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Girls team hindered by injuries

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Westland High School girls basketball coach Hugo Quint is not looking for any sympathy even though his team has been hit hard by injuries.

The Cougars were 5-9 overall and 3-5 in the OCC-Central Division before playing Marysville on Jan. 18.

"If we do (look for sympathy), then it's an excuse and I don't want us to have any excuses other than us being the ones who are not performing or not playing to our potential," Quint said.

It didn't take long for the injury bug to strike the Cougars, as junior forward Christina Simpson sustained a partially torn posterior cruciate ligament in her right knee during a 57-48 loss to Pickerington Central in the season opener Nov. 23. She missed six games before returning to score a season-high 22 points in a 52-50 loss to Olentangy Liberty on Dec. 21.

Simpson was injured again, however, as she dislocated the middle finger of her right hand -- her shooting hand -- in a 47-44 loss to Worthington Kilbourne on Jan. 15. She was expected to be re-evaluated late last week.

In eight games, Simpson was averaging a team-high 13.4 points.

Sophomore post player Hunter Kershaw was lost for the season after breaking her left leg in a 42-39 loss to Thomas Worthington on Dec. 14. She had averaged 9.7 points in six games before the injury.

Junior point guard Tanesha Dixon hasn't missed any games but has been playing through pain, as she hyper-extended her right knee and suffered a muscle contusion in her right quadriceps early in the season.

Last season, Simpson was special mention all-league and Dixon was honorable mention all-league. Both were honorable mention all-district in Division I.

"We don't want anyone to feel sorry for us," Dixon said. "We went out and played as hard as we could with the players that we do have. Regardless of Hunter being hurt, Christina just getting hurt and my injuries, we definitely try."

The injuries have provided an opportunity for other players to show what they can do.

Senior post player Megan Garbrandt has moved into the starting lineup in place of Kershaw and has provided valuable minutes, Quint said.

Even though freshman forward Camryn Moreno began the season as a starter, she now is being counted on to be a bigger contributor, particularly offensively. She scored a season-high 19 points against Kilbourne.

Westland trailed Kilbourne 14-3 after the first quarter but rallied to take a 23-21 lead into halftime. The Cougars held their largest lead at 29-24 with 2 minutes, 53 seconds left in the third quarter and led 32-31 after three quarters.

The Wolves outscored Westland 16-12 in the fourth quarter.

"The thing that I'm upset with the most is we didn't come out mentally ready to play and, at the end, we paid for it," Quint said.

In league action, Westland defeated Upper Arlington 39-36 on Jan. 8 behind 15 points from Simpson and 12 from Dixon and beat Central Crossing 34-31 on Jan. 11 behind 12 points from junior forward Rachelle Marcum.

Boys team again defeats Grove City

The boys basketball team won its second game over Grove City this season, defeating the Greyhounds 71-58 on Jan. 11 at Grove City.

Senior forward Devan Williamson led the Cougars with 19 points. Senior guard/forward J.J. Smith scored 17 points and senior guard Kersey Long scored 10.

Westland defeated host Grove City 92-81 in the championship game of the Tip-Off Classic on Dec. 1.

"Grove City is a very good, aggressive team," coach Todd Parker said. "We feel very fortunate to go into their home court twice this season and come away with wins. Despite Kersey not having his best game, Devan Williamson and (forward/guard) Jalen Brown stepped up and gave us the scoring and energy we needed."

Westland faces Dresden Tri-Valley in the Route 40 Classic on Monday, Jan. 21, at West Muskingum before resuming OCC-Central play Friday, Jan. 25, at home against Thomas Worthington.

The Cougars lost to the Cardinals 64-53 on Dec. 14.

"We really need to win the rematch with Thomas to stay in the league race," Parker said. "Last time they jumped out to an early lead and we had to chase their guards the rest of the way. This time we need to get the lead so we can control the game."

Wrestling team getting ready for state duals

The wrestling team will face host Grove City in the first round of the inaugural Division I state team tournament Wednesday, Jan. 23.

Westland is seeded fifth in Region 6-A of the dual-format tournament and Grove City is seeded fourth.

The winner faces top-seeded Hilliard Davidson or eighth-seeded Groveport in the second round Jan. 30 at a site to be announced. The regional semifinals will be held that same day at the same site.

Also in Region 6-A are Central Crossing, Columbus West, Franklin Heights and Upper Arlington.

The semifinal winner will face the Region 6-B champion in a regional final Feb. 6. Region 6-B consists of Lancaster, Gahanna, Mount Vernon, Pickerington Central, Pickerington North, Reynoldsburg, Teays Valley and Watkins Memorial.

The regional champion advances to a state quarterfinal Feb. 9.

"I'm looking forward to the state duals," coach Bret Busby said. "Grove City beat us in the finals of the Joe Stora Duals (53-31 on Dec. 8). They beat us pretty good. This is bragging rights. This is inner district. This is the same family. This is Grove City. I want my kids to fight hard. We're excited to wrestle Grove City. We respect Grove City."

Westland lost to Olentangy Liberty 53-14 and Dublin Coffman 53-18 on Jan. 10 and were 0-3 in the OCC-Central before competing against Davidson and Marysville on Jan. 17. The Cougars' next league dual is Jan. 31 against Central Crossing.

"Central Ohio wrestling is so dominating," Busby said. "The OCC division that (we're) in is so dominating. We know we may not win in the OCC, but our goal is not to get pinned. Our goal is to work as hard as we can and make the other teams say we want to wrestle Westland again."

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