The Columbus Academy boys basketball team entered the season with high hopes.

With several players back from a team that went 20-5 overall last year, losing to Ready 64-56 in a Division III district semifinal, the Vikings are hoping to advance further in the postseason.

Academy opened on a positive note as it traveled to Hudson Western Reserve Academy on Nov. 30 and defeated the Pioneers 59-42.

The Vikings open MSL-Ohio Division play Dec. 14 against Worthington Christian.

"We're fine with who we are," eighth-year coach Jeff Warstler said. "We're going to show up and try to get after it. We have good experience back. We have guys who have been in situations, tough situations. We have to develop some depth."

Leading the returnees is 6-foot senior point guard Dorrian Moultrie, who averaged a team-best 10.7 points last season and was named first-team all-league and third-team all-district.

Chris Boyle, a 6-4 wing player, averaged 9.5 points and a team-high 6.2 rebounds and was first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district. Senior Hayden Compton, a 6-4 post player, averaged 3.9 rebounds and was honorable mention all-league.

Moultrie scored 14 points and Compton added 13 against Western Reserve.

Also back are seniors Deven Cobb (5-11, guard), Dalyn DeCree (6-4, post player), Malcolm Klingbeil (6-4, forward) and Evan Scott (5-11, guard) and junior Carter Warstler (6-0, guard).

Klingbeil missed last season after suffering an ACL injury during the preseason. Cobb is expected to miss the early part of the season as he recovers from a right ankle injury sustained during football season.

DeCree said solid defense will be a key to the team's success.

"It's something that we work on day in and day out," he said. "It's pretty much what this program is built on. ... Of course, our ultimate goal is to win state, but we're just trying to go as far as we can."

Other players are juniors Andrew Cahall (6-2, post player), David Cooperman (6-1, wing player), Josh Murry (5-10, guard) and Mitch Priest (6-1, wing player/post player) and sophomore Jared Kass (6-2, guard/wing player).

"I think we can defend," coach Warstler said. "We have some length. Our guards are really good defenders, so we can go out and get into people and our post guys are super smart. They can stay back and help us out. We can be pretty aggressive going after people because we're quick enough and long enough."

Last season, the Vikings went 6-4 in the MSL-Ohio to tie Bexley for third behind co-champions Grandview and Whitehall (both 8-2).

"Grandview will be the prohibitive favorite," coach Warstler said. "I think they're a (state tournament) team (in Division III). ... The rest of us are going to work. The league is a grind."

Girls basketball team returns solid group

The girls basketball team figures to be led by 5-9 senior forward Shelemiah Crockett, who was honorable mention all-district and all-league last season.

Academy, which opens MSL-Ohio play Friday, Dec. 7, against visiting Worthington Christian, defeated Genoa Christian 41-21 on Nov. 26 and Madison Christian 54-15 on Nov. 27.

"We're off to a good start," said JoAnne Adams, who is in her third season sharing coaching duties with Ron McClendon. "We're in a really good spot. We have more girls who are comfortable handling the ball."

Crockett scored nine points against Genoa Christian and 16 against Madison Christian.

After finishing 1-19 in 2016-17, the Vikings went 11-13 overall and 2-8 in the MSL-Ohio last season.

"We've improved a lot," Crockett said. "Some of the newer girls that have come in have really pulled everybody else up with them. We're playing harder and faster and it should be a good year."

Also back are seniors Jenny L'Hommedieu (5-6, guard) and Aiyana Taylor (5-6, forward), juniors Emma Belford (5-6, guard), Alex Phelps (5-5, guard) and Mackenzie Smith (5-5, guard) and sophomores Charlotte Adams (5-9, forward) and Suzy L'Hommedieu (5-5, guard).

Adams is expected to miss the early part of the season with a left foot injury sustained during the field hockey season.

Senior Sidney Derzon (5-9, forward) sat out last season with a knee injury. Other players are sophomore Kayla McClendon (5-6, guard) and freshmen Aniah Crockett (5-6, guard), Sophie Spolter (5-5, guard) and Claudia Warstler (5-10, forward/guard).

Junior guard Kiersten Thomassey opted not to play this season.

"We lack height this season," coach Adams said. "That's going to be a problem, but we're fast and we're just so much better."

Hockey team out to good start

The hockey team is out to a strong start in its first varsity season.

The Vikings are 3-1 overall and 2-1 in the Capital Hockey Conference. They opened with a 4-1 win over Cincinnati Sycamore on Nov. 17 then earned league victories over Dublin Scioto (11-3 on Nov. 18) and Gahanna (5-1 on Nov. 30) before losing to Thomas Worthington 7-2 on Dec. 1.

Academy played a junior varsity schedule in its first season a year ago, finishing 18-8-2 overall and 10-5-1 in the CHC-White.

"I'm really happy, but not really surprised (by our start)," second-year coach Corey Taber said. "I knew we were only going to get stronger this year. We didn't lose anyone last year and we have consistently improved since day one in the fall of last year."

Back is senior forward Cole Walker, who scored two goals against Gahanna. Sophomore forward Campbell Gwin also scored twice.

"(Our start is) a big step in the right direction," Walker said. "We had a really good season in j.v. last year and it was a good time to move up. We're playing pretty well up here."

Also back are seniors Keenan Bellisari (forward), Gunnar Geiger (defenseman), Oscar Giller (defenseman), David Li (forward/defenseman), Aidan Macchia (forward), Greyson Noblitt (defenseman), Jacob Sardo (forward) and Tyler Schlonsky (forward) and sophomores Luke Budzik (forward), Max Crane (goaltender), Patrick Daly (defenseman), Andrew Golden (forward) and Nate Rausch (forward).

"This is a special year," Geiger said. "We really want to get things going for the future. It starts with us, going out there and working hard."

Other players are junior Philip Soderberg (forward) and freshmen Kyle Bernstorf (goalie), Jack Carlin (forward), Jake Carlin (forward), Connor Harris (defenseman), Allen Koganov (defenseman), Arden Preza (forward), Alex Sterkowicz (forward), Max Walker (forward) and Andrew Zaki (forward).

Along with Scioto and Gahanna, Academy is competing in the CHC-Blue with DeSales, Olentangy Berlin and Thomas.

"The way the league had changed into a three-tier split, it allowed for newer teams like us, Scioto and Berlin to come in at the lower division in varsity," Taber said. "That worked out really well for us and it allows us to have some pretty consistent hockey."

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

Schedules

BOYS BASKETBALL

Nov. 30 -- at Hudson Western Reserve

Dec. 5 -- vs. Cristo Rey

Dec. 8 -- at Central Crossing

Dec. 11 -- at Fairfield Union

Dec. 12 -- vs. Marion-Franklin

*Dec. 14 -- vs. Worthington Christian

*Dec. 22 -- at Bexley

Dec. 27-28 -- Briggs Tournament

*Jan. 4 -- vs. Grandview

Jan. 9 -- at Johnstown

*Jan. 12 -- at Whitehall

Jan. 17 -- vs. Horizon Science

Jan. 19 -- vs. Wellington

Jan. 21 -- Gallipolis Gallia Academy in Route 40 Classic at West Muskingum

*Jan. 25 -- at Worthington Christian

Jan. 29 -- at West Jefferson

*Feb. 1 -- vs. Bexley

Feb. 5 -- vs. Ready

*Feb. 8 -- at Grandview

Feb. 12 -- at Watkins Memorial

*Feb. 15 -- vs. Whitehall

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Nov. 26- vs. Genoa Christian

Nov. 27 -- at Madison Christian

Dec. 4 -- vs. Wellington

*Dec. 7 -- vs. Worthington Christian

Dec. 12 -- at Patriot Prep

*Dec. 15 -- vs. Bexley

*Dec. 21 -- at Grandview

*Jan. 5 -- vs. Whitehall

Jan. 8 -- at Genoa Christian

Jan. 11 -- vs. Northridge

Jan. 12 -- at Tree of Life

Jan. 15 -- at Delaware Christian

Jan. 17 -- vs. Horizon Science

*Jan. 19 -- at Worthington Christian

Jan. 23 -- vs. Independence

*Jan. 25 -- at Bexley

Jan. 29 -- vs. New Hope Christian

Jan. 31 -- at Harvest Prep

*Feb. 2 -- vs. Grandview

Feb. 5 -- at Columbus School for Girls

*Feb. 8 -- at Whitehall

HOCKEY

Nov. 17 -- Cincinnati Sycamore at Sports Plus Cincinnati

*Nov. 18 -- Dublin Scioto at Chiller Dublin

*Nov. 30 -- Gahanna at Chiller Easton

*Dec. 1 -- Thomas Worthington at Chiller North

Dec. 7 -- Springboro at South Metro Sports

*Dec. 8 -- DeSales at Chiller Easton

Dec. 9 -- Northeast at Chiller North

Dec. 15 -- Olentangy at Chiller Easton

*Dec. 21 -- Gahanna at Chiller Easton

*Dec. 22 -- Olentangy Berlin at Chiller North

Jan. 3 -- Olentangy Orange at Chiller Easton

Jan. 4 -- Athens at Bird Arena

*Jan. 6 -- Dublin Scioto at Chiller Easton

Jan. 11 -- New Albany at Chiller Dublin

Jan. 12 -- Watterson at Chiller Dublin

*Jan. 13 -- Thomas Worthington at Chiller Easton

Jan. 19-20 -- Walter F. Ehrnfelt Memorial Tournament at OBM Arena in Strongsville

*Jan. 25 -- DeSales at Chiller Easton

Jan. 27 -- Watterson at Chiller North

Feb. 1 -- Westerville at OhioHealth Ice Haus

*Feb. 2 -- Olentangy Berlin at Chiller Easton

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the Columbus Academy bowling, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:

BOWLING

*Dec. 6 -- Columbus West at HP Lanes

*Dec. 7 -- Worthington Christian at HP Lanes

*Dec. 12 -- Northland at HP Lanes

SWIMMING & DIVING

Dec. 7 -- Home vs. Delaware

Dec. 8 -- Ned Reeb Invitational at Ohio State

WRESTLING

Dec. 6 -- Home vs. Hamilton Township, Madison Plains and Worthington Kilbourne

Dec. 8 -- Logan Invitational

*League contest