Opponents of the Worthington Christian High School girls basketball team last season often found that focusing extensively on 6-foot post player Audrey Rettstatt was their best defense.
That theory, according to Warriors coach Adam Heath, isn't working as well this winter.
"We're way more balanced this year," he said. "I think last year if you stopped one player, you stopped us. I'm really pleased with our sophomore class, and (senior) Abbie Moss and (junior) Ali Spayde have made huge jumps."
Rettstatt, who averaged 14.6 points and was named first-team all-district in Division IV last season, was averaging 16.2 through 12 games.
The Warriors were 11-1 before playing North Union on Jan. 8 and will face one of their toughest opponents to date when they travel to Newark Catholic on Saturday, Jan. 12. The Green Wave were 8-0 before playing Northridge on Jan. 7.
Senior forward Courtney Prior has yet to play this season because of a shoulder injury and senior forward Kelsey Morgan hasn't played since a 66-25 win over Mount Gilead on Dec. 8. Both could return by the end of the month, Heath said.
During their absence, Worthington Christian has gotten increased contributions from Moss and Spayde as well as sophomores Natalee Cole, Devon Jones, Shirley Rettstatt and Lauren Weygandt. A newcomer to the program, 6-1 senior post player Camila Quinones also has contributed.
Against Brookhaven in the championship game of her team's bracket of the Warrior Classic on Dec. 29 at Harvest Prep, Audrey Rettstatt spent most of the game on the bench with a bloody nose and scored only two points. Worthington Christian trailed 14-5 after the first quarter but rallied for a 41-31 win as Moss finished with 10 points, followed by Jones (9), Cole (8) and Spayde (7).
The Warriors beat Licking Heights 68-31 in the first round of the Warrior Classic behind 24 points from Audrey Rettstatt, 15 points and four assists from Spayde and 12 points, five steals and four assists from Moss.
On Jan. 3, Worthington Christian beat Shekinah Christian 55-47 in a rematch of a district final from a year ago that the Warriors lost 55-43.
Their only loss through 12 games this season came against Ready, 50-42 on Dec. 22.
"I always knew that we'd be very good and that we have lots of potential," Audrey Rettstatt said. "We're doing what we need to do to win. I think (being a district finalist last year) helped us see we can reach our goals and that we're as good as any team out there. We should be able to go further this year."
Boys basketball team growing
The boys basketball team was 8-3 but had split its last four games before playing Gilead Christian on Jan. 8.
In a 49-34 loss to Ready on Jan. 5, the Warriors led 16-6 after the first quarter but were outscored 33-10 during the middle quarters.
Tough stretches such as that are a part of the growing process, according to coach Kevin Weakley. Senior guard/forward Addison Taylor and junior guard Sam Condon are the Warriors' most experienced players.
"We're a young team, which is pretty tough," Weakley said. "We're making young mistakes just in the process of games. I like my team. We have good chemistry. I think we're better today than we were at the beginning of the season.
"Our team plays the way that Sam Condon and A.C. Taylor play. A.C. is in his third year playing varsity and Sam Condon has shaken the rust off from playing soccer. He's very fast and most of our guys are very good getting off the dribble. Sam has really grown in trying to get others involved."
A pair of 6-3 sophomore forwards, John Routzahn and Johnny Wordlaw, are on varsity for the first time. Frankie Myers, a 6-1 senior forward, is another key player inside.
The Warriors lost to Mifflin 51-41 in the first round of its bracket of the Warrior Classic on Dec. 27 at Harvest Prep but bounced back to beat Xenia Christian 87-48 in the consolation game Dec. 29.
"In our loss to Mifflin, we hadn't practiced and it was just a really sloppy game for both of us," Weakley said. "But it allowed me as a coach to get the attention of my team."
Numbers up for swimming program
After having all three of its individuals advance to the Division II district meet last season, the swimming and diving program has four boys and two girls this winter.
The boys team consists of three returnees in juniors Luke Proxmire and Matt Watterson and sophomore Kameron Early and one newcomer, freshman Grant Lawrence. Freshmen Becca Knapper and Shannon LaMonte comprise the girls squad.
Jim Peterfish is the Warriors' coach.
In the Delaware Invitational on Jan. 5, the boys team scored 123 points to place sixth of seven teams behind champion North Robinson Colonel Crawford (449) and the girls team was seventh (33) of 10 teams behind champion Watterson (502).
Knapper won the 200-yard freestyle in 2 minutes, 2.06 seconds.
The Warriors will compete in three more meets before the sectional meet Feb. 9 at Columbus Academy.
Last season at sectional, Watterson was 12th (1:59.02) in the 200 free and 24th (1:00.58) in the 100 backstroke, Proxmire finished 14th (51.86) in the 100 free and 12th (1:06.51) in the 100 breaststroke and Early placed 23rd (1:04.7) in the 100 back.
The Warriors did not have any state qualifiers.