In what was his next-to-last game coaching Upper Arlington, first-year Watterson High School hockey coach Jay Graham's fourth-seeded Golden Bears upset top-seeded St. Charles 7-6 in a district semifinal last season.

In what was his next-to-last game coaching Upper Arlington, first-year Watterson High School hockey coach Jay Graham's fourth-seeded Golden Bears upset top-seeded St. Charles 7-6 in a district semifinal last season.

The type of success enjoyed in recent years by St. Charles -- which reached the state tournament for the first time in 2014 -- is what the Eagles will be striving to achieve under Graham, who led UA to a district runner-up finish last winter and compiled a 280-259-34 record in 17 seasons with the Bears.

Graham took over in May as the Eagles' coach. He replaced Don Lewis, who coached Watterson from its inception in the 2009-10 season.

The Eagles finished 15-16 overall in 2014-15 but slipped to 3-16-2 a year ago.

"Two years ago, they did relatively well, but they've struggled to grow the program in the direction they've wanted," Graham said. "We're trying to get Watterson to be something more comparable to St. Charles hockey and trying to offer a program that's more enticing."

The Eagles opened Nov. 25 with a 9-0 loss to New Albany in the Midwest Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller North. In the same event Nov. 26, they bounced back to beat the Strongsville youth club 5-2 before losing to Olentangy 6-3. They then beat Dublin Scioto 5-4 on Nov. 27.

Watterson, which went 1-12-2 in the four-team CHC-Blue Division last season, has a four-member senior class that features defenseman Thomas Abrams and forwards Branden Arens and Jake Shultz.

The other senior is goaltender Adrian Farhat, who is one of three at the position along with sophomore Ryan Roark and freshman Max Graham, who is the coach's son. Farhat battled an injury during the preseason.

Junior forwards Nick Kuraly and Jack Geswein and junior defenseman Nick Naderhoff are other returnees.

Sophomore forward Adam Fallon, who is new to the program, has club experience and figures to take on a key role.

Others looking to contribute include juniors Ian Callahan (defenseman) and Keiler Rodil (forward) and sophomores Jack Kish (defenseman) and Danny Kraft (defenseman).

"So far, it's been going really well," coach Graham said. "It's been better than I expected coming over from Upper Arlington. It's refreshing because they're eager to learn. We're going to go through some growing pains, but they're picking up things relatively quickly."

Coach 'really excited' about girls team

When 16th-year girls basketball coach Tom Woodford thinks about the temperament of his team, he sees a lot of himself.

"This team probably matches my personality more closely than any team I've ever had," Woodford said. "If you've seen me coach, you know I'm not a sit-down quiet kind of guy. I'm a guy with a lot of energy, and what I love about this team is that they play with that same kind of energy. I'm really excited about our team."

Watterson opened Nov. 26 with a 39-23 loss to Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown in the Gary West Tipoff Classic at Reynoldsburg.

The Eagles, who finished 20-4 overall and won the CCL at 6-1 a year ago, have six seniors who should lead the way.

Senior guard Gabby Garrett (5-foot-6) averaged 8.5 points and made honorable mention all-district in Division I last season.

Senior wing player Giavanna Paradiso (5-8) sat out the first half of last season because of the Ohio High School Athletic Association's transfer rule but averaged 4.8 points after joining the team.

The other seniors are Kiera Mulcahy (5-7, forward), Lauren Sawyer (5-7, forward), Priscilla Severance (5-4, guard) and Regina Severance (5-5, guard). Mulcahy and Sawyer both missed time last season with injuries.

Junior Lainey Billing (5-9, guard) is the second-leading returning scorer after averaging 7.5 points last season.

Also on the roster are junior Gretchen Glanzman (5-9, forward), sophomores Grace Jenkins (5-9, forward) and Elizabeth Rabold (5-9, forward) and freshman Paige Woodford (5-5, guard).

The Eagles lost three players to graduation, including honorable mention all-district guard Claire Jenkins, who averaged 12.1 points.

Watterson has won eight league titles in the past nine seasons.

"We've been together since freshman year and we work really well together on the floor," Garrett said. "We don't have a lot of height, but we are very fast and we have a lot of (energy)."

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek

Schedules

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Nov. 26 -- Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown in Gary West Tipoff Classic at Reynoldsburg

Nov. 29 -- vs. Dublin Scioto

Dec. 1 -- vs. Hilliard Davidson

*Dec. 3 -- at Columbus School for Girls

Dec. 6 -- at Westerville Central

Dec. 13 -- vs. Marysville

Dec. 16 -- at Hilliard Bradley

Dec. 23 -- at Olentangy Orange

Dec. 27 -- Cincinnati Seton in Watterson Christmas Classic

Dec. 28 -- Hilliard Darby in Watterson Christmas Classic

*Jan. 5 -- vs. Hartley

*Jan. 7 -- at Ready

*Jan. 12 -- at DeSales

Jan. 14 -- at Centennial

Jan. 17 -- vs. New Albany

Jan. 21 -- Gahanna at Capital University

*Jan. 26 -- at Hartley

Jan. 31 -- vs. Mount Vernon

*Feb. 2 -- vs. DeSales

Feb. 4 -- vs. Westerville North

*Feb. 9 -- vs. Ready

Feb. 14 -- at Westerville South

HOCKEY

Nov. 25 -- New Albany in Midwest Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller North

Nov. 26 -- Strongsville Youth Hockey Club and Olentangy in Midwest Thanksgiving Classic

Nov. 27 -- Dublin Scioto at Chiller Dublin

Dec. 2 -- Springboro at South Metro Ice in Centerville

Dec. 3 -- Gahanna at Chiller Easton

*Dec. 4 -- Cincinnati Moeller at Chiller Easton

Dec. 9 -- Avon in Cleveland Benedictine Tournament at Cleveland Heights Pavilion

Dec. 10 -- Parma and Bay Village Bay in Cleveland Benedictine Tournament

Dec. 16 -- Chagrin Falls Kenston in Rough Rider Holiday Tournament at Kent State

Dec. 17 -- Kent Roosevelt and Hudson in Rough Rider Holiday Tournament

*Dec. 22 -- Olentangy at Chiller Easton

Dec. 24 -- Olentangy Liberty at Chiller Easton

Dec. 31 -- St. Charles at OhioHealth Ice Haus

Jan. 5 -- DeSales at Chiller Easton

*Jan. 6 -- Olentangy at Chiller North

*Jan. 7 -- Cincinnati Moeller at Cincinnati Gardens

Jan. 13 -- Cincinnati Indian Hill in Centerville Tournament at South Metro Ice

Jan. 14 -- Perrysburg and Massillon Jackson in Centerville Tournament

*Jan. 20 -- Thomas Worthington at Chiller Easton

Jan. 21 -- Dublin Coffman at Chiller Easton

Jan. 28 -- New Albany at Chiller Easton

*Jan. 29 -- Thomas Worthington at Chiller North

Feb. 3 -- Dublin Jerome at Chiller Easton

Feb. 4 -- Upper Arlington at Chiller Easton

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the Watterson boys basketball, bowling and swimming & diving teams:

BOYS BASKETBALL

Dec. 2 -- Home vs. Fairfield Union in opener

Dec. 6 -- At Jonathan Alder

BOWLING

*Dec. 6 -- Home vs. DeSales in opener

SWIMMING & DIVING

Dec. 2 -- At Columbus Academy

Dec. 3 -- St. Charles Showdown

*League contest