Amanda and Natalie Rarick hoped they would figure prominently in the Canal Winchester High School girls basketball team's resurgence this season, and they are, but the sophomore twin sisters have had a few detours thus far.
Amanda Rarick, a 5-foot-8 shooting guard, has overcome a lack of confidence in her shooting skills to emerge as the team's second-leading scorer through 21 games.
Natalie Rarick, who stands 5-11, began the season as a shooting guard but moved into the paint in early January because of injuries to forwards Kynadee Anthony and Camryn Woodrow.
Nonetheless, both have played key roles in the Indians' winningest season in 14 years. Canal Winchester was 16-5 overall before playing Watterson on Feb. 14 and finished 6-4 in the OCC-Capital Division following a dramatic 56-55 overtime win over New Albany on Feb. 9.
The Indians are seeded 17th in the 50-team Division I district tournament and will play host to 30th-seeded Marysville in a first-round game Saturday, Feb. 17.
Amanda Rarick was averaging 10.9 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.9 steals through 21 games and hit two huge shots against New Albany, a layup with 10 seconds left in the fourth quarter and a 3-pointer with 20 seconds left in overtime to secure the win.
Natalie Rarick was averaging 8.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.2 assists.
Both were shooting guards last season when Canal Winchester finished 12-11.
Their older sister, 2016 graduate Marina Rarick, was a point guard for the Indians and now plays at Malone University.
"I've been looking forward to having the twins since I coached Marina," coach Willie Jordan said. "They've exceeded my expectations quicker than expected. Amanda handled some bumps in the road and came into this year confident. She's as good as any guard we play against. There aren't many that have all of her skill set -- ball-handling ability, shooting ability, defensive abilities and her length. She can do quite a bit with her length. ...
"Natalie is ultra-aggressive. If there's a rebound or a loose ball, she will get it. She can shoot the 3 and handle the basketball. She's the girl who will run all over the place to get the ball."
Jordan was equally impressed by Natalie Rarick's recent success at the foul line. She made seven of eight free-throw attempts in a 55-44 win over Pickerington North on Feb. 6 after going 11-for-12 from the line in a 56-41 win at Bexley on Feb. 3.
Amanda Rarick hit all six of her foul shots against Bexley.
Natalie Rarick said she was ready to play either guard or forward but still needed a period of adjustment.
"Knowing where to be on certain plays is the biggest thing," she said. "When you learn (as a) guard, you have that guard mindset and think, 'Here, I need to pop out to the 3-point line.' As a post (player), you don't and that's the trickiest thing for me. Even as a post (player), I have popped outside occasionally and I've still been shooting some, but mostly I just have to stay in the key. It has been tricky."
Amanda Rarick scored in double figures in six consecutive games before Feb. 14, including a career-high 21 points in a 73-21 win over Columbus South on Jan. 20 in the Lady Nubian Classic at Africentric.
"At the beginning of the season, I had no confidence in my shot at all," she said. "Last year, I had a little confidence once I got consistent with my shot, but then it dropped and I finally built it up again."
More adjustments might be on the way during the postseason for the Indians, who are seeking their best record since going 18-6 in 2004.
According to Jordan, Woodrow might be ready to play against Marysville after missing six weeks with a wrist injury.
Anthony suffered a stress fracture in her left foot and was cleared to walk without a boot last week. Jordan is hopeful that Anthony would be able to play in the second round if the Indians defeat the Monarchs.
The Canal Winchester-Marysville winner will play 19th-seeded Logan or 30th-seeded Whetstone in a second-round game Feb. 23 at the home of the higher seed.
"We have a great opportunity to get to the district semifinals, and we've said all year that's where we want to get," Jordan said. "At that point, we'd be playing with house money. We just have to play good basketball."
Swimmers head to district meet
Hannah Olger of the girls swimming team placed third in the 50-yard freestyle (24.45 seconds) and sixth in the 100 free (53.91) and also was on the Indians' third-place 200 free relay (1:40.69) and fifth-place 400 free relay (3:43.41) in a Division I sectional meet Feb. 10 at Upper Arlington, as the program advanced six individuals and five relays to the district meet Saturday, Feb. 17, at Ohio University.
Blake Fry of the boys team finished fifth in both the 100 breaststroke (1:01.36) and 500 free (4:55.17) and was on the eighth-place 200 medley relay (1:46.62) and 400 free relay (3:43.71)
Team scores were not kept.
Leah Bates, Kassidy Pastor and Grace Riddle rounded out the girls 200 free and 400 free relays.
Riddle also was third in both the 100 backstroke (59.1) and 200 free (1:59.52).
The winner of each sectional event automatically qualified for district. In addition, 27 at-large district berths were awarded in each swimming event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectional sites.
Olger has the team's best seed at district, as she is fifth in the 50 free.
At district, the top two placers in each swimming event automatically advance to the state meet Feb. 23 and 24 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths will be awarded for each swimming event based on times statewide.
Boys basketball team picks up steam
After a 75-56 loss to Pickerington North on Feb. 6, the boys basketball team earned two wins last weekend behind potent offense and three career performances, beating New Albany 71-65 in overtime Feb. 9 and Teays Valley 81-66 on Feb. 10.
The win over Teays Valley featured career-high scoring outputs from Brady Snyder (29 points) and Bilal Sow (19) and was only the third time the Indians have scored more than 70 points all season. Canal Winchester's season high in points came in a 90-50 win over Franklin Heights on Dec. 22.
Against New Albany, Cole Metzler and Snyder each scored 19 points -- a career-high for Metzler -- as the Indians outscored the Eagles 20-14 in overtime. Canal Winchester was 13-for-15 from the foul line in overtime.
The Indians are 12-9 overall and 5-4 in the OCC-Capital entering their regular-season finale Friday, Feb. 16, at home against Newark.
Canal Winchester earned the 30th seed in the upcoming 48-team Division I district tournament. The Indians took a first-round bye and will visit 15th-seeded Grove City or 29th-seeded Mifflin for a second-round game March 2.
Indians athletes select colleges
Two student-athletes announced their college decisions Feb. 7.
Hillary Counts will play women's soccer at Capital and Trevor Thompson will play football at Saint Francis.
Below is the coming schedule for the Canal Winchester wrestling team:
*Feb. 15 -- Home vs. Franklin Heights
*League contestAt a glance
Below are the district qualifiers with sectional time and district seeds for the Canal Winchester boys and girls swimming teams:
BOYS -- Blake Fry: 100 breast (1:01.36, 13th), 500 free (4:55.17, 10th); Korbin Martino: 50 free (22.65, 22nd), 100 back (57.56, 25th); 200 medley relay (1:46.62, 20th); 400 free relay (3:43.71, 26th)
GIRLS -- Hannah Olger: 50 free (24.45, fifth), 100 free (53.91, 15th); Kassidy Pastor: 200 IM (2:17.66, 16th); Karenna Reed: 500 free (5:34.98, 19th); Grace Riddle: 100 back (59.1, eighth), 200 free (1:59.52, 13th); 200 free relay (1:40.69, sixth); 200 medley relay (2:02.58, 26th); 400 free relay (3:43.41, 11th)