Learning how to take things in stride might be the area Olentangy Liberty High School senior girls basketball player Emma Humenay has worked on the most since becoming a varsity player a season ago.
That's never been more important than now considering how her role has continued to evolve.
One of the consistently best shooters in the program the last two seasons, Humenay has worked to make leadership as much of a strength.
That's been tested more than ever now that sophomore wing player Teegan Pifher is out for the season.
"My mental toughness has always been the thing I needed to work on," Humenay said. "I would get mad about missing shots and would just get down on myself because I felt like I wasn't contributing. A big part of my leadership role has been leading by example."
Pifher suffered a cracked right patella during a 47-38 loss to Olentangy on Dec. 5 and is expected to be sidelined for four months. She averaged 13 points last season and 17 over the first two games this season.
Liberty was 3-2 overall before playing Marysville on Dec. 19. It is 1-2 in the OCC-Buckeye Division and returns to league play Friday, Dec. 22, at home against Westerville North.
Humenay, a guard, was averaging 11.6 points through five games and believes her defense also has improved this season.
Senior guard Kennedy Kashmiry (6.2 points) and sophomore wing player Kelly Levering (9.0 points) also are taking on key roles in the offense.
"(Losing a key player is) not really new to our program," said Humenay, whose team also lost a starter to injury in each of the past three seasons. "It's something we've been able to work through. We just know we have to rally as a team because one person isn't going to be able to take over Teegan's spot. The past couple weeks we've been focusing on the little things.
"My role is different as a leader and as kind of like the next scorer because Teegan and I have been up there. I have to keep my game consistent and bring (my teammates') games up with me."
Humenay has an older sibling and two younger ones -- sophomore Connor Humenay, a football and track athlete, and his twin brother Jack, who competes in track and cross country. Jack Humenay was 61st in the Division I state cross country meet this fall to help the Liberty boys team finish 13th.
"They always keep things interesting around the house," Emma said. "We talk a lot after games and always send texts before games. They always make sure I know they're thinking about me. We're very competitive, too."
Emma, who recently was accepted to Miami University, where she might end up playing for the club basketball team, had 18 points in a 51-30 win over Dublin Jerome on Dec. 1 and 18 in a 59-32 victory over Orange on Dec. 8.
Last season, she made 48 of 99 shots from 3-point range.
"She was one of the best shooters in the area last year," coach Sam Krafty said. "Ever since she was a little kid she could always shoot it, and I've known her since she was 9 or 10 years old. It's kind of been a little bit of a confidence issue with her. She's a very smart player who knows the game very well, and she can get into a groove."
Pohlman, Trent lead bowling squads
The boys and girls bowling teams feature several players taking on key roles for the first time, but what the Patriots would like to accomplish hasn't changed much.
"My goal again is to get through the sectional (and advance to district)," 11th-year coach Linda Ridolfo said. "I told the girls I don't care if we win a match. Our goal is to get through."
The boys team is 2-2 overall and in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-A Division and 2-1 in the OCC-Buckeye. Last season, the Patriots went 15-3 overall, tied for third (12-3) in the COHSBC-North and took third (5-2) in the OCC-Buckeye behind Westerville Central (7-0) and Westerville South (6-1).
Liberty then rolled a 4,195 to win the sectional before finishing ninth (3,856) at district as the top four teams moved on to state.
Seniors Evan Pohlman and Daniel Valz are the top returnees.
Pohlman is averaging 218.1, including a 251 in the first game of a 2,222-1,869 win over Olentangy on Dec. 14. Valz tied for 17th (621) at last year's district tournament and is averaging 198.0 in league play.
Senior Nicholas Anderson, juniors Caden Gallagher and Aiden Koknat and freshmen Nick Bateson and Matthew Lawrence also are on the team.
The girls went 7-10 overall last season. They placed 10th (6-8) in the COHSBC-North and were sixth (3-4) in the OCC-Buckeye behind champion South (6-1) before finishing 23rd at sectional (2,689) as the top 20 advanced to district.
Senior Liz Trent is the top returnee and is averaging 139.3, while sophomore Brenna Withrow is leading in average at 142.7. Junior Lauren Suhodolsky, who is another returnee, is averaging 128.8.
Also on the team are sophomores Stephanie Greeno and Eryn Temby and freshmen Nandini Kasam, Jnapika Palacharia, Karthika Shankar, Manasa Sriram and Meaghan Suhodolsky.
"They're all new, so they're learning," Ridolfo said.
Boys basketball team earns first victory
After opening with back-to-back losses, the boys basketball team put together a 13-0 run during the second half and held off a late charge to beat Westerville South 61-58 on Dec. 14.
The Patriots were 1-2 overall before playing Marysville on Dec. 19, and they are 1-1 in the OCC-Buckeye heading into their game Friday, Dec. 22, at Westerville North. The Warriors were 4-0 overall before playing New Albany on Dec. 19 and are 2-0 in the league.
Through three games, junior wing player Ben Roderick was averaging 29.7 points.
He had 28 against South but was whistled for a technical foul for hanging on the rim during the closing seconds. The Wildcats made two free throws to turn it into a one-possession game before Liberty held on.
"So many of our games (against South) have come down to the wire," coach Greg Nossaman said. "I thought we shot free throws well down the stretch. You just can't stop. You've got to keep going until there are zeros on the clock. It's a league game and we didn't want to fall two (games) behind."
Wrestlers win home tourney
The wrestling team closes the 2017 portion of its schedule Dec. 29 and 30 in the Brecksville Holiday Tournament.
On Dec. 15 and 16 as host to the 25-team Liberty Classic, the Patriots entered two teams and had its Blue team score 214.5 points to finish first while its White team scored 46.5 points to finish 17th.
Capturing titles were Jordan Rosselli (120 pounds), Blake Saito (132), Connor Brady (152), Carson Kharchlav (170) and Trevor Lawson (182). Also placing were Luke Blaine (fourth at 126), Justin Callahan (third at 160) and Jadon Brownlee (sixth at 220).
*Dec. 5 -- Olentangy Orange at Sawmill Lanes
*Dec. 7 -- Westerville North at Sawmill Lanes
*Dec. 8 -- Marysville at Marysville Lanes
*Dec. 14 -- Olentangy at Sawmill Lanes
*Jan. 4 -- Big Walnut at Sawmill Lanes
*Jan. 5 -- New Albany at Gahanna Lanes
*Jan. 9 -- Westerville Central at Sawmill Lanes
*Jan. 11 -- Delaware at Sawmill Lanes
*Jan. 18 -- Gahanna at Gahanna Lanes
*Jan. 23 -- London at Sawmill Lanes
*Jan. 30 -- Westerville South at Sawmill Lanes
*Feb. 1 -- Beechcroft at Sawmill Lanes
Feb. 6 -- Olentangy and Olentangy Orange at Capri Lanes
Below are the coming schedules for the Liberty boys basketball, girls basketball, hockey and swimming & diving teams:
*Dec. 22 -- At Westerville North
Dec. 27 -- Mentor Lake Catholic in Wright Automotive Holiday Tournament at Wexford (Pa.) North Allegheny
Dec. 28 -- Murrysville (Pa.) Franklin Regional or North Allegheny in Wright Automotive Holiday Tournament
*Dec. 22 -- Home vs. Westerville North
Dec. 16 -- At Hilliard Davidson with Grove City and Westerville Central
*Dec. 22 -- DeSales at Chiller North
*Dec. 23 -- Cincinnati Moeller at Chiller North
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 21 -- Delaware County Classic at Ohio Wesleyan