Coach Bob Fresch can count on one hand the number of competitors on his Johnstown-Monroe High School wrestling team.

Coach Bob Fresch can count on one hand the number of competitors on his Johnstown-Monroe High School wrestling team.

The Johnnies have five wrestlers and only one senior in 132-pounder Dakota Ramey, who was 18-11 last season.

"The tough thing about it is that we had a long, tough football season, and it's also quite expensive (to be on the wrestling team)," said Fresch, who is in his fourth season. "You have the $290 (for pay-to-participate), plus school fees and that becomes part of the equation. We probably have four district qualifiers walking in the hallways that are not on the team."

A pair of juniors who qualified for the Division II district tournament last season did not return. Heavyweight Caleb Writesel went 0-2 at district to finish 24-17. Chase Sigman (195 pounds) qualified but had a concussion and did not compete, finishing the season at 21-13.

"Caleb had a long football season and Chase had a series of injuries with concussions as well as knee and shoulder injuries and wanted to take the season off," Fresch said.

The roster also includes junior Jon Foor (170), sophomore Tristan Bush (160) and freshmen Jeff Dyer (120) and Andrew Wingard (220).

Johnstown's top performer last season was 2016 graduate Hayden Bullard, who went 1-2 at state at 138 to finish the season 48-12.

The Johnnies opened by finishing 12th (39 points) in the 13-team Tony Pizzurro Memorial Classic on Dec. 3 at DeSales behind champion Olentangy Liberty (300). Ramey placed fourth in his weight class by going 3-2, while Bush was 2-1 and Foor was 1-2.

"The good thing about (having a small roster) is you get to focus on the kids," assistant coach Josh Schmitz said. "You can work with them to refine moves while working with them on a one-on-one basis."

Bush, Foor and Ramey all competed last season. Dyer attended Whitehall schools and participated in its middle-school program, and Wingard is new to the sport.

"You get to know the kids quite well (with a small team) and they get all of that individual coaching attention," Fresch said. "It's a dream come true in that all eyes are on them and they can get coached up as much as they can.

"The downside is not having many bodies to work out with. Dakota can be wrestling a smaller guy like Jeff Dyer or wrestle someone like Tristan who is around 30 pounds bigger than he is."

Girls basketball team evens record

After losing its first two games, the girls basketball team has won two in a row.

The Johnnies defeated New-ark Catholic 48-45 on Dec. 7 to improve to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the LCL-Cardinal Division.

"I'm really proud of the girls because they fell behind a couple of times and had an answer for that each time," coach Carl Dufford said. "Being so inexperienced, it was something else to see a great team effort like that."

Sammy Edwards had 15 points and eight rebounds, and Courtney Moore added 11 points, six rebounds and six steals.

The Johnnies opened with a 45-31 loss to Zanesville West Muskingum on Nov. 29 and dropped their league opener to Lakewood 60-41 on Dec. 2. Ashley Abner had 11 points against the Lancers, and Moore added 10.

Moore had 15 points and eight rebounds to lead the Johnnies past Granville Christian 48-29 on Dec. 5.

"We have an inexperienced team and we realized maybe we were pushing just a little too hard," Dufford said. "We needed to go back and review some fundamentals after playing four games in nine days. We were showing a little more film and taking things a little bit at a time."

Boys basketball team needs early spark

Coach Kevin Martin is looking for ways to jump-start his boys basketball team.

After two sluggish first-half performances, the Johnnies were 1-1 before playing Columbus South on Dec. 10.

Johnstown defeated DeSales 43-41 on Dec. 1 despite falling behind 14-1 in the first quarter and 24-11 at halftime.

On Dec. 6, the Johnnies lost to Worthington Christian 49-30 after trailing 23-16 at halftime.

"I'm just disappointed in how we played," Martin said. "We have to come out ready to play every night. We can't come out flat."

Johnstown had no players in double figures against the Warriors, with Owen Hazelbaker leading with seven points. After scoring 19 points in the opener, Kyle Matoszkia was held to six.

Martin said the Johnnies were 1-for-17 on 3-point attempts against the Warriors.

"We weren't hitting 3s and we were only 27 percent shooting for the game," he said. "You're not going to win a lot of games like that.

"After watching film, Worthington Christian had four or five guys surrounding (Matosz-kia) in the paint. We didn't do a great job of running the offense in terms of flow and ball movement. We didn't rotate the ball the way we need to. We have work to do, but we'll get better."

shennen@thisweeknews.com

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Schedules

WRESTLING

Dec. 3 -- DeSales Tony Pizzurro Memorial Classic

Dec. 9 -- at Westerville Central with Westerville North

Dec. 10 -- Big Walnut Classic

Dec. 17 -- Loudonville Redbird Classic

Dec. 28 -- Johnstown Duals with Linden-McKinley, New Albany and Walnut Ridge

Jan. 7 -- Larry Remmert Memorial at Thornville Sheridan

Jan. 12 -- Big Dawg Duals at Dresden Tri-Valley

Jan. 14 -- vs. Danville and Heath

Jan. 21 -- Ron Thomas Sr. Invitational at Jonathan Alder

Feb. 4 -- Canal Winchester Invitational

Feb. 15 -- at Bexley with St. Charles

Feb. 18 -- LCL tournament at Northridge

Below are the coming schedules for the Johnstown-Monroe boys basketball, girls basketball and bowling teams:

BOYS BASKETBALL

*Dec. 12 -- Home vs. Newark Catholic in LCL-Cardinal opener

*Dec. 17 -- Home vs. Lakewood

GIRLS BASKETBALL

*Dec. 13 -- Home vs. Granville

*Dec. 16 -- Home vs. Heath

BOWLING

Dec. 13 -- Utica at Redskin Lanes

Dec. 17 -- Heath and Lakewood at Park Lanes

*League contest