The Thomas Worthington High School girls basketball team knows the challenge that awaits Friday at OCC-Central Division-rival Dublin Coffman will not be easy.


The Thomas Worthington High School girls basketball team knows the challenge that awaits Friday at OCC-Central Division-rival Dublin Coffman will not be easy.

The Shamrocks, who second in the Division I state poll last week, were 15-0 overall after defeating Dayton Dunbar 66-42 last Saturday. They beat Central Crossing 75-22 last Friday to improve to 9-0 in the league.

"I remember them being really, really good," said guard Kelsey McAlpine, who scored 11 points in a 78-56 loss to Upper Arlington last Friday. "They have two girls that are going Division I. We're going to have to step up our game and play really hard against them."

Becca Bornhorst, who has signed with Butler, scored 18 points and Sam MacKay, who has signed with Dayton, had seven in a 77-29 victory over Thomas on Dec. 19. After last Friday's games, Coffman lead the OCC-Central ahead of Hilliard Davidson (8-1), UA (5-4), Hilliard Darby (5-4), Thomas (4-5), Central Crossing (4-5), Worthington Kilbourne (1-8) and Westland (0-9).

McAlpine believes her team can contend with Coffman, pointing to the first half of the UA game and a 58-54 loss Jan. 10 to Delaware, which was seventh in the state poll, as proof.

Against the Bears, the Cardinals hit three consecutive 3-pointers, including two by McAlpine, and a layup to take a 30-19 lead late in the second quarter. But UA outscored Thomas 52-24 in the second half.

"We need to expand on this first half and play at that level consistently," coach Laurie Barr said. "We're kind of a tale of two teams. In the first half we played executed well. In the second half, I don't think we were on top of our game."

"Delaware is one of the times we played well the whole time," McAlpine said. "Our goal is play hard the whole 32 minutes. The Delaware game showed us we can do that."

Through nine games of league play, Coffman was outscoring opponents an average of 68.3-31.8.

One of the keys to how well Thomas will do is how well it handles the press. The Cardinals had little trouble breaking UA's press in the first half. but UA's switch to 1-3-1 defense created turnovers.

"We let their press take us out of it," Barr said. "When you play as a team against the press, you're much more successful than if one person tries to break it herself.

"We'll take this game as a learning tool. Hopefully we can use those lessons when we see future teams."

•Entering last Tuesday, Kilbourne was 2-11 overall and had averaged 17.2 points in the first half of its last five games, but coach Steve Palmer is starting to see improvement overall.

Palmer was encouraged, even though is team lost to Darby 48-32 last Friday.

"The first time we played Darby, we were down 37-5 at the half," he said. "This time around, we trailed (25-20). We gave a great effort.

"You can't measure our success in wins or losses, but we're making our second trip through the league and we're starting to do better."

Kilbourne held the Panthers to four points in the third quarter but scored just two. Darby won the fourth quarter 19-10. Kilbourne committed 26 turnovers and Darby had 19.

Tori Besser was 4-for-4 from the foul line and 3-for-6 from the floor with two 3-pointers as she scored 12 points.

The Wolves will play host Friday to Westland, which they beat 60-35 win on Dec. 19.

"Westland's Carly Beasy is a good 3-point shooter," Palmer said. "It will be interesting to see how our 3s and their 3s play out. I'm sure (Westland coach Stephen Clines) will have his team ready to go."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Kilbourne and Thomas girls basketball teams:

KILBOURNE

*Last Friday -- Lost to Hilliard Darby 48-32. Tori Besser scored 12 points and Dani Kaughman had 10.

*Last Tuesday -- Played Upper Arlington

Today -- Home vs. DeSales

*Friday -- Home vs. Westland

*Tuesday -- At Hilliard Davidson. The Wildcats, who beat Kilbourne 63-59 on Dec. 16, were 10-5 overall and 8-1 in the OCC-Central after defeating Westland 54-27 last Friday.

Of note: The Wolves were 2-11 overall and 1-8 in OCC-Central before last Tuesday.

THOMAS

*Last Friday -- Lost to Upper Arlington 78-56. Erika Rousculp and Kelsey McAlpine scored 11 points and Natalie Carroll had 10.

*Last Tuesday -- Played Davidson

*Friday -- At Dublin Coffman

*Tuesday -- At Westland. The Cougars, who lost to Thomas 53-41 on Jan. 9, were 1-12 overall and 0-9 in the OCC-Central after losing to Davidson last Friday.

Of note: The Cardinals were 6-8 overall and 4-5 in OCC-Central before last Tuesday.

*OCC-Central game