Just when it appeared as though the Westerville Central High School girls basketball team was moving forward, it took a step back.
The Warhawks lost back-to-back games last weekend after winning five consecutive contests. They lost to Dublin Scioto 51-48 in an OCC-Cardinal Division game Jan. 18 and lost to Worth- ington Christian 36-26 on Jan. 19.
Coach Jamiya Pride was hoping his team would bounce back against Central Crossing on Jan. 22. The Warhawks entered the game 6-10 overall.
"We don't have certain things that we need at the time we need them," he said. "We're not consistent. We haven't been consistent for four quarters. We're slow in the first quarters for all our games and we usually try to find a defensive spark somewhere."
After finishing 0-21 last season and losing their first six games this season, the Warhawks defeated Worthington Kilbourne 43-39 on Dec. 14 to post their first win under Pride, who is in his second season.
Central's winning streak included league wins over Westerville South (36-34 on Jan. 5), Hilliard Darby (43-29 on Jan. 8) and Dublin Jerome (39-37 on Jan. 11).
Pride has emphasized defense to his players since taking over the program, and he credited that aspect as being a key to the team's recent success.
Against Scioto, senior guard/forward Megan Mills returned to the lineup after missing eight games with a fractured left wrist and scored 12 points. Guard Andrea Hodge had 16 points to lead Central, which had lost to the Irish 47-28 on Dec. 7.
Against Worthington Christian, the Warhawks struggled offensively, making just five of 42 shots (11.9 percent) from the field and converting 12 of 24 free throws, including going 0-for-5 in the fourth quarter.
"You can't win when you don't score," Pride said. "We don't rebound well, but we were competitive. We still were in the game (trailing 21-20 in the third quarter), a low-scoring game. We try to keep it low-scoring when we're not doing well."
Mills had seven points to lead the Warhawks, who trailed by as many as 12 points in the fourth quarter.
"We didn't seem to have the confidence after losing (to Scioto)," senior guard Kelsey Merriam said. "We just need to work harder."
Pride is hoping to have senior forward Maggie Sabo back in the lineup soon. She hasn't played since injuring her left ankle during a 41-37 loss to Hartley on Dec. 15.
Boys team falls to Scioto, Newark
The boys team entered its game against Gahanna on Jan. 22 looking to end a two-game skid.
After posting three consecutive wins, the Warhawks lost to Scioto 59-40 on Jan. 18 and Newark 45-36 on Jan. 19.
Against Scioto, Central led 20-9 after the first quarter, but the Irish went on a 19-1 run in the second half, outscoring the Warhawks 39-12 in the final two quarters.
Junior post player Kwamel Wade led Central with 10 points.
"We played a very good first half versus Scioto," coach Todd Minney said. "I was pleased with how our defense played. Offensively, we shared the ball and knocked down shots that we were confident in and wanted from our sets.
"The second half was a completely different game. There was a change in how the game was played and allowed to be played. I was very disappointed."
Wade had a team-high 12 points against Newark, which led 23-12 at halftime.
"As a team, we have started working together much better," Minney said. "Still, we must get more out of our post and cut back on our turnovers. They have really cost us lots of possessions where easy baskets have turned into counter giveaways and scores."