If this season goes as D.J. Tyree hopes, he will have pulled off something of a rare feat.

If this season goes as D.J. Tyree hopes, he will have pulled off something of a rare feat.

Tyree, a senior point guard for the Upper Arlington High School boys basketball team, has been a Division I district champion every year of his career. The first two titles came at Pickerington Central and the last one came at Northland.

But to watch Tyree lead the Golden Bears this season, he looks and acts like he's been at UA for a long time -- not that the learning curve has been easy.

"It's the best system I have ever played in. We are having fun and we just want to continue our journey and keep winning," said Tyree, who is averaging 13 points, 3.3 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game. "I have a good coach. He pushes me. He allows me to play my game. Basically, I can freelance, but we play as a team."

His skills were on display during a 65-41 win over Olentangy Liberty in an OCC-Central Division game Dec. 11.

Late in the second quarter, Tyree made a steal and a layup to push the Bears' lead to 30-17.

Under duress in the final 20 seconds of the first half, he was able to bounce the ball out of bounds off a Liberty player, then made a layup as the half ended to make it 32-23.

After the Patriots got within 34-27 midway through the third quarter, Tyree made back-to-back baskets and passed to freshman guard Max Martz for a layup that gave UA a 42-29 lead.

"(Tyree) is very unselfish with the ball. And he is a learner, too," senior guard Jake Kern said. "He listens and is doing very well learning our plays. I can't say enough about him. He is doing a great job listening to us, the guys who have been in the program for a long time. He is learning, adapting and absorbing.

"I just tell (a player who is new to UA) to listen. I think coach (Tim) Casey is the best coach in the area. You can't get any better than him, and if you just listen and absorb, you will be in a great position to win."

UA is 3-0 overall and in the OCC-Central entering its game Friday, Dec. 18, at Hilliard Davidson.

The Bears' wins have come by an average of 21.3 points. In addition to beating Liberty, they defeated Thomas Worthington 52-32 on Dec. 4 and Central Crossing 49-29 on Dec. 7.

"D.J. is strong," Casey said. "He can guard. He can attack the rim. He is an improving shooter. He is an unselfish kid. He will really help us be successful. It's been an incremental process with him as far as embracing the process."

Onno Steger is averaging team-highs of 21 points and 6.7 rebounds, as well as 1.3 assists and 1.3 steals. Martz is averaging 5.7 points and 3.3 rebounds.

UA will welcome back sophomore forward Dane Goodwin to the lineup for the game against Davidson. The Ohio State commit was suspended the past two games for being ejected against Thomas.

"He is a big piece," Casey said. "It is nice to see that we can play without him. But in my own mind, we will be a whole lot better when he is back on the floor."

Hockey team preps for road trip

The hockey team has benefited from both a dynamic offense and a sometimes-smothering defense in starting the season at 6-2 overall and 3-1 in the Capital Hockey Conference.

Led by Danny Logan's 13 goals, and a two-goaltender system of Matt Dunasky and Phil Hawthorne, UA has outscored its opponents 45-14.

Logan had four goals in a 7-1 win over New Albany on Dec. 13 at OhioHealth Ice Haus. The Bears outshot the Eagles 55-15.

Perhaps the defense's toughest stretch came in the season's fourth game Nov. 29, when UA squandered a 3-0 third-period lead against McKees Rocks (Pa.) Montour in the Midwest Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller North and lost 4-3.

The Bears' other loss came against Olentangy Orange, 2-0 on Dec. 12 at Chiller North.

"Phil has been up with us the last three years," coach Jay Graham said. "He handles himself well. We've been getting him groomed for these next couple seasons. He is ready to assume that responsibility.

"Matthew certainly wants playing time as well, and he has earned it. It's a nice competition."

Carl Jacobson has six goals and Jake Carriero has five for UA.

The Bears resume CHC play Jan. 3 with a rematch against Orange at Ice Haus.

This weekend, UA participates in the Rough Rider Holiday Tournament at Kent State. The Bears play Chagrin Falls Kenston on Friday, Dec. 18, and have games against Hudson and Kent Roosevelt on Saturday, Dec. 19.

UA won the tournament last year, defeating Hudson 6-1 in the final.

"We think we can represent Columbus well," Graham said. "We are closing the gap in terms of how we fit with the Toledo and Cleveland teams. The stronger competition we can play down here at home, the better we'll do against those teams."

The Rough Rider Holiday Tournament will be the first of two trips to northeast Ohio that UA makes in less than two weeks. The Bears will participate in Lakewood St. Edward's Eagle Classic from Dec. 27-29 at Winterhurst Ice Rink.

Girls basketball team happy with defense

While the girls basketball team's foray into playing more zone defense has paid dividends, coach Chris Savage still is waiting on the offense to catch up.

A 51-40 loss to Liberty on Dec. 11 dropped UA to 3-4 overall and 2-2 in the OCC-Central.

UA is allowing just 42.6 points per game, but scoring only 40.6. The Bears gave up a season-low 22 points in a 23-point win over Central Crossing on Dec. 7, and the loss to the Patriots snapped a stretch of three games in which UA had allowed 32 points or fewer.

"We have some long(-armed) personnel and we've rebounded well out of the zone," Savage said, referring specifically to 6-foot-3 center/forward Kortney Eisenman, 5-11 forward Elli Wachtman and 5-10 guard Caroline Warner. "We want to mix things up and not give teams a consistent look. A lot of it is matchup-specific.

"Kortney being on the tail end is such a good deterrent (for opponents). We've been able to get some of our opponents to take shots they don't want to take. My concern was rebounding, but we've been OK there."

Freshman point guard Macy Spielman is averaging a team-high 11.3 points, just ahead of Eisenman (10.6).

"Offensively, we're just not there yet," Savage said. "We start a freshman (Spielman) at the point and a sophomore (Kileigh Casey) at (shooting guard). They're good ball-handlers, but at times we've struggled to get into the proper sets. They are maturing very fast. I am not worried about them."