As an attendee of Grace Polaris Church and a player for the Worthington Christian High School girls basketball team, senior Ali Spayde jokes that the buildings on Worthington-Galena Road where the church and middle school gym are located are her second home.
Opponents might not disagree that the court where Spayde has been competing as a varsity player since her freshman year has fit her description well this season.
Spayde was averaging a team-best 19.9 points through seven games, including a 32-point effort in a 63-50 win over Fairbanks on Nov. 26 in the Warriors' home opener.
"I've been (attending Worthington Christian) since pre-school and I love it," Spayde said. "The community is awesome. I'm here every day and I like to call it my house."
Spayde scored 19 points Dec. 12 in an MSL-Ohio Division game against visiting West Jefferson, but it wasn't enough as the Warriors fell 45-43 in two overtimes for their first loss.
Worthington Christian beat Grandview 30-25 on Dec. 20 to improve to 7-1 overall and 5-1 in the league.
The Warriors are off until Jan. 4 when they play host to Wellington. They don't return to league play until Jan. 10 at Bexley.
Spayde, a 5-foot-8 point guard, believes she has been playing with more confidence this season.
"A lot of things have opened up for me this year," she said. "I can play more freely and I just feel more confident, especially with me being a senior."
Through seven games, Bridgette Rettstatt was averaging 10.4 points and Shirley Rettstatt was averaging 9.9 to complement Spayde.
Bridgette Rettstatt is the daughter of John Rettstatt, who is serving as co-coach with Tammi Evans. Shirley Rettstatt is Bridgette's cousin.
"We lost about 60-plus percent of our scoring from last year, so we're redefining roles," Evans said. "It's been a team effort."
"We only have nine girls, so we're really close," Spayde said. "We just love hanging out with each other."
With 1.1 seconds left in regulation against West Jefferson, Bridgette Rettstatt missed a 3-pointer and the game went to overtime tied at 35.
Just two points were scored by each team in the first overtime.
In the second overtime, Bridgette Rettstatt made a 3-pointer to tie it at 43 with 14.6 seconds left before the Roughriders pulled out the win.
"We like to have a fast-paced game and they slowed us down a lot," Spayde said. "We definitely just have to keep our poise."
Boys basketball team coming together
An opening 49-37 loss to Whitehall on Dec. 3 wasn't indicative of how things would go for the boys basketball team during the season's first few weeks.
Both senior guard Sam Condon and junior center Johnny Wordlaw were out with injuries for the Whitehall game, but Condon returned for a 61-51 win over London on Dec. 7 and Wordlaw was back for a 57-48 victory over Columbus Academy on Dec. 10.
Condon, who injured an ankle Nov. 6 during the boys soccer team's 2-0 loss to Cincinnati Summit Country Day in a Division III state semifinal, averaged 8.3 points in his first three games.
Wordlaw scored six points against Academy and in a 70-25 win over Northside Christian on Dec. 12.
"We've gotten our full team back now," coach Kevin Weakley said. "Sam and Johnny weren't able to play (against Whitehall). We're starting to get everybody to the point where they know what their roles are. The thing I like about this team is that they do a lot of different things well. They can play slow, they can play fast and they can be a very versatile team."
Worthington Christian beat Madison Plains 65-52 on Dec. 21 to improve to 4-1 overall and 3-1 in the MSL-Ohio.
The Warriors play at Marysville on Saturday, Dec. 28, at home against Hartley on Jan. 3 and at Wellington on Jan. 4 before returning to league play Jan. 7 at Grandview.
Through four games, junior guard John Routzahn was averaging a team-best 19.5 points. He scored 26 against London.
Junior guard J.J. Phillips, who spent most of last season on junior varsity, was averaging 7.3 points through four games. Senior forward Seth Weygandt (5.3 ppg) and sophomore forward Brian Fields (4.8 ppg) also have been steady contributors.
"We're playing better together offensively," Routzahn said. "Sam was injured after the soccer season and I think we (missed Condon against Whitehall) because Sam does such a great job passing the ball."
Smith leading bowling team
Through four matches, senior Ben Smith of the boys bowling team was 45th among 329 competitors in average (182.9) in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference.
Smith, who is a three-time district qualifier, bowled a 212 on Dec. 7 during the Red & Blue Classic at HP Lanes and a 221 on Dec. 20, when the Warriors lost to Westerville Central 2,407-2,138 at Capri Lanes to fall to 1-4 overall and 0-4 in the COHSBC-North.
On Dec. 9, Worthington Christian beat Beechcroft 1,758-1,552 at Capri Lanes.
The Warriors next compete Jan. 6 against Westerville South at Columbus Square Bowling Palace.
Noah Cardosi and Sean Pierce both were averaging 143.8 and Kaitlyn Hamilton, the only girl in the program, was averaging 141.6 through four matches.