The Worthington Christian High School boys basketball team isn't letting a recent rough stretch get it down.
After winning 10 of their first 13, the Warriors lost consecutive games to North Union (69-60 on Jan. 15), Watterson (48-47 on Jan. 18) and Buckeye Valley (57-49 on Jan. 22) before defeating Marion Pleasant 51-43 on Jan. 26 and playing Columbus Academy on Jan. 29.
Each of those five teams already had reached double figures in wins, and still remaining on Worthington Christian's schedule is perennially strong Division II-foe Hartley on Feb. 8.
The Warriors' situation as they approach the postseason reminds senior Addison Taylor of a year ago when they went on to win a Division III district championship.
Last season, Worthington Christian lost three of its final four of the regular season and was 12-8 heading into the postseason.
"I think we're improving a lot," Taylor said. "We're getting better. We're right where we were last year. Our depth definitely will help a lot. Our sophomores are starting to get used to the varsity level. Losing close games like we've been doing definitely prepares us for the tournament."
According to coach Kevin Weakley, the team's guard play over the coming weeks could dictate whether his team makes a postseason run.
Taylor, a 6-foot-1 guard/forward who was averaging 10 points through 16 games, is one of two key players who saw regular playing time last season. The other is junior guard Sam Condon (8.0 points per game).
A trio of 6-3 forwards, junior Seth Weygandt (7.0) and sophomores John Routzahn (8.0) and Johnny Wordlaw (4.5), also have taken on key roles in the offense.
Senior forwards Nate Morris and Frankie Myers and senior guard Clayton Siders also have become regular contributors.
"We're turning the ball over. That's the theme of our games," Weakley said. "Against Watterson and North Union we played well but the ball didn't bounce our way. We had a one-point lead with eight seconds to go (against Watterson), so we were right there. (Against Buckeye Valley) we had a 10-point lead with one minute left in the third quarter.
"This is exactly what happened to us last year. For us to win, we just need to possess the basketball a little better. If we are even or better than our opponent on the boards, or if we turn it over less than 15 times, we have a good chance to win every night."
Girls basketball team preparing for tourney
Girls basketball coach Adam Heath believes his team's schedule has prepared it for the coming Division IV tournament.
The Warriors were second in last week's area coaches poll behind Newark Catholic. Shekinah Christian, Morral Ridgedale and Granville Christian rounded out the top five.
Worthington Christian beat Shekinah Christian 55-47 on Jan. 3 and lost to Newark Catholic 58-39 on Jan. 12.
The Warriors also won 41-31 on Dec. 29 over Brookhaven and challenged Hartley before losing 39-30 on Jan. 15. Hartley was first and Brookhaven was third in last week's Division II area coaches poll.
Last season, Worthington Christian lost to Shekinah Christian 55-43 in a district final.
The district tournament drawing is Sunday, Feb. 3.
"I think our schedule has been as hard as anyone's (in Division IV) and our record is as good as anybody's except for Newark Catholic," Heath said. "You have two different kinds of schools in Division IV, with a lot of small Christian schools that play smaller schools, and teams like Shekinah and us who play a lot of good teams."
The Warriors had lost four of five before defeating Danville 47-42 on Jan. 24. Junior guard Ali Spayde and senior post player Audrey Rettstatt each scored 12 points.
Rettstatt is part of a senior class that also includes Kelsey Morgan, Abbie Moss, Courtney Prior and Camila Quinones.
Rettstatt, according to Heath, had 968 career points before the Warriors played Caledonia River Valley on Jan. 28.
Bowling coach happy with improvement
The boys bowling team was 0-13 overall and 0-12 in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-North Division before playing Hartley on Jan. 28, but coach Susan Bond has been seeing improvement from her players.
The Warriors were scheduled to play Jan. 25 against Haugland Learning Center, but the match was postponed because of transportation issues. Haugland Learning Center was winless before playing Columbus Academy on Jan. 29.
"This year, unfortunately, because of the division we're in, most of the teams are really good teams, so we're not winning matches," Bond said. "But the team has improved so much. Some of our guys are 30 or 40 pins up from where we were last year."
Worthington Christian's closest match before Jan. 28 came when it lost to Gahanna 1,907-1,877 on Jan. 3.
The Warriors set a program scoring record Jan. 8 in a 2,178-2,103 loss to Big Walnut.
Junior Ben Smith, who was a district qualifier a year ago, was leading the team in average before Jan. 28 at 190.2. He was followed by seniors Jess Meyers (172.4) and Aaron Hamilton (163).
Senior Ashley White and freshman Kaitlyn Hamilton are the only girls in the program and are competing on the boys team.