The Westerville South High School girls basketball team felt good about the offensive production of guards Katherine Calo and Shanaé Ash and its overall play after beating Westerville Central 53-43 last Saturday.

The Westerville South High School girls basketball team felt good about the offensive production of guards Katherine Calo and Shanaé Ash and its overall play after beating Westerville Central 53-43 last Saturday.

For awhile it appeared South might have taken a step back from last season as the offense struggled to find a rhythm. The low point was a 47-40 loss to New Albany on Dec. 16, four days after falling to Dublin Scioto 55-39.

The Wildcats led New Albany 24-19 at halftime, but the offense struggled in the second half and South struggled from the free-throw line.

That game was a distant memory last Saturday as the Wildcats won their seventh consecutive game to improve to 9-4 overall and 7-2 in the OCC-Cardinal Division.

"I think we just bonded as a team more (since the New Albany game)," Ash said.

The Wildcats were looking for Ash to be the team's primary option offensively this season, but she struggled early with her shooting.

Coach Jeff Brenning said the team was getting good looks at the basket, but the shots just weren't falling in the rough start.

Ash, who had 14 points against Central after scoring 22 when the Wildcats beat Olentangy Liberty 59-44 on Jan. 16, has started to make those shots. She had three 3-pointers against Liberty.

Ash still is viewing her offense as a work in progress even though her production has increased.

"I'm just all right with it," Ash said of her recent play. "Not all of it, but some."

Coinciding with Ash's improved production has been Calo's increasingly aggressive play. Calo had 17 points against Central and several of those points came with her in the post.

She also had four steals, three rebounds and a block. Calo credited her team's focus for the turnaround, but did offer one source of personal motivation.

"It's definitely the whole senior thing," Calo said.

Central coach Doug Etgen said he noticed a big difference in Calo since South beat Central 46-39 on Dec. 10. Calo scored six points in the first meeting.

"South is playing so much better than they were earlier in the year," Etgen said. "Their point guard, she's been scoring so much more."

Brenning began to notice a change in Calo's play Dec. 22 during a 57-40 win over Marysville when she scored 14 points.

"Since (the Marysville game) she's been very aggressive," Brenning said.

The Wildcats will need her aggressiveness Friday against Dublin Jerome, which has improved significantly in the second year under coach Matt Martin. Jerome was a combined 6-36 overall and 0-20 in the OCC-Cardinal the past two seasons.

But before playing Liberty last Tuesday, the Celtics were 7-6 overall and 6-3 in the league, trailing South by one game.

The Celtics are led in scoring by guard Julie Mooney (9.9 per game) and forward Jamelia Banks (7.1). South held Mooney to seven points and Banks to five in the first meeting Dec. 19, as South won 37-27. The Wildcats limited Jerome to nine points in the first half.

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the South boys and girls basketball teams:

BOYS

Jan. 20 -- Defeated Watterson 45-40 (OT). Traevon Jackson scored 14 points.

*Last Friday -- Def. Central 67-52. Jason Davis scored 14 points and Jackson had 11.

*Last Tuesday -- Played Dublin Scioto

*Friday -- Home vs. Dublin Jerome. South won 60-41 on Dec. 19. The Celtics were 3-9 overall and 2-6 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Olentangy last Tuesday.

*Tuesday -- At Marysville. South won 58-39 on Dec. 22. The Monarchs were 2-10 overall and 0-8 in the league before playing Olentangy Liberty last Tuesday.

Of note: The Wildcats were 10-3 overall and 7-1 in the OCC-Cardinal before last Tuesday.

GIRLS

*Last Saturday -- Def. Central 53-43. Katherine Calo scored 17 points and Shanaé Ash had 14.

*Last Tuesday -- Played Scioto

*Friday -- At Jerome. The Wildcats won 37-27 on Dec. 19. The Celtics were 7-6 overall and 6-3 in the league before playing Olentangy Liberty last Tuesday.

*Tuesday -- Home vs. Marysville. South won 57-40 on Dec. 22. The Monarchs were 4-10 overall and 2-7 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Olentangy last Tuesday.

Of note: The Wildcats were 9-4 overall and 7-2 in the OCC-Cardinal before last Tuesday.

*OCC-Cardinal game