After 25 consecutive OCC-Cardinal Division victories, the Westerville North High School girls basketball team isn't about to get caught up in the numbers.
The Warriors know the streak could end at any time, especially when they face a rival like Westerville South on Friday, Jan. 10, at South.
North was 6-4 overall before playing Watterson on Jan. 8 and is 5-0 in the OCC-Cardinal.
South had won seven of its last nine games and was 7-5 overall and 4-2 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Dublin Jerome on Jan. 8.
The Warriors saw the return of senior guard Kelsey Walker in a 47-38 league victory Jan. 3 over Hilliard Bradley. She missed the first nine games with a knee injury, but returned to score six of her seven points in the first quarter and grab nine rebounds.
"You see the game differently when you sit on the bench and watch the game," said Walker, who averaged 8.7 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.3 assists last season and was the team's top 3-point shooter, making 42 of 112 (37.5 percent). "You see a different perspective and see where you should fit in.
"Even though we might have won our 25th consecutive league game, that doesn't matter. We want to be the best team in the league, so we have to focus on one game at a time, that's for sure."
Anna Gibbs led North against Bradley with 12 points and three assists, and Symone Simmons had seven points and eight rebounds. Hannah Ferguson had seven points and three assists, and Tierra Streater and Ronni Royer had six points apiece.
"We're happy with the way the team is coming together," coach Jim Kloepfer said. "Bradley is a good team that can really cause matchup problems. We were able to hold off a good team."
South lost to North 60-36 on Nov. 29, but coach Silas Williams said his Wildcats are a much different team now.
"We started with eight new players who needed to work on their chemistry and we had to get them working together," Williams said. "I told the girls in the beginning of the season that we had the beginnings of a pretty good basketball team. ... They just needed to work and figure things out."
On Jan. 4, South defeated Westerville Central 55-43 as Chanelle Moore scored 20 points and Jada Smoot and Camille McLellan both added 11.
Moore scored 16 points and Smoot added 12 in a 52-28 league win over Hilliard Darby on Dec. 20. The Wildcats then defeated Dublin Scioto 59-35 in a league game Dec. 23 as Moore scored 30, McLellan had 12 and Cheyenne Raker added 11.
On Dec. 27, Moore scored 28 points and Raker and Smoot both added 14 in a 60-52 league win over Canal Winchester.
South lost to New Albany 62-33 on Dec. 28 as Raker scored 11 points and Moore had 10.
"We're moving the basketball well and playing as a team and things are coming into focus," Williams said. "We are playing with one common goal and it makes coaching easy when the girls are all on the same page."
North defeated Central 40-32 on Dec. 20 as Ferguson and Simmons both scored 12 points and Gibbs added nine.
Gibbs scored 16 points with four 3-pointers to lead the Warriors past Dublin Coffman 61-58 on Dec. 30. Simmons had 12 points, Ferguson had 11 and Streater scored 10.
"Because we lost four games early in the season, a lot of people probably didn't think we could beat a team of that caliber," Gibbs said of Coffman. "We were able to get out on their shooters and we had good communication on defense. We really played well together, especially defensively."
Central loses five consecutive games
Central was 4-6 overall and 3-3 in the OCC-Cardinal and had lost five games in a row before playing Darby on Jan. 8.
In their loss to South, Morghan Hyatt scored 18 points, Andrea Hodge had 10 and Imani Steele added nine.
Central lost a pair of games in the Cincinnati Summit Country Day Tournament, including to Carnegie (Pa.) Carlynton 44-40 in the opening round Dec. 27.
In the consolation game Dec. 28, Halle Kramer scored 15 points, all on 3-pointers, in a 48-37 loss to Summit Country Day. Hodge had eight points and Hyatt and Steele both scored six.
Hodge scored 10 points, Kramer had eight and Emma Stille added seven in Central's loss to North.
On Dec. 16, the Warhawks lost to Hartley 43-34 as Hodge had 16 points.