The Westerville Central High School boys basketball team has enjoyed success since its inaugural season in 2003-04.

The Westerville Central High School boys basketball team has enjoyed success since its inaugural season in 2003-04.

However, the Warhawks are still looking for their first win over Westerville South. They are 0-12 against South, including 0-2 this season. The Wildcats won 52-50 on Jan. 20 and 70-68 on Dec. 6.

Before helping form Central's program in 2003, coach Todd Minney was an assistant coach at South for seven seasons under Ed Calo.

"The focus isn't on the past. The focus is on the future," Minney said. "When we walk into any gym, it's about our team, it's not about me. It's not about me walking back in and trying to relive something. It's about our guys coming and trying to get a victory, and we prepared the best we can to get it."

Calo remains close with Minney and understands if Minney is frustrated by the two close losses.

"You feel for him, especially when you think he had his people ready and they're out there and they put their hearts into it," Calo said. "This is a competitive business, but we all need to have some compassion. Certainly in the coaching profession, we understand what other people go through all the time. What those kids need to do is they just need to feel good about their effort and get ready to play the next game."

The Warhawks led for most of the latter contest before South rallied in the fourth quarter. Central held its largest lead at 34-24 after a 3-pointer by Eric James with 3 minutes, 35 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

South, however, went on a 15-4 run to take a 39-38 lead early in the fourth quarter and used a three-point play by Marcus Ball to take the lead for good at 42-40 with 4:32 remaining.

A three-point play by James trimmed Central's deficit to 47-46 with 2:04 left, but a three-point play by South's Trent Slade and two free throws by the Wildcats' Ellis Byers helped seal the outcome.

"One game doesn't define what we're still capable of doing," Minney said. "We're going to make some mistakes. We followed the game plan pretty well, minus some execution errors. The hearts are there. It's a matter of finishing. They're hurting and they should be."

Christian Graves, who has verbally committed to Malone University, led Central with 16 points before fouling out with 1:52 remaining. Tre Stennett added 14 points for the Warhawks.

"You have to play base defense, and you have to execute well on offense because their defense is very good," Stennett said when asked what are the keys to beating South. "You have to box out because they're a great rebounding team and a great defensive team. We have to move on from this one. We'll bounce back."

Central was 6-7 overall and 3-5 in the OCC-Cardinal Division before playing Westerville North on Jan. 24. The Warhawks will visit Marysville on Friday, Jan. 27. They defeated the Monarchs 69-49 on Dec. 3, but Minney realizes his team will be facing an improving Marysville squad.

"Marysville is playing really well," Minney said. "(Steven) Romesburg has really helped them. Their press is solid and they're doing a real nice job with their zone."

•The girls team was 0-14 overall and 0-9 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing North on Jan. 24.

Central lost to South 46-17 on Jan. 20. Megan Mills led the Warhawks with 10 points and eight rebounds.

"We fought well during the first half of the game. Then we lost the third quarter once again," coach Jamiya Pride said. "We have to put together four complete quarters of fundamental basketball to have a chance at winning. We have shown that we have what it takes to win. We just haven't been able to put it all together for four quarters. We will continue to fight hard and give everything we have."

The Warhawks play host to Marysville on Friday, Jan. 27. Marysville defeated Central 41-35 on Dec. 16.