Entering the season with an inexperienced and undersized team, Bexley High School boys basketball coach Todd Phillips knew his offensive and defensive schemes would be centered around the play of his senior guards.

Entering the season with an inexperienced and undersized team, Bexley High School boys basketball coach Todd Phillips knew his offensive and defensive schemes would be centered around the play of his senior guards.

Cole Heilman and Miles Penn have developed into the leaders they were expected to be, but each has a different style of leadership.

"Those two are kind of our heart and soul," said Phillips, whose team was 4-8 overall before playing St. Charles on Jan. 19 and is 3-4 in the MSL-Ohio Division. "They're kind of a ying and a yang and they complement each other very well."

Penn, who is a defensive asset for the Lions, is a vocal leader whom Phillips describes as an extension of the coaching staff.

Heilman, who is one of the team's scoring leaders, is a quiet leader.

He led four players in double figures with 16 points in a 73-54 win over Shekinah Christian on Jan. 15 in Wellington's Jaguar Invitational. The following day, he was Bexley's top scorer with 13 points in a 56-43 loss to Wellington.

Heilman, who said he's a "lead-by-example kind of guy" also was a leader for the boys soccer team, which reached a district final for the fifth consecutive season last fall before losing 6-1 to eventual Division II state champion DeSales.

A member of the ThisWeek Super 12 team, Heilman ended his prep soccer career as Bexley's all-time leading scorer with 67 goals and 62 assists.

"No matter what sport, I just feel like if you're working hard and playing your best others are going to follow," Heilman said. "I feel like I've not only got to be one of the main scorers, but also I've got to create for others."

The Lions' victory over Shekinah Christian marked their highest offensive output of the season. Bexley has been struggling from the field, shooting around 37 percent.

Against Columbus Academy on Jan. 12, Bexley managed just a single point in the fourth quarter as the Vikings went on an 18-1 run over the final 9 minutes to win 45-33.

"When you think about it, this is a team with a lot of young guys," Penn said. "They're still trying to get their time in. We've got guys who just came from playing eighth-grade and freshman basketball. When they get on the floor, we've got to calm them down so they'll be able to contribute to the rest of the team."

Bexley will need plenty of firepower Friday, Jan. 22, when it plays Whitehall for the second time this season.

The Rams were led by Antoine Vaughn's 21 points in an 89-42 win over the Lions on Dec. 8.

Whitehall entered the week tied with Worthington Christian atop the league standings at 7-1.

"I think now we're at a point where we're pressing a little bit, but I still have confidence we will pull out of this offensive slump," Phillips said.

Girls basketball team wins three in a row

The girls basketball team had won three consecutive games before playing MSL-Ohio leader West Jefferson on Jan. 19.

Two of those victories came against Columbus School for Girls (49-16 on Jan. 15) and Wellington (53-37 on Jan. 16) in Wellington's Jaguar Invitational as the Lions won the event and improved to 10-5 overall.

Brie Toney had 25 points in a 67-30 league win over Whitehall on Jan. 14.

She then had 15 points against CSG and 26 against Wellington.

Bexley entered the week 6-3 in the MSL-Ohio, trailing West Jefferson (8-1) and London (7-2).

Wrestling team places ninth at Licking Heights

With four competitors earning top-four finishes, the wrestling placed ninth of 20 teams in the Licking Heights Invitational held Jan. 15 and 16.

Grant Robinson was second at 220 pounds, Perrin Ruff (138) and Jon Clark (145) were third and Eric Crane (152) was fourth.

Bexley scored 85 points to place behind champion Westerville North (291.5).