Stanton Smith of the Canal Winchester High School boys basketball team might not get the accolades of junior guard Brady Snyder, and that's exactly how the senior guard wants it, even if he tends to be overshadowed by his younger teammate.
Although Smith and Snyder alternate between point guard and shooting guard depending on an opponent's defensive strategies, Smith is happiest as a facilitator on the court and a leader off the floor.
"I figured it would be coming on the court and facilitating and letting Brady do his thing," said Smith, who was averaging 8.8 points through 15 games. "I would take this role over Brady's role, being the (team's leading) scorer. I'd rather have 10 assists than 20 points."
Snyder was averaging 16.5 points through 15 games for Canal Winchester, which was 8-7 overall before playing Hilliard Darby on Jan. 30 and is 3-4 in the OCC-Capital Division, but Smith has had his time in the spotlight, both on the court and the football field.
Smith had four double-digit scoring games before Jan. 30, including a career-high 24 points in a 69-65 win at Worthington Kilbourne on Jan. 9 and a team-high 17 in a 73-69 loss to Independence on Dec. 9.
"His pull-up shot is way better (than it was) last season, and so is his ability to see the floor," Snyder said. "When I'm getting face-guarded, he's the one who brings the ball up the floor and gets the offense going."
Coach Lyndell Snyder said Smith has grown both in terms of shot selection and making extra passes when necessary.
"He has really accepted his role. Some nights his role is to shoot the ball. Some nights, his role is to facilitate," coach Snyder said. "He makes the extra pass and really has been a leader. He's a vocal leader and a physical leader. Stanton has stepped up when his number has been called.
"He'll look at me on the court sometimes and say, 'Coach, was that a good shot or should I have passed it?' We go by great shot, good shot or bad shot. I like great shots. Sometimes, they're closer to good. We have that good of a relationship right now. He knows the difference between a good shot and a great shot."
Smith mostly played soccer and baseball growing up but gravitated to basketball and football in middle school, calling basketball his primary sport because "I've worked at it the most out of any sport I've played, but in terms of what I like, basketball and football are the two."
Smith, who played for the Ohio Elite AAU program until the summer before his junior year, also was starting quarterback for the football team for most of his junior season and the beginning of last season before new coach Josh Stratton juggled personnel. Stratton moved to Smith to wide receiver, where he made a team-high 38 catches for 357 yards and two touchdowns.
"The leadership aspect and distribution aspect definitely carry over," Smith said. "Even though I didn't play quarterback the entire season, I still understood the principles of distributing the ball and getting everybody involved. I've always kind of taken that role both as a basketball player and a football player."
Admitting he misses football, Smith has not ruled out trying to walk on at Ohio University, where he plans to double major in communications and marketing.
"It's kind of a longshot," Smith said. "I might just work out all year and take my shot. If I don't make it on (the team), it was a good experience."
Fry, Olger lead swim teams in OCC meet
Blake Fry won two events to lead boys swimming team in the OCC-Capital meet Jan. 27 at New Albany, and both the boys and girls earned top-three finishes as teams.
Fry won the 100-yard breaststroke (1 minute, 4.39 seconds) and 500 freestyle (4:59.13), and was on the third-place 400 free relay (3:43.59) with Lucas Elizondo, Korbin Martino and Jake Smithers as the Indians scored 206 points to finish third behind New Albany (458.5) and Big Walnut (278.5) and ahead of Groveport (74) and Newark (55).
Martino placed second in the 100 free (51.34), and the 200 free relay of Corey Berner, Will Butler, Drew Kotwis and Smithers finished third (1:58.84).
Hannah Olger led the girls team in the league meet, as she won the 100 free (54.98), placed second in the 50 free (25.36) and was on the runner-up 200 free (1:43.94) and 400 free (3:38.71) relays with Leah Bates, Kassidy Pastor and Grace Riddle.
Riddle was runner-up in the 100 backstroke (1:00.92) and 200 free (2:02.37), as Canal Winchester scored 295 points to place second behind New Albany (459) and ahead of Big Walnut (139), Newark (126) and Groveport (116).
Bates placed second in the 100 breast (1:15.56) and Pastor finished third in the 200 individual medley (2:22.28).
The league meet was Canal Winchester's final regular-season competition. Next up for the Indians is a Division I sectional meet Feb. 10 at Upper Arlington.
Wrestlers prepare for home invite
The wrestling team will have had eight days off from competition entering its 20-team Canal Winchester Invitational on Saturday, Feb. 3, an even larger field than coach Harrison Rosch expected.
According to Rosch, Dresden Tri-Valley, Granville and Mansfield Senior will be among the top teams at the event. Local participants include Columbus South, Groveport, Johnstown, Licking Heights, Pickerington North, Thomas Worthington, Walnut Ridge, Westerville Central and Westland.
Rosch said the field expanded slightly when a few teams had to cancel Jan. 13 events because of bad weather.
The Indians tried to heal from various bumps and bruises during the past week. They have not competed since Jan. 25, when they lost 37-36 at home to New Albany in an OCC-Capital dual to fall to 1-2 in the league.
Canal Winchester got five wins, all by pin, against New Albany. The winners were Chance Brown (152 pounds), Cameron Cross (160), Michael Gallagher (132), Chase Newsome (120) and Cian Rose (106).
"We're trying to get healthy and go a little lighter in practice, hoping guys can get healthy," Rosch said after the loss to New Albany. "We had some close matches (during the Panther Invitational on Jan. 20 at Pickerington North) that didn't go our way, and this was a nice bounce-back, a competitive dual."
Below are the coming schedules for the Canal Winchester boys basketball, girls basketball and wrestling teams:
Feb. 1 -- Home vs. Licking Heights in makeup from Jan. 13
*Feb. 2 -- Home vs. Franklin Heights. The Indians defeated the Falcons 90-50 on Dec. 22.
Feb. 6 -- Home vs. Pickerington North
*Feb. 2 -- At Franklin Heights. The Indians defeated the Falcons 85-28 on Dec. 22.
Feb. 3 -- At Bexley
Feb. 6 -- At Pickerington North
Feb. 3 -- Canal Winchester Invitational at home