The Centennial High School boys basketball team has set its sights on winning the City League-North Division championship.
"I think the sky is the limit this year," 17th-year coach Roosevelt Osborne III said. "We've got a lot of pieces. It's a matter of getting the younger guys acclimated to varsity and finding a replacement for (2018 graduate) Sean Tyson, who was an all-City guard for us. We can shoot it, (and) we've got guys hungry to play defense and cut off the lane. We just need someone to create."
Last season, the Stars finished 12-11 overall and went 7-7 in the City-North to tie for fourth behind champion Beechcroft (14-0).
In addition to Tyson, who led the team in scoring (13.8 points), assists (6.1) and steals (2.7), the Stars also lost Gary Elder, a guard who averaged 12.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.1 steals.
Returning starters are 6-7 senior forward Myles Martinez and 6-3 sophomore guard Jaylen Gilbert.
Martinez averaged 10.7 points and 5.1 rebounds a year ago, and Gilbert averaged 10.7 points and a team-high 6.9 rebounds. Martinez was honorable mention all-league and Gilbert was honorable mention all-district in Division II.
"Myles does a great job all over the floor," Osborne said. "He screens, takes charges and can shoot it. He has tremendous potential and I think we're going to see him have his best year yet.
"Jaylen is a combo guard who could play the point, but has really developed his shot in the offseason. He can flat-out play. He competed for Team Ohio last spring in Italy and he had 22 points and 20 rebounds in the championship game there."
Also returning are senior Dom Cesaro (5-8, guard), juniors Alex Crippen (6-2, forward), Ahmed Dada (6-3, forward), Kelvin Gilliam (6-3, forward) and Cameron Kates (5-10, guard) and sophomore Jaylon Jackson (5-10, guard).
"Kelvin is very strong and he'll give you everything he has," Osborne said. "We're still waiting for so many of our football guys to get into basketball form. It usually takes 30 to 40 days."
Newcomers include seniors Isaiah King (6-2, guard) and Amin Mullins (6-0, guard), junior Luchene Davis (5-9, guard) and sophomores Travonne Jackson (6-4, guard) and Syquee Womack (5-11, guard).
Travonne Jackson is a transfer from South, and Osborne is hoping he can be in the mix to replace Tyson.
"Travonne is 6-4 and can play the point, just like Jaylen and a few other guys," Osborne said. "We've got a number of candidates who could handle the position, but they also have to handle everything that comes with it. We may use all of (our guards) in interchangeable ways, depending on who can beat their defender, who is making shots from the perimeter and things like that."
Osborne also hopes to see a strong rebounding effort across the board, noting the Stars have good size at every position despite not having "a skyscraper in the middle."
Centennial opened Dec. 4 at Sparta Highland and begins City-North play Tuesday, Dec. 11, at home against Beechcroft.
In addition to City games, Osborne said the Stars also are excited about a Jan. 19 game against Olentangy at Hoosier Gym in Knightstown, Indiana.
"We have the chance to play on the floor where the teams from (the movie) 'Hoosiers' played," he said. "It's a pretty neat thing. Of course, I've asked some of our kids and they know nothing about the movie. So we're going to rent or buy the movie and make sure all of our guys have seen the movie before we head over there."
Wrestling team seeks improvement, stability
The wrestling team has only five returnees and seven first-year competitors.
Still, fifth-year coach Brian Knisley is thankful for what he has to work with this season.
"We have 10 out of 14 weight classes filled, which is more than we had last year plus we have great senior leadership," Knisley said. "One of our strengths is how aggressive we are as a team.
"Most of our team is composed of younger wrestlers. We have seven first-year guys on a roster of 12, which is going to lead to a lot of growing pains."
The returnees are seniors Flaviano DiPaolo (138), Oscar Espino (heavyweight) and Lamont Rankin (220) and juniors Kyle Hicks (145) and Maurice Lemons (170).
The Stars had just three athletes compete in a Division II sectional last season, as academic issues and other criteria derailed the progress the team had made. Centennial finished with just three seniors on the roster.
Rankin placed sixth at sectional.
"Lamont was the most improved wrestler by the end of last season," Knisley said. "He wrestled and beat some tough kids toward the end of the season. He was one match away from being a district qualifier, and I am looking for him to qualify this year."
Also competing at sectional were DiPaolo and Espino.
"Flaviano is a four-year wrestler and has the most experience on the team," Knisley said. "He is almost like an extra coach. He is a huge help to get the younger guys to learn the correct techniques and he is a team captain and leader.
"Oscar had a great first year as a wrestler. I am excited to see what he can do in his second year to build on this success. He has learned a few new moves to add to his arsenal from last year."
Hicks was ill and did not compete at sectional last year.
"Kyle has worked a lot in the offseason to become a better wrestler," Knisley said. "He is a lot stronger this year. Last year he wrestled a lot of matches and gained some good experience."
Rounding out the roster are senior Ky'Li Henterson-McKnight (145), junior Daniel Anoyke (heavyweight), sophomore Deswar Ali (160) and freshmen Nate Foley (182), Matt Garduno (132), Sherad Goree (195) and Deven Price (126).
"The first goal we have as a team is to win the Golden Grappler against Whetstone (on Feb. 6 at home)," Knisley said. "We hope to finish in the top five at the City championships and to send more kids to districts than we have in recent years."
Dec. 4 -- at Sparta Highland
Dec. 8 -- vs. Independence
*Dec. 11 -- vs. Beechcroft
*Dec. 14 -- vs. Mifflin
*Dec. 18 -- vs. East
*Dec. 21 -- at International
Jan. 5 -- Pickerington North at Africentric in City-OCC Challenge
*Jan. 8 -- at Whetstone
*Jan. 11 -- vs. Linden-McKinley
Jan. 12 -- vs. Dayton Stivers
*Jan. 15 -- vs. Northland
*Jan. 18 -- at Beechcroft
Jan. 19 -- Olentangy at Hoosier Gym in Knightstown, Ind.
*Jan. 22 -- at Mifflin
*Jan. 25 -- at East
Jan. 26 -- at Hilliard Davidson
*Jan. 29 -- vs. International
*Feb. 1 -- vs. Whetstone
*Feb. 5 -- at Linden-McKinley
*Feb. 8 -- at Northland
Feb. 9 -- vs. St. Charles
Feb. 15 -- vs. Cristo Rey
Dec. 1 -- Tony Pizzurro Memorial Tournament at DeSales
Dec. 4 -- at New Albany
Dec. 8 -- Big Walnut Classic
Dec. 15 -- Big Dawg Invitational at Dresden Tri-Valley
Dec. 20 -- at Columbus Academy with St. Charles
Jan. 8 -- at New Albany
Jan. 10 -- at Westerville North
Jan. 16 -- at Northland with Olentangy Orange
Jan. 19 -- Ron Thomas Invitational at Jonathan Alder
Jan. 23 -- City duals prelims
Jan. 26 -- Cleveland Horizon Science and St. Louis Gateway Academy in Concept Cup at home
Jan. 29 -- at Watterson
Jan. 31 -- City duals finals
Feb. 2 -- Madison Plains Tournament
Feb. 6 -- vs. Whetstone
Feb. 9 -- at Utica
Feb. 16 -- City League tournament at Mifflin
Below are the coming schedules for the Centennial girls basketball and bowling teams:
*Dec. 7 -- Home vs. Northland
*Dec. 11 -- At Beechcroft
Dec. 12 -- At Westland
*Dec. 7 -- Bexley at Holiday Lanes