The Braves led Fairborn 30-19 at halftime but were outscored 28-11 in the second half and outrebounded 34-24 for the game, including 15-5 on the offensive end.
"They're a good team and they came out and got stiffer on defense and we didn't," said Feasel, whose team fell to 8-3. "We didn't have very good help (defensively) and good rotations or stand up and take a charge. When you're playing good players, you have to step up to their defensive pressure and we didn't do that."
Senior forward Megan Beidelman had 10 points and freshman forward Kelly Meade scored nine against Fairborn. Beidelman, who had 11 points against Centerville and 10 against Northland, earned a spot on the all-tournament team.
Also on the all-tournament team were Centerville's Alex Henning, Bethany Krause and Madison Rittinger, Fairborn's Alexis Gassion and Dominique Redman, Mt. Lebanon (Pa.) Seton-LaSalle Catholic's Naje Gibson, Natalie Piagessi and Cassidy Walsh, Northland's Alexis Peterson, Philadelphia Archbishop Ryan's Kalene Coffey and Pickerington North's Christy Macioce and Emily Thomas.
"We played some good teams and I think we played well, but I think we have little things to work on and polish up," Meade said. "We very well could have beaten all three of these teams. We needed to get a few more rebounds. We need to get to those 50/50 loose balls. Those need to be ours. To beat those teams, that's what we have to do."
The Braves hope to receive a boost from the return of senior point guard Brooke Zwayer, who missed the first seven games recovering from knee surgery. The Malone University signee made her season debut in a 42-20 win over New Albany on Dec. 21, and Feasel gradually has increased her minutes since.
"She's getting there," Feasel said. "She's not there yet by any means, and she's not as good as she's going to be later in the year. We just have to get her minutes and try not to tax her too much."
The Braves are 4-1 in the OCC-Capital Division and return to league play Friday, Jan. 4, at Watkins Memorial. Their only league setback was a 57-52 loss to Orange on Dec. 15.
Patriots prepping for Davidson
Liberty bounced back from losses to Olentangy (58-47 on Dec. 11) and Upper Arlington (47-32 on Dec. 1) by beating OCC-Central foes Marysville (63-46 on Dec. 18) and Westland (52-50 on Dec. 21).
The Patriots, who competed in a KSA Holiday Tournament held Dec. 28, 29 and 31 in Orlando, Fla., return to league play Friday, Jan. 4, against league-leader Hilliard Davidson. Davidson is 5-0 in the OCC-Central, including a 36-28 win over UA on Dec. 21.
Liberty opened the KSA Holiday Tournament with a 57-28 win over Chatham (Ontario) John McGregor on Dec. 28. Kennedy Wilke led the Patriots with 22 points, including a program-record six 3-pointers.
Falcons, Nubians next for Pioneers
Orange improved to 8-1 with a 60-50 win over Kitchener (Ontario) St. Mary's in the Braggin' Rights Classic on Dec. 28 at Cincinnati Walnut Hills.
The Pioneers beat Walnut Hills 51-38 in the event Dec. 27, as Taylor Agler and Mya Walker each scored 15 points.
Orange is 5-0 in the OCC-Capital heading into its home game Friday, Jan. 4, against Franklin Heights.
The Pioneers then travel to play defending Division III state champion Africentric on Saturday, Jan. 5.