Kylee Soga of the Bexley High School girls basketball team has come up with a plan for opponents who try to face-guard her.

Kylee Soga of the Bexley High School girls basketball team has come up with a plan for opponents who try to face-guard her.

The senior guard will force anyone who gets in her face to chase her around the court.

"I'm known around the (MSL-Ohio Division) to be a shooter," Soga said. "Newark Catholic and Granville pressured me and face-guarded me a lot more than teams have in the past. I've been working on running around more and making the girl who's guarding me work, because it gets really, really annoying to have someone literally in your face."

That kind of personal attention is a compliment for Soga. The last two seasons, opponents have been concerned primarily with stopping 2009 graduate Ashley Dennis and 2010 graduate Lily Watson.

In a 52-43 win over Lakewood last Saturday, coach Jim Strode said Bexley showed the offensive balance it hopes to have throughout this season. Junior guard Bailey Breese scored 11 of her 17 points from the foul line, and Soga (15) and senior Jelicia Shelton (12) also scored in double figures.

Through six games, Soga was averaging 15 points and Shelton was averaging 12. Soga had made nine of the Lions' 16 3-pointers.

In a 46-41 loss to Heath on Dec. 2, Shelton was held to one point but Soga scored 16 and Breese and senior center Amubie Sam Agwor both scored nine.

In 43-34 victory over Whitehall two days later, Soga didn't play but Shelton had 17 points and Breese scored a season-high 12.

"This year we have a couple more players scoring than the past couple of years," Strode said. "Jelicia and Kylee have really stepped up their games this season.

"When teams try to shut one of them down, it opens up things not only for the other, but for the rest of the girls on the team."

Last season, Bexley made 30 percent of its field goals, averaged 37.4 points and topped the 55-point mark only twice.

In their last eight games of last season, the Lions' scoring average dropped to 31.3.

To encourage players to work on their shooting during the offseason, Strode started the 15,000-basket club. Players were expected to track how many shots they made over the summer. According to Strode, Shelton and eighth-grader Elise Torrence were the only players to surpass the 15,000-basket mark.

Strode said the offseason shooting has made a difference in Shelton's game. The senior has gone from averaging 4.1 points last season to 12 through six games this season. She had 22 points and 15 rebounds in a 54-43 victory over Newark Catholic on Dec. 14.

Although Soga spent part of the summer preparing for volleyball, she and her brother, Dylan, an eighth-grader at Bexley Middle School, would go to the gym and work on their shooting.

"The offseason work helps me go from one sport to the other," Soga said.

Last season, Soga averaged 8.8 points, shot 25 percent from the field and made 18 percent of her 3-point attempts. This season she has been working on finding other ways to help the team other than shooting from behind the 3-point line.

Last season, Soga never scored 10 or more points without hitting a 3-pointer. Against Newark Catholic's tight perimeter defense, she scored 16 points by going inside and drawing fouls. She made all six of her free-throw attempts.

The win over the Green Wave was Bexley's first since the 2007-08 season, Soga's freshman year. That season, the Lions beat Newark Catholic 45-44 and 63-60 on their way to the league championship.

"That was an amazing feeling," Soga said of the Dec. 14 win over Newark Catholic. "We just defeated one of our biggest rivals. I couldn't sleep afterwards because I was so excited."

•After competing in a quad match with Columbus South, Harvest Prep and Whetstone last Tuesday, the wrestling team has nine days to get ready for the Ready Winter Classic, which will be held on Wednesday and Dec. 30.

"We're going to be spending our time trying to become better takedown artists," coach Shawn Straub said. "I think we could be ripe for a championship there. We have several strong kids, but we can't have a letdown or a breakdown (at Ready)."

•Senior Sam Urell was one of two field hockey players in Ohio to be named to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association All Region Team.

Urell, who scored 21 goals and had 10 assists this past season and was named first-team all-state, is the first player during coach Kara Hardesty's eight-year tenure to make the all-region team.

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Bexley boys basketball, girls basketball, swimming and diving, and wrestling teams:


*Dec. 16 - Defeated Whitehall 46-38. Jon Primes scored 15 points and Evan Porter scored 12. The Lions outscored the Rams 26-13 in the first half.

*Last Tuesday - Played Granville

Wednesday - At Circleville. The Lions won 70-49 last season.

Of note: The Lions were 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the MSL-Ohio before last Tuesday.


*Dec. 14 - Def. Newark Catholic 54-43. Jelicia Shelton scored 22 points and Kylee Soga scored 16.

*Last Saturday - Def. Lakewood 52-43. Bailey Breese scored 17 points, Soga scored 15 and Shelton scored 12.

Last Tuesday - Played Buckeye Valley

Last Wednesday - Played Beech-croft

Dec. 30 - At Washington Court House. The Lions won 46-42 in overtime last season.

*Jan. 4 - Home vs. Licking Valley. The Lions split with the Panthers last season, winning 39-34 and losing 46-30.

Of note: The Lions were 3-3 overall before last Tuesday and are 3-2 in the MSL-Ohio.


Last Friday - Boys: Lost to Grove City 111-58; Girls: Lost to Grove City 85-83

Jan. 7 - Grandview at Columbus Aquatic Center


Last Tuesday - Competed against Columbus South, Harvest Prep and Whetstone

Wednesday-Dec. 30 - Ready Winter Classic

*MSL-Ohio contest