The Westerville Central High School girls basketball team enters the latter stages of the season looking for consistency.

The Westerville Central High School girls basketball team enters the latter stages of the season looking for consistency.

That was evident in the Warhawks' 52-37 loss to Westerville South last Saturday at Central.

After beating the Wildcats 48-45 in overtime in their first meeting Dec. 9, Central struggled in the second half of the rematch.

The Warhawks, who have not had more than a two-game winning streak this season, entered last Wednesday's game against Westerville North at 6-8 overall and 3-6 in the OCC-Cardinal Division.

Before last Wednesday, Central was sixth in the division behind first-place Olentangy (7-2).

Central returns to action Friday as host to Marysville. The Monarchs, which were 10-5 overall and 5-4 in the division before last Tuesday, defeated the Warhawks 60-39 on Dec. 18.

"Marysville is playing extremely well," coach Doug Etgen said. "They are playing more up-tempo this year and have several girls who are excelling and showed tremendous improvement from last year. (Kate) Francisco is playing better of late and Jenny Jordan plays extremely hard and puts a lot of pressure on a defense with her ability to beat people off the dribble."

Central's challenging stretch continues Tuesday when it visits Dublin Scioto. The Irish, who were tied for second in the division behind South and North before last Tuesday, were 9-5 overall and 6-3 in the division.

Scioto defeated Central 52-34 on Dec. 22.

"Scioto has a very nice balance between their outside players and those in the interior," Etgen said. "These girls know how to win. We played with them for three quarters at our place then ran out of gas in the fourth. I think if we contest shots and give them only one rebound per offensive possession that we have a chance to compete with them at their place. It will be another challenge because they are very sound."

Against South, the Warhawks remained within striking distance until midway through the third quarter.

Central trailed 19-14 roughly three minutes into the quarter before the Wildcats went on a decisive 17-4 run to open a 36-18 lead early in the final quarter.

South connected on six 3-pointers and was led by Sarah Myles' 12 points.

Bri Pond led the Warhawks with 12 points, followed by Alyson Jurcenko with 11.

"We just have to keep working hard," Pond said. "We need to focus more on defense. The offense will come. Our basis is defense."

Through 14 games, Jurcenko leads the team in scoring average at 8.3.

•After losing to first-place South 72-67 in overtime last Friday and facing North last Tuesday, the schedule should lighten up a little for the boys team.

"This is a great game to get your mindset to how hard you have to work and what you have to do to accomplish the great things that we want to accomplish, and that's making a big tournament run," coach Todd Minney said following the loss to South.

The Warhawks visit Marys-ville on Friday and play host to Scioto on Tuesday.

Central, which was 9-4 overall and 5-3 in the division before last Tuesday, coasted to an 83-38 win over Marysville on Dec. 18 and held off Scioto 51-47 on Dec. 22.

The Monarchs were 5-7 overall and 2-6 in the division. The Irish were 3-9 and 1-7 before last Tuesday.

Central was third in the division behind South (8-0) and North (7-1) before last Tuesday.

The Warhawks dropped their second close game of the season to South last Friday. Traevon Jackson led all scorers with 23 points.

Max VanMeter led Central with 22 points before fouling out with 22 seconds remaining in regulation.

Jourdan Devoll and Quentin Henderson added 12 points apiece and John Devereaux scored 10.

Through 13 games, VanMeter led the team in scoring at 16.2 points a game.

"It was a good game," Minney said.

"The kids played their hearts out again. There wasn't a lack of execution or a lack of effort. We did what was available. We played against an extremely good basketball team that played defense like we knew they would."