Just as it has had some back-and-forth games, the Canal Winchester High School girls basketball team has had a back-and-forth season so far.

Just as it has had some back-and-forth games, the Canal Winchester High School girls basketball team has had a back-and-forth season so far.

But with the Indians having lost four of their first five games, coach Willie Jordan is ready to see more "forth" than "back."

"Granted, it's still early, but right now it's a matter of everybody understanding what's being taught," said Jordan, whose team was 1-4 overall before traveling to Lancaster on Dec. 15 and is 1-3 in the OCC-Cardinal Division entering a home game Friday, Dec. 18, against Hilliard Bradley. "We have been in some back-and-forth games. We have had our chances to make plays. Some we've made, some we haven't. But there is growing (taking place)."

Canal Winchester has hung its hat on defense, as it allowed an average of 39.8 points per game through five contests. The Indians play mostly zone, and Jordan acknowledged the team still is trying to make up for the loss of sophomore Erica Babusci, who opted to forgo the season in order to concentrate on cross country and track and field.

"We didn't expect not to have her on the defensive side of the ball," Jordan said. "The thing with our zone is it's been a team effort. We have had to play man-to-man defense sometimes, especially if we've gotten down early and had to come back. Mya (Canelo) spearheads our defense. (Junior guard Kiana) Brooks has been coming off the bench and she can do some good things defensively."

Canelo, a 5-foot-7 junior guard, had shoulder surgery during the offseason but missed only the first game of the season, a 49-40 loss to Worthington Christian on Nov. 20.

That was a season-high in points for the Indians, who have averaged only 33 per game. They hit that mark in a 3-point win over Dublin Scioto in an OCC-Cardinal contest Nov. 27, then lost league games to Westerville South (46-32 on Dec. 4), Hilliard Darby (38-37 on Dec. 8) and Westerville Central (36-23 on Dec. 11).

Marina Rarick averaged a team-high eight points through five games, ahead of Autumn Allen (7.2) and Kynadee Anthony (7.0).

A scheduled game at Circleville on Nov. 24 was postponed because of illness and will be made up Jan. 7 at Canal Winchester. That gives the Indians four consecutive home games between Jan. 7-15.

"We're paying for it now," Jordan said with a laugh, noting that the Indians played three road games in a row to start the OCC-Cardinal schedule and four of five overall, the exception being against Central. "I hope that stretch (gave) us even more character.

"We've adjusted our goals. We want to get to .500 or better, and from there we'll see where we can go. Right now, we aren't changing our goal of winning the conference. We've still got a lot of time to turn things around and just get better."

Boys basketball team looking for points

Several things are in flux for the boys basketball team as it rebuilds from the graduation of all five starters from a year ago, but coach Lyndell Snyder had settled on a consistent starting lineup through the first two weeks of the season.

Canal Winchester has height inside with 6-foot-9 center Seth Miles and 6-7 forward Matt Jones. Cameron Metzler has started at small forward, Robbie Tucker is the starting point guard and Payton Gruly is the shooting guard.

The Indians were 1-3 overall before playing Westland on Dec. 15 and are 0-3 in the OCC-Cardinal entering a game Friday, Dec. 18, at Bradley.

"We're putting the five guys out there that give us the best chance to win. How they perform in practice determines playing time," Snyder said. "I'm waiting for someone to step up and take the reins scoring. Our scoring has been even, but we're doing it in low numbers. We're still trying to find our identity. Do we want to get out and speed things up, or slow down and run sets?

"We just don't have a lot of varsity experience right now, and we are playing a lot of senior-heavy teams."

Canal Winchester opened with a 54-40 win over Licking Heights on Dec. 1, then dropped league games against last year's Division I state runner-up in Westerville South (74-34 on Dec. 4), Darby (57-39 on Dec. 8) and Westerville Central (44-43 in overtime Dec. 11).

Miles had 18 points and Jones and Tucker scored 10 each in the opener, but the Indians did not have a double-digit scorer in their next two games before Tucker scored 15 points against the Warhawks.

The Indians outscored Central 11-5 in the fourth quarter to force overtime, in which they were outscored 6-5.

"We played very well against Licking Heights. The kids executed really well and we ran our stuff," Snyder said. "We struggled to get going against Westerville South ... but they're the best team in central Ohio, and probably in the state of Ohio."

Riddle leads swimmers in Ned Reeb Invite

Freshman Grace Riddle of the girls swimming and diving team was Canal Winchester's top individual in the Ned Reeb Invitational on Dec. 12 at Ohio State.

Riddle was sixth in the 100-yard backstroke (59.42 seconds) and helped the 200 freestyle relay finish 11th (1:41.62) with Miaya Green, Hannah Olger and Kassidy Pastor. Riddle also was 22nd in the 200 free (2:03.41).

Canal Winchester scored 39 points to tie Liberty Union for 25th of 37 teams, behind champion Upper Arlington (305).

Riddle, Green, Olger, Pastor, Emily Clubb, Julia Kotwis and Karenna Reed were the only Indians to participate in Flight A events in the Ned Reeb Invitational. Riddle and the 200 free relay were the only swimmers to make either the championship and consolation flights.

No boys swimmers for the Indians participated in Flight A races.