It might work out better for the DeSales High School boys basketball team that the Hartley and Watterson football teams won state championships, delaying the start of those schools' basketball seasons.

It might work out better for the DeSales High School boys basketball team that the Hartley and Watterson football teams won state championships, delaying the start of those schools' basketball seasons.

After beating Ready 60-40 last Friday in their CCL opener, the Stallions don't have another league game until Jan. 7 at home against Hartley. It's time they can use to jell.

"We're a little bit up and down," coach Blair Albright said Dec. 15, two days before the Ready game. "We're still trying to come together as a group. There's just a lot that is new. There's been a lot of positive, but it's going to be a process."

Before playing Ready, the Stallions' previous game was a 66-53 loss to Pickerington North. DeSales came out slow, trailing 20-8 after the first quarter and 41-20 at halftime.

This is a different type of season for the Stallions. Albright took over in 2005-06, and this is the first year since that DeSales entered a season without a player who had more than one year of regular varsity experience.

When the season started, the Stallions were seeking chemistry and leadership. With the majority of the CCL season being pushed back until after Jan. 1, DeSales has time to build that chemistry and find that leadership before the next league game.

Following the Ready game, DeSales entered what Albright said was always one of the most critical portions of the season — the holiday break. The Stallions built their chemistry last year through competition in Orlando, Fla. They're staying in Ohio this season, traveling to the Cincinnati Hughes Holiday Tournament.

After the Stallions return from Cincinnati, they will have a little more than a week to prepare for Hartley. Even though the Stallions have won five consecutive league championships, many CCL coaches, including Albright, have said Hartley might be the team to beat.

"The fact that we've won it five years in a row, I think that makes us one of the contenders," Albright said. "As far as a team to beat, I personally think Hartley deserves a mention. They have the most guys back that have played a significant role."

The Stallions have gone 48-2 in winning the past five CCL titles. They were 10-0 last year to finish ahead of Hartley (7-3), Watterson (6-4), Ready (5-5), St. Charles (1-9) and Worthington Christian (1-9).

Hartley returned four starters, but is looking for a new point guard. The Hawks were 15-9 last year.

Watterson returns two players in Brad McCurdy and Connor Geraghty to a team that was 17-7 and won a Division II district championship last season. The Eagles usually are a factor because of their style of play, but that trademark grind-it-out tempo could change this season. With less height than past years, the Eagles are looking to speed it up this season.

St. Charles, which was 7-14 last year, still has post player Dane McGloughlin, who averaged 17.4 points last season. The Cardinals also added Jourdan Wickliffe, who missed last season with an injury.

Worthington Christian, which handed DeSales both of its CCL losses the past five seasons, is no longer in the league.

•The gymnastics team returns six athletes who competed at least season's state meet.

With that type of experience, coach Misty Lloyd-Matthews expects another successful season.

"By the time you get to the sophomore and junior year, you know how to handle the pressure better," Lloyd-Matthews said.

DeSales scored 134.85 points last year at state to tie Mason for seventh behind champion Brecksville-Broadview Heights (148.05).

Returning from that team are seniors Alana Balzano and Geena Reinitz, juniors Laura Hay and Katie Vance and sophomores Paige Portale and Kate Miltko. Lloyd-Matthews said this season is big for the sophomores.

"Going into sophomore year they don't always progress just because of the nature of the sport," Lloyd-Matthews said. "It gets harder. We have a month and a half to put routines together and go. I think by the end of that time we'll have gotten to know them."

The Stallions scored 135.325 points to win the district championship last season ahead of runner-up Thomas Worthington (133.375). Vance won the district title on floor exercise (9.125). Miltko was second on vault (9.025) and runner-up in the all-around (35.325) to Alexandra Clay of Olentangy Liberty (35.350).

Also on the team are sophomores Jenna Ricker and Megan Wanner and freshman Allison Iwaszkiewicz.

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the DeSales boys basketball, girls basketball, gymnastics, hockey, swimming and diving, and wrestling teams:

BOYS BASKETBALL

*Last Friday — Defeated Ready 60-40 in CCL opener. Kenny Cooper scored 15 points and Sam Borghese scored 14.

Last Tuesday — Played Zanesville Rosecrans

Wednesday-Dec. 30 — West Chester Lakota West at Cincinnati Hughes Holiday Classic. The Stallions will play Hughes or Cincinnati Clark Montessori in the consolation or championship game.

*Jan. 7 — Home vs. Hartley

Of note: The Stallions were 3-1 overall before last Tuesday.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Dec. 15 — Def. North Union 55-52. Miranda Johnson and Amanda Herron scored 12 points each.

*Last Saturday — Lost to Watterson 54-50. Tyler Craig scored 15 points and Maddie Lockhart scored 11.

Monday — Home vs. Dublin Scioto

Of note: The Stallions are 2-3 overall and 1-1 in the CCL.

*CCL game

GYMNASTICS

Last Saturday — Finished first (131.575) at Hilliard Invitational ahead of runner-up Thomas Worthington (129.925)

Jan. 15 — McGee Invitational at Dublin Coffman

HOCKEY

Nov. 26 — Def. Worthington Kilbourne 4-2 in opener; def. Cincinnati Elder 6-1

Nov. 27 — Lost to Oregon Clay 5-2

Nov. 28 — Def. Whitehouse Anthony Wayne 6-1

Dec. 3 — Lost to Beavercreek 7-3

Dec. 4 — Lost to St. Charles 8-1

Dec. 5 — Def. Troy 5-3

Dec. 9 — Def. Dublin Scioto 9-1

Dec. 10 — Def. Northeast Storm 5-1

Dec. 11 — Lost to Cincinnati St. Xavier 10-2

*Last Saturday — Lost to Olentangy Orange 5-1 in CHC opener

*Jan. 1 — Dublin Jerome at Chiller Dublin

*Capital Hockey Conference game

SWIMMING & DIVING

Last Friday — Boys: Lost to Olentangy Liberty 108-58; Girls: Lost to Liberty 107-62

Jan. 7 — Dublin Coffman at Dublin Recreation Center

WRESTLING

Last Saturday — Finished 12th (52) at Pickerington North Panther Invitational, behind champion Bedford Chanel (282.5)

Wednesday-Dec. 30 — Brecksville Holiday Tournament at Brecksville-Broadview Heights

Gymnastics Schedule

Dec. 18 — Hilliard Invitational at Hilliard Bradley

Jan. 15 — McGee Invitational at Dublin Coffman

Jan. 21 — Worthington Invitational at Worthington Kilbourne

Jan. 29 — Brecksville-Broadview Heights Invitational

Feb. 4 — Sweeney Invitational at home