For the first time in program history, the Olentangy Orange High School boys basketball team won its first five games.

For the first time in program history, the Olentangy Orange High School boys basketball team won its first five games.

Coach Anthony Calo, however, isn't about to have his players focus on anything but the task at hand.

"Over the past couple of years we have been the hunter," said Calo, whose team finished 10-13 last season. "We scratched and clawed just to be mediocre, but now we're off to a great start and now we're starting to be the hunted.

"We need to learn how to handle that success. We're proud of what we're doing, but we have to keep coming in every day at practice and working hard to keep getting better."

The Pioneers were 5-0 overall before playing Marion Harding on Dec. 15. They defeated Olentangy 51-49 on Dec. 11 to improve to 3-0 in the OCC-Capital Division, as Evan Lewis scored inside off an offensive rebound with 13.5 seconds remaining for the decisive points.

"(Making the basket) was tremendous and my teammates helped to set me up," said Lewis, who finished with 15 points. "It was a great win ... the best we have had all year."

Colin Shepherd also scored 15 points for Orange and Grant Gossard added 10.

Lewis and Gossard both scored seven points in the fourth quarter to help the Pioneers rally from a 37-30 deficit.

"We're big (in height) this season, but we have good guards as well, so we have a good inside-out game," Gossard said. "We can't be satisfied with what we have now. We have to only look toward the next game."

The Pioneers play an OCC-Capital game Friday, Dec. 18, at Delaware, which was 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the league after defeating Big Walnut 47-33 on Dec. 11.

"We're building things one day at a time, one practice at a time and one game at a time," Calo said. "We can't get overconfident; we have to stay together."

Gossard scored 14 points, Shepherd had 12 and Lewis added nine in a 49-33 win over Hilliard Davidson on Dec. 12.

The Pioneers were playing without senior guard Josh Smith, who broke his right index finger against Olentangy and likely will miss at least two weeks. Smith led Orange with 12 points, all on 3-pointers, in a 56-47 season-opening league win at New Albany on Dec. 4.

Braves look to get back on track

Olentangy dropped to 2-1 overall and in the OCC-Capital with its loss to Orange.

The Braves averaged 68 points in their first two games, but were held to 49 by the Pioneers.

"We have 10 players who can play and we played well in the first two games, but not so much (against Orange)," coach Chris Kelly said. "You have to credit their defense, but we didn't shoot the ball or move the ball like we had in the preseason or in our first two games."

Carter Kinnaird led Olentangy with 12 points and Seth O'Neal scored 11.

O'Neal had 21 points in a 66-42 win Dec. 4 over Big Walnut. Kinnaird, Brandon Mazzeo and Jason Sieve all scored eight points.

"We were pretty much unstoppable in the first two games," Kelly said. "But we had good ball movement and were taking high-quality shots."

Derrick Wyche scored 17 points and Mazzeo had 14 as the Braves defeated Franklin Heights 70-37 on Dec. 8.

"We have (11) league games left, so there is still plenty of time," Kelly said. "When you only have 10 league games (instead of 14), that would be more of a concern, but we have 14, and we think the league will be very balanced."

Patriots looking for first victory

Liberty lost its first four games, leaving coach Greg Nossaman looking for answers.

The Patriots fell to 0-3 in the OCC-Central by losing to Upper Arlington 65-41 on Dec. 11.

"We are at an all-time low right now," Nossaman said. "This is my eighth year here and it's the worst start I've had in 30 years of coaching.

"I thought our guys gave up in the third quarter. We were close, and we decided not to battle. That is the most disappointing thing about this."

Spencer Mitchell led the Patriots with 16 points and Brendon White added nine.

Liberty's closest game was a 50-48 overtime league loss to Central Crossing in its opener Dec. 4. Mitchell scored 20 points and White added 12.

The Patriots also lost to Westerville North 63-53 on Dec. 5 and to Marysville 52-43 in an OCC-Central game Dec. 8.

"The kids have to learn to compete at a high level," Nossaman said. "We played a good two and a half quarters (against UA), but it's a 32-minute game and we're not there yet. We'll give them the weekend off and get back at it on (Dec. 14). Starting jobs are all open. We'll see what happens."