With several key players back, Dublin Scioto High School girls basketball coach Jen Music believes her team has the potential to achieve its goals.
The Irish are looking to defend their OCC-Cardinal Division title and advance further in the Division I district tournament. Last season, Scioto finished 12-11 overall, shared the league title with Thomas Worthington at 9-3 and lost to Hilliard Davidson 54-52 in the first round of the district tournament.
"We talk about (last year's league title) some, but we haven't really made it a focus of our season," said Music, who is in her sixth season. "If we do the things that we want to do well, it will happen for us. It would be nice to have (the title) outright."
The Irish opened Nov. 23 with a 55-45 loss to Logan in the Gary West Tip-Off Classic at Reynoldsburg.
Natalie Hutras, 5-foot-9 senior forward, led Scioto with 20 points, seven steals and six rebounds. She led the team in scoring a season ago, averaging 11.5 points, and was named first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district.
"This year, we want to be successful and not share (the league title) and work hard to achieve what we achieved last year," Hutras said.
Two other key players have returned in 5-10 junior guard Lauren Erickson, who averaged 11.3 points and was second-team all-league last season, and 5-3 senior guard Brianna Jordan, who averaged 6.8 points and was honorable mention all-league.
Also back are senior Sabrina Veliev (5-4, guard), juniors Marlae Davis (5-8, guard/forward), Folu Olujide-Ajibade (6-0, center) and Fola Olujide-Ajibade (6-0, center) and sophomores Ashleigh Rothe (5-9, guard/forward) and Karleigh Rothe (5-9, guard/forward).
Rounding out the team are juniors Alex Birko (5-6, guard) and Dalma Kiss (5-10, forward) and sophomore Avery Schwab (5-5, guard).
Kiss is an exchange student from Germany.
"We have a really strong core group, but we also have a lot of new people on our team, so we'll have a really good team this year," Hutras said. "We have some new faces, but I think it's going to go well."
Scioto opens OCC-Cardinal play Tuesday, Dec. 4, at home against Jerome.
Last season, Music and Thomas' Laurie Barr shared league Coach of the Year honors. Barr retired after 10 seasons with the Cardinals.
"We're sticking with the grit theme. That's how we won last year," Music said. "A lot of the stuff that we do is based on our defense. We want to be aggressive and have controlled chaos when we play."
Hockey team returns to varsity schedule
After playing predominantly a junior varsity schedule the past three seasons, the hockey team has returned to competing at the varsity level.
The Irish opened Nov. 18 with an 11-3 loss to Columbus Academy and were 0-5 after losing to the Northeast Storm 15-0 in the Chiller Thanksgiving Classic on Nov. 25 at Chiller North. They opened the event with a 9-2 loss to Louisville (Kentucky) Trinity on Nov. 23 and lost to DeSales 6-5 in a shootout and Gahanna 3-1 on Nov. 24.
Junior forward Pete Hrelec, who scored 24 goals last season, had a hat trick against Academy.
"We thought Academy might be at the top of the division, but we didn't see this score coming," fourth-year coach Morgan Langworthy said. "We want to build on this. A game like this stinks, but if this is the bottom, we can just build on it from here. We have a good group. They'll bounce back."
Senior forward Avery Langworthy, who had 11 goals and 21 assists last season, and junior defenseman Matt Gast, who had six goals and 21 assists, are other key returnees.
Also back are seniors Sean McGowan (defenseman) and A.J. Waizmann (forward), juniors Matt Hamlin (forward) and David Loew (forward) and sophomore Nick Gould (defenseman).
Senior Will Clark, who is in his first season with the Irish, is the team's lone goaltender.
Rounding out the team are senior Jalyn Ware (forward), junior Cole Nolan (forward), sophomore Bennett Obenour (forward) and freshmen Holland Bell (forward) and Ryan Wallace (forward).
Scioto is competing in the Capital Hockey Conference-Blue Division with Academy, DeSales, Gahanna, Olentangy Berlin and Thomas Worthington.
"This is where we need to be," coach Langworthy said. "We had a couple of extra teams come in the league. It should work out really well for us. We want to finish in the top half of our division. That's a realistic goal for us."
Nov. 23 -- Logan in Gary West Tip-Off Classic at Reynoldsburg
Nov. 27 -- vs. Grove City
Dec. 1 -- vs. Hilliard Davidson
*Dec. 4 -- vs. Jerome
*Dec. 7 -- at Olentangy Berlin
Dec. 10 -- at DeSales
*Dec. 14 -- vs. Delaware
*Dec. 18 -- vs. Hilliard Darby
*Dec. 21 -- vs. Thomas Worthington
Dec. 27 -- at Louisville
*Jan. 4 -- at Worthington Kilbourne
Jan. 5 -- at Olentangy
*Jan. 8 -- vs. Hilliard Bradley
*Jan. 11 -- at Jerome
Jan. 16 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty
*Jan. 18 -- vs. Olentangy Berlin
*Jan. 22 -- at Hilliard Darby
*Jan. 25 -- at Delaware
*Feb. 1 -- vs. Worthington Kilbourne
Feb. 2 -- vs. Chillicothe
*Feb. 5 -- at Thomas Worthington
*Feb. 8 -- at Hilliard Bradley
*Nov. 18 -- Columbus Academy at Chiller Dublin
Nov. 23 -- Louisville (Ky.) Trinity in Chiller Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller North
Nov. 24 -- DeSales and Gahanna in Chiller Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller North
Nov. 25 -- Northeast in Chiller Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller North
*Dec. 7 -- Olentangy Berlin at Chiller North
*Dec. 8 -- Gahanna at Chiller Dublin
*Dec. 14 -- DeSales at Chiller Dublin
*Dec. 16 -- Thomas Worthington at Chiller North
*Dec. 22 -- DeSales at Chiller Easton
*Dec. 23 -- Watterson at Chiller Dublin
*Dec. 28 -- Thomas Worthington at Chiller Dublin
*Dec. 30 -- Springboro at Chiller Dublin
*Jan. 5 -- Olentangy at Chiller Dublin
*Jan. 6 -- Columbus Academy at Chiller Easton
*Jan. 12 -- Coffman at Chiller Dublin
Jan. 18-21 -- Olentangy Orange Pioneer Classic at Chiller North
*Jan. 26 -- Olentangy Orange at Chiller North
*Jan. 27 -- Olentangy Berlin at Chiller Dublin
*Feb. 2 -- Gahanna at Chiller Easton
Feb. 7-10 -- Blue Jackets Cup
Below are the coming schedules for the Scioto boys basketball, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
Nov. 30 -- Home vs. Whetstone
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 1 -- At Thomas Worthington with Coffman and Worthington Kilbourne
Dec. 1 -- Olentangy Invitational