A hard-fought loss already looks to have paid dividends for the Central Crossing High School boys basketball team.

A hard-fought loss already looks to have paid dividends for the Central Crossing High School boys basketball team.

The Comets were tied with Marysville in the fourth quarter of an OCC-Central Division contest Dec. 16 before falling 43-37. They took the lessons learned from that setback and used them to defeat Ready 55-42 one night later.

"We did a good job of setting things up and did well rebounding offensively," said coach Neil Hohman, whose team was 3-3 overall before playing Canal Winchester on Dec. 20 and is 0-2 in the OCC-Central. "We have had some lopsided games and (the loss to Marysville) will help us grow as a team.

"I think we corrected some of our mistakes from (Dec. 16) and did a good job using those experiences against Ready to help us in getting a lead. We had a goal of getting to the hoop for layups on (Dec. 17) and not relying on the 3-point shot to fall for us to score. That helped us to actually get some easier looks from 3 (against Ready)."

The contest against Marys-ville was tied at 32 when the Monarchs' Michael Ross hit a 3-pointer with 5 minutes, 10 seconds remaining to start an 11-5 game-closing run.

Against Ready, Antwon Hampton scored 21 points with three 3s. He scored all 13 first-quarter points for the Comets against Marysville, finishing with 21 points and four 3s.

"My teammates got the ball to me and I tried to hit the shots to keep us in games," Hampton said. "We need to play harder on defense. (Marysville) had some easy shots that they should not have had in the paint. We have to find an answer."

Dan Ewald, a 6-foot-4 junior, hopes to provide that answer despite being a bit undersized against some of the post players in the OCC.

"As a smaller team we have to work on boxing out and have to outwork the other teams," Ewald said. "It helps me learn about my game when playing against taller teams (like Marys-ville) and we have to work to get down low against them."

Hohman said the under-sized label can be applied in nearly every contest for the Comets, but they can't use that as an excuse.

"We have to rebound as a collective unit and work hard on the offensive end," Hohman said. "We have to improve our rebounding and improve our ball movement to make sure we get some (weak)-side action."

Nic Miller added 10 points against the Silver Knights.

"It was a good 'team' win against Ready and hopefully that propels us into this week's two games," Hohman said. "I would say that we're starting to grow, especially mentally. We need to stay more even keel if we are going to be a solid team and get some more victories."

Central Crossing plays Lancaster at home Thursday, Dec. 22, and does not play again until Jan. 3 against Groveport.

The Comets also defeated Licking Heights 50-39 on Dec. 13 as Mike Woods scored 30 points with six 3s and Keason Lowe added 11 points.

Girls team looks to change identity

First-year coach Michal Cheney is trying to change the culture in the girls basketball program, but it is taking time.

The Comets were 2-5 overall before playing Canal Winchester on Dec. 20. They are 1-2 in the OCC-Central.

"These girls have been struggling with their confidence after the past few seasons and in middle school," Cheney said. "We're trying to get them through it and help them with their work ethic. We have good athletes, but I just don't think the girls believe they can win. We've got to get them to believe that."

The Comets lost to Marysville 64-39 on Dec. 16 as Sam Poor scored 13 points, Haley Cox had 11 and Jaylayko Frost added seven.

"We drill the basketball stuff, but this isn't as much physical as it is mental," Cheney said. "We want to show them ways to be successful on and off the basketball court. We want to show them that they have more in themselves than they thought they had."

Kennedy Edwards scored nine points as Central Crossing lost to Dublin Scioto 51-26 on Dec. 17.

"It's more than just basketball and wins and losses," Cheney said. "We want to show the girls how good they can be."

The Comets play Thursday, Dec. 22, at London and then do not play again until Jan. 3 against Groveport.

Collins leads way for wrestlers at Hoover

Senior Zach Collins led the wrestling team by finishing fifth at 113 pounds in the North Canton Hoover Holiday Invitational on Dec. 16 and 17.

Collins improved to 9-3 overall after defeating Jaivon Jones of Shaker Heights 9-3 in the fifth-place match.

The Comets finished 24th (44 points) behind champion Wadsworth (242) as 32 teams scored.

Devin Wood was sixth at 126 to move to 10-3 overall. The junior lost to Wheeling (West Virginia) Park's Andrew Shelek 6-2 in the fifth-place match.

Central Crossing next competes Dec. 29 and 30 in the Marion Harding Classic.