The Canal Winchester High School boys basketball team plays three games over the winter break, including a contest Wednesday at home against Columbus South and Jan. 2 at Watterson.

The Canal Winchester High School boys basketball team plays three games over the winter break, including a contest Wednesday at home against Columbus South and Jan. 2 at Watterson.

The Indians hope to fine-tune their game in those contests before they return to MSL-Buckeye Division play Feb. 8 at home against Circleville.

Coach Kent Riggs would never choose to enter a season with five new starters, but he said having a new starting lineup, as well as many new faces on varsity, has made it difficult for opponents to game plan for the Indians.

"I think that's been the case a little bit for us," Riggs said. "For us, when we're looking at who we're playing sometimes, all we have to go on is what the kids did last year. People see our scoring from a year ago and Trace (Helton) is the only one they can get a handle on."

Yet Helton isn't the only player capable of scoring. Amanda-Clearcreek found that out last Friday when the Indians won 64-28. Canal Winchester led 18-8 after the first quarter and 35-18 at halftime. Kenny Moore led all scorers with 15 points. Kyle Schriml had 13 points and Helton scored 11.

Prior to beating Amanda-Clearcreek, the Indians picked up a big non-league win by defeating Thomas Worthington 61-52 on Dec. 15. A 10-point halftime lead turned into a two-point deficit entering the fourth quarter, but the Indians regained the lead in the final quarter and held off the Cardinals.

"I thought we played well for two-and-a-half quarters," Riggs said. "It's always good to get a win against (Thomas coach) Bob Miller, who's one of the best in central Ohio."

Helton paced Canal Winchester with 22 points and Michael Walker had 20, including four 3-pointers.

"That was the first game that Mike shot the way we know he can," Riggs said. "He's a first-year varsity guy, so he's starting to get a little more comfortable out there. We know he's a good shooter."

•The girls basketball team plays just one game -- a non-league game at Groveport on Wednesday -- between Christmas and a MSL-Buckeye contest on Jan. 5 against Teays Valley. Coach Adam Twiss will use the time to help the team rebound from its first league loss, a 48-39 loss to Fairfield Union last Friday.

"Especially coming off a loss, we need to turn around and get out there and execute," Twiss said. "Without a lot of practice, there's not a whole lot we can change. But we'll use these non-league games to throw some more things out there and try to become more well-rounded."

The loss to the Falcons dropped Canal Winchester into a second-place tie with Fairfield Union (4-1) in the MSL-Buckeye behind Teays Valley (4-0).

"I don't think we can learn anything from losing," Twiss said. "Our girls didn't take them lightly, they just had a good game plan. We didn't make adjustments quick enough and that was the one thing that was disappointing."

Before losing to Fairfield Union, the Indians earned their fourth league win by defeating Circleville 44-41 on Dec. 15. Tykia Savage and Kayla Scott each scored 10 points and Ashley Dexter and Cara Jeffers both scored eight.

•The wrestling team competes at the Medina Invitational Tournament on Monday and Tuesday. It will be the toughest event the Indians have competed in thus far this season.

Last year, Canal Winchester took 15th overall out of 40 teams and was fourth out of all Division II teams at the tournament. Brady Hutchins and Conrad Rosch are the only returning Indians who placed at the tournament last year.

The Indians are also hoping for a better performance than they had last Saturday when they competed in the New Albany Invitational. The New Albany Invitational is a bracket-style tournament that moves to duals, and Canal Winchester finished ninth behind champion Jonathan Alder. The Indians lost both duals in which they competed.