After 10 days without games, the Centennial High School boys basketball team was looking forward to returning to action Jan. 9 against visiting Whetstone.
"I think we're going to finish strong," senior point guard Sean Tyson said. "We've been in a bit of a lull in terms of games, but we've really been working hard in practice. We've all been in the gym working on things outside of the (scheduled) practices, too. You can tell we care about it and I think good things are coming."
The Stars were 5-5 overall and 2-2 in the City League-North Division entering their first game in 2018.
"I think this team is in position to put things together and finish strong like we did in the 2014-15 season," coach Roosevelt Osborne III said. "If we can get things straightened out defensively and limit teams to fewer offensive rebounds, we can have a strong season."
In 2014-15, the Stars started 2-5 but won 10 of their final 15 regular-season games and then reached a Division II district semifinal before losing to Walnut Ridge 58-47 to finish 14-11.
Centennial went 1-2 in the Westminster Christian Holiday Tournament on Dec. 27-29 in Palmetto Bay, Florida.
"We saw plenty of things to work on and we came back and got to work on them," Osborne said. "I love the chemistry, athleticism and scoring balance we have, but we've got to crank up the defense. We don't have a go-to guy, but we've got maybe five guys who can average double figures in scoring and we share the ball well."
In Florida, the Stars lost to Miami Sports Leadership and Management 81-45, fell to Miami Westwood Christian 87-68 and defeated Miami Terra Environmental 84-53.
Through 10 games, Tyson was averaging 12.9 points, 6.5 assists and 2.3 steals.
Senior guard Craig Burt was averaging a team-high 13.8 points along with 5.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.2 steals. He was followed in scoring by Tyson, senior guard Gary Elder (12.2), freshman guard Jaylen Gilbert (9.6) and junior forward Myles Martinez (8.6).
Gilbert led in rebounding at 5.9 per game.
"Gary has been real consistent and, as a group, we're shooting right at 50 percent from the floor," Osborne said. "Jaylen leads us at (52.9 percent) on 36-for-68 shooting. (Senior guard) Dominic Cesaro is 10-for-25 (on 3-pointers) and has made some big shots for us."
Osborne said the Stars should be 7-3. They lost their opener in overtime to Dublin Scioto 63-55 on Dec. 5 and "fell apart" and allowed a 19-point lead over East to evaporate in a 77-63 loss Dec. 19.
"Losing and learning is part of the process," he said. "We have to learn to value every possession, get loose balls and provide help on defense, but I think we're in good shape."
Tyson said the Stars are making progress.
"We have been drilling on defense and boxing out the past two weeks," he said. "We've got to stay low in defensive position, and in the zone we have to drop quicker on the opposite side to protect the rim better. I think we're getting there and we're confident we're going to get things going, but we can't have bad lapses."
Girls basketball team snaps losing streak
After losing its first seven games, the girls basketball team posted consecutive victories.
The Stars defeated East 50-39 on Dec. 19 and International 51-41 on Dec. 22 before falling to Scioto 71-16 on Dec. 28. They were 2-8 overall and 2-4 in the City-North before playing at Whetstone on Jan. 9.
Centennial, which did not have a returning starter from last year's team, got 15 points from junior forward Shamara Bridges, 11 from senior guard Qiyje January and 10 from sophomore forward Naa Dromo Korley against East.
Against International, Bridges had 17 points, Korley scored 13 and sophomore forward Tyler Johnson added eight.
Bowling teams get back to work
Led by senior Cindy Mullins, the girls bowling team was 2-2 overall and in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-B Division entering this week.
Mullins was averaging 154.8 per game for the Stars, who competed against Pickerington Central on Jan. 8 and Pickerington North on Jan. 9. Kylie Crissinger-Acuna was averaging 139.3, followed by Yazmine Segovia (122.8), Izabelle Segovia (119.8) and Bella Moore (115.8).
The boys team was 1-3 overall and in the league entering this week. Sophomore Joe Thies was averaging a team-best 163.6, followed by E.J. Macarus (146.3), A.J. Grumbling (140.9), Daniel Havens (139.7), Tyler Morefield (135.7) and Nick Loudener (133.8).
Below are the coming schedules for the Centennial boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 12 -- At Linden-McKinley
*Jan. 16 -- At Northland
*Jan. 12 -- Home vs. Linden. The Stars lost to the Panthers 59-42 on Dec. 5.
Jan. 13 -- Home vs. Independence
*Jan. 16 -- Home vs. Northland. The Stars lost to the Vikings 68-25 on Dec. 8.
*Jan. 16 -- Hilliard Davidson at Sequoia Pro Bowl
*Jan. 17 -- Thomas Worthington at Sequoia Pro Bowl in makeup from Jan. 5
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 13 -- Stars Invitational at Columbus Aquatics Center
Jan. 17 -- At Northland