The two-time defending City League-South Division champion Walnut Ridge High School boys basketball team closes the first round of league play against a pair of teams attempting to establish themselves as league title contenders.

The two-time defending City League-South Division champion Walnut Ridge High School boys basketball team closes the first round of league play against a pair of teams attempting to establish themselves as league title contenders.

One of those opponents wasn't projected to be in this position.

The Scots, who were 7-1 overall and 4-0 in the league before playing Independence on Jan. 5, plays Friday, Jan. 8, at Africentric and Tuesday, Jan. 12, at Columbus West.

While the Nubians entered the season expected to provide Walnut Ridge with one of its sternest tests, the Cowboys have been an early surprise.

Africentric was 6-3 overall and 2-2 in the City-South before playing Briggs on Jan. 5 and West was 6-2 and 4-0 before playing Eastmoor Academy on Jan. 5. The Cowboys, who went just 3-20 last season, beat the Nubians 66-60 on Dec. 15.

Walnut Ridge entered the week having been off since getting 13 points apiece from Malik Harrison, James Manns and Tarik Wright in a 62-55 win over Eastmoor on Dec. 18.

Africentric's last game before Jan. 5 was a 53-50 overtime loss to Massillon Tuslaw on Dec. 29 at Berlin Hiland. Lorenze Gordon-Haynes had 21 points and Houston Smith scored 17 but the Nubians were outscored 14-1 at the free-throw line.

West beat Briggs 81-71 in overtime Dec. 18 before falling to St. Charles 63-30 on Dec. 21. Against Briggs, Demetrius Brown had 26 points and Quinton Gibson scored 16.

Also heading into games Jan. 5, Columbus South was 7-2 overall and 3-1 in the league and Briggs was 4-5 and 2-2.

Northland boys set to meet Centennial

Entering the week, only the Northland and Centennial boys basketball teams had perfect City-North records.

The Vikings play host to the Stars on Tuesday, Jan. 12.

Northland, who got 29 points from Seth Towns in an 82-81 loss to Springfield on Dec. 29, was 6-1 overall and 4-0 in the City-North before playing Mifflin on Jan. 5.

The Vikings travel to Columbus International on Friday, Jan. 8, for a league game.

Centennial, which was 5-3 and 4-0 before playing Whetstone on Jan. 5, plays host to Mifflin on Jan. 8 in a league contest.

Also before Jan. 5, Mifflin was 3-1 in the City-North and Beechcroft and Linden-McKinley both were 2-2.

Vikings, Nubians lead girls races

The Northland and Africentric girls basketball teams have taken the early leads in their respective league races.

The Vikings, who were 7-1 overall and 6-0 in the City-North before playing Mifflin on Jan. 5, have league games Friday, Jan. 8, at home against Columbus International and Tuesday, Jan. 12, at Centennial.

They also play host to Gahanna on Saturday, Jan. 9.

In its final game of the 2015 portion of its schedule, Northland beat Linden 50-29 on Dec. 18 behind 18 points from Taylor Pearson and nine points from Alicia Hardman.

Also with winning City-North records entering play Jan. 5 were Whetstone and Centennial at 5-1 and Mifflin at 4-2.

Africentric was 7-2 overall and 5-0 in the City-South before playing Briggs on Jan. 5.

The Nubians have league games Friday, Jan. 8, at Walnut Ridge and Tuesday, Jan. 12, at home against Independence.

Entering play Jan. 5, Eastmoor was 9-3 overall and 4-1 in the City-South, Independence was 9-3 and 3-2 and Walnut Ridge was 3-8 and 3-2.