Although his Whitehall-Yearling High School boys bowling team entered its match against Columbus South on Dec. 20 undefeated, coach Tavi Netotian believed his players had yet to reach their potential.
The Rams were 4-0 overall and in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-South Division. They were contending with Teays Valley (6-0) and Briggs (5-0) for first place, but Netotian was looking for more consistency.
"I wish we were a little bit better, but they're starting to get it," he said.
"They were too relaxed. We haven't been bowling well at all, but I like where we're at. Their attitudes were really good (Dec. 17 against Walnut Ridge). It was something that I was looking for and they're starting to settle in now."
The Rams defeated the Scots 2,257-2,000 at Eastland Lanes. Noah Wiley led Whitehall with a 412 series, followed by Andrew Sturgill (368), Paul Gress (359), Austin Wilson (348) and Matthew Ebbesen (307).
The Rams have received a balanced effort, as evidenced by their 2,125-1,737 win over Grandview on Dec. 13 at Holiday Lanes. Ebbesen, who was the low scorer against Walnut Ridge, led Whitehall with a 385 series and was followed by Wiley (369), Gress (359), Sturgill (347) and Wilson (340).
Through 11 games, Gress led the Rams with a 188 average.
Whitehall will compete against Independence on Jan. 7 at Eastland Lanes in preparation for key matches against Briggs on Jan. 15 at Columbus Western Bowl and Teays Valley on Jan. 17 at Holiday Lanes.
Last season, Whitehall won the league title at 12-1 and Teays Valley was second at 10-1.
"Our next big test will be Teays Valley after the first of the year," Netotian said. "They are bowling really outstanding."
The girls team was 4-0 overall and in the COHSBC-South before facing South, and coach Jess Biller was pleased with the improvement.
"We continue to progress," Biller said. "After every match we get a little bit stronger, so I'm happy that we're getting better."
The Rams defeated Walnut Ridge 1,590-1,285. Taylor-Jo Morton led Whitehall with a 307 series, followed by Taylor Deskins (277), Ashley Ford (246), Erin Brown (242) and Savana Carrier (223).
Carrier was bowling in place of freshman Kaleigh Straits, who had another commitment.
Through nine games, Morton led Whitehall with a 172 average.
"The season is going really well," Deskins said. "We have a really good looking team this year. We just got a new freshman (Straits). She's really good. She is amazing, so adding her to the team did us good."
Entering play Jan. 20, Reynoldsburg (5-0), Briggs (4-0) and Eastmoor Academy (4-0) also were undefeated in the league.
Boys basketball team defeats London
The boys basketball team continued its strong start under first-year coach Drew Williams, defeating London 88-66 on Dec. 17 at home.
The Rams won each of their first five games by double-digit margins. They were 5-0 overall and 4-0 in the MSL-Ohio before playing West Jefferson on Dec. 21.
Against London, Whitehall led 51-29 halftime. R.J. Mims led the Rams with 21 points, followed by Antoine Vaughn with 18 and Terronte Hutchins with 15.
"It was a good win," Williams said. "I really wasn't pleased with our defensive effort in spurts, but in some spurts we were really good and in some spurts we were really bad, so we worked on that (in practice Dec. 18). All in all, it was a quality win. I really enjoyed the ball movement. It was good basketball at times."
The Rams compete Friday, Dec. 27, and Saturday, Dec. 28, in the Newt Oliver Classic at Byesville Meadowbrook. Whitehall plays Harvest Prep in the first round, with Caldwell and Meadowbrook meeting in the other first-round game.
Harvest Prep was 7-1 before playing Berne Union on Dec. 21, with the loss coming against Newark Catholic 76-75 in double overtime Dec. 16.
"We have a long way to go," Williams said. "We're learning to trust each other. They're learning the concept of shooting the ball. It goes in spurts. To beat some really quality, tough teams that we have coming up we have to be able to put four quality quarters together. Against London we put together about two and a half to three, but we need four."
Girls basketball team loses to East
The girls basketball team was 0-7 overall and 0-3 in the MSL-Ohio before playing Bexley on Dec. 20.
The Rams lost at Columbus East 32-20 on Dec. 17 after being held to six points in the second half.
Sophomore guard Elizabeth Harris, who was promoted from junior varsity, led the Rams with nine points.
Despite the disappointing start, coach Stephanie Jones believes the Rams are making progress.
"The girls are improving every day and it shows in their level of game play," Jones said.
"We are working to put together four solid quarters of basketball and not just a half of basketball."
Wrestling team to compete in Canton
The wrestling team will compete in the 13-team Canton City Schools Invitational on Saturday, Dec. 28, at Canton Timken.
The Rams, who faced Upper Arlington on Dec. 20, will participate in the tournament for the first time.
Coach Steve Pennington said his team will tour the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton on Friday, Dec. 27, before training later that day at Timken.
The field will include Massillon Jackson, which tied for 39th in the Division I state tournament last season.
"We really don't have any expectations," Pennington said. "We always expect to compete and have a good showing, but nothing specific. Our kids are prepared and willing to show what Whitehall has to offer."