Westerville South High School boys basketball coach Ed Calo stressed to his team in the preseason that there is no need to defend its first Division I state title.

Westerville South High School boys basketball coach Ed Calo stressed to his team in the preseason that there is no need to defend its first Division I state title.

Instead, he said the Wildcats will pursue a second consecutive state championship. South capped last season's memorable run by defeating Lima Senior 57-55 in the state final March 19 at Ohio State.

The Wildcats began their latest quest -- in Calo's 30th season -- by defeating host Westerville North 71-49 on Dec. 2.

"You have to want more to get more," said Calo, whose team finished 26-4 overall last season. "If you're satisfied with what you have that's all you'll ever have. We're not the defending state champions because we're pretty sure that trophy is going to stay where it is, nobody is going to take it. We're pursuing state championships. We want to get better."

South also defeated host Gahanna 58-53 on Dec. 5 in a rematch of the Wildcats' 68-59 victory in last season's regional final.

The roster looks much different this season because of graduation, although 6-foot-10 senior center Kaleb Wesson, an Ohio State signee, is back as one of three key returning players.

Wesson, who scored 16 points against North and had 27 points and 16 rebounds against Gahanna, was named first-team all-OCC-Cardinal Division and third-team all-district last year despite missing the final seven games of the regular season with an ankle injury. He averaged 14.4 points.

"Last year was behind us after (the state final)," Wesson said. "After that it was on to the next season and trying to get better."

Also back is 6-6 senior forward Antoine Smith Jr., who scored a game-high 20 points against North with four 3-pointers. Smith will play a larger role with the graduation of Andre Wesson, who is a freshman forward at Ohio State.

Last season, Andre Wesson averaged 16.7 points and was league Player of the Year, first-team all-district and second-team all-state.

"They're similar types of guys in a lot of respects," Calo said of Smith and Andre Wesson. "Andre is one of those special guys that is hard to replace, but Antoine has gifts. He can do some nice things."

Smith is looking forward to the challenge.

"I'm just doing what I can within the confines of the team," he said.

The other key returnee is 6-2 senior Anthony Mills, who has taken over the starting point guard position. He scored 11 points against North.

The remaining players saw limited varsity time last season or played junior varsity.

Seniors Cameron Caldwell (6-1, wing player) and Jake Garrison (6-3, wing player) rounded out the starting lineup against North, with Caldwell scoring 12 points and Garrison adding eight.

Other players are senior Jose Garcia (6-1, guard), juniors Maxwell Barber (5-11, guard), David Fitzgerald (6-0, guard), Elton Sunnyway (5-7, guard) and Hafiz Turay (5-11, guard) and sophomores Ryan Greggs (6-0, guard), Jordan McMillan (6-0, guard) and Emanuel Sunnyway (6-1, guard).

South, which won its 11th OCC title last season, going 13-1 in the OCC-Cardinal, now is in the OCC-Buckeye with Olentangy, Olentangy Liberty, Olentangy Orange, Westerville Central and North.

Orange is coached by Calo's son, Anthony.

"I don't like the alignment because my son is in it," Calo said. "It is what it is. I'm not a big fan of a six-team league, but we'll just have to do the best that we can."

Another key loss to graduation was guard Jordan Humphrey, who averaged 13.3 points and was first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district. He scored the winning basket in the state final with 1.8 seconds remaining.

Wrestling team motivated to excel

Wrestling coach George Crooks began his second season in his return to South looking to continue to rebuild the program.

Crooks coached the Wildcats from 2003-04 through 2007-08.

"The best thing is everybody is getting along real well, they're respecting each other and working hard and doing exactly what we ask them to do," he said.

The Wildcats return a pair of Division I district qualifiers in senior Isaac Roussos (152 pounds) and sophomore Seth Chrisman (120/138). Both went 0-2 at district last winter, and Roussos finished the season 32-15.

"I want to get back to district and then place at state," Roussos said. "I have to practice harder and work hard to get down to my right weight class."

Other key returnees are seniors Gunner Dill (220, 21-13 last season), Ray Gordon (145, 17-18) and Sam Shalvey (195) and sophomores Bobby Henderson (126) and Jacob Shalvey (132, 22-20).

Gordon will miss the early part of the season with a hand injury.

"I haven't had a good season yet in my high school career, but I was really motivated this offseason to go to state," Sam Shalvey said. "I'm motivated to lead this program in the right direction and hopefully we can get six or seven kids to district this year. We wrestled the entire offseason. We had a freestyle-Greco club here at the school, so we're really looking for guys to have success this season."

Other wrestlers are seniors William Easterlin (160) and Andrew Rice (heavyweight), juniors William Bates (182) and Avery Cruz (170), sophomores Ahmed Dregia (195), Taveon Falls (195), Andrew Flynn (220), Moyesh Knanal (106) and Zachary Sicilian (heavyweight) and freshmen Brendan Cleaver (182), Craden Kelley (120), Aaron Morton (160) and Dylan Winters (132).

The Wildcats opened Dec. 3 by finishing seventh (106.5 points) in the 12-team Lee Spitzer Golden Bear Invitational behind champion and host Upper Arlington (294.5).

Henderson (126), Roussos (152) and Sam Shalvey (195) finished second.

Girls basketball team earns first win

The girls basketball team entered the week looking to build on a 53-50 victory at North on Dec. 2 in its OCC-Buckeye opener.

"It's a learning experience for us," coach Silas Williams said. "We had an 11-point lead with four minutes to go and with our abilities and our talents that lead should have kept growing, but we turned the ball over and we missed some shots. We're continuing to learn because we're young."

Anyssa Jones scored 18 points and Sommer Pitzer added 13.

South was 1-2 overall before playing Logan on Dec. 6. The Wildcats lost to Reynoldsburg 59-36 on Nov. 25 and Gahanna 51-45 on Nov. 29.

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Schedules

BOYS BASKETBALL

*Dec. 2 -- at Westerville North

Dec. 5 -- at Gahanna

*Dec. 9 -- at Olentangy

Dec. 10 -- vs. Eastmoor Academy

*Dec. 16 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty

Dec. 18 -- vs. Garfield Heights

Dec. 28 -- vs. Chillicothe

Jan. 3 -- vs. Pickerington Central

*Jan. 6 -- vs. Olentangy Orange

Jan. 10 -- vs. Reynoldsburg

Jan. 13 -- at Erie (Pa.) Cathedral Prep in Burger King Classic

Jan. 14 -- Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph or Fairfax (Va.) Paul VI Catholic in Burger King Classic

*Jan. 20 -- vs. Westerville Central

Jan. 24 -- at Upper Arlington

*Jan. 27 -- vs. Olentangy

Jan. 28 -- at Newark

*Feb. 3 -- at Olentangy Liberty

*Feb. 7 -- at Olentangy Orange

*Feb. 10 -- vs. Westerville North

*Feb. 17 -- at Westerville Central

Feb. 18 -- vs. Cleveland St. Ignatius

WRESTLING

Dec. 3 -- Lee Spitzer Golden Bear Invitational at Upper Arlington

Dec. 8 -- at Thomas Worthington with Grandview and Hilliard Bradley

Dec. 14 -- at New Albany with Whetstone and Whitehall

Dec. 17 -- New Albany Tournament

Dec. 20 -- vs. Liberty Union

*Jan. 11 -- at Olentangy

*Jan. 18 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty

Jan. 21 -- Gahanna Duals

*Jan. 26 -- at Westerville North

Jan. 27-28 -- Sally George Invitational at Marion Pleasant

*Feb. 8 -- vs. Olentangy Orange

Feb. 11 -- All-North Tournament at Dublin Jerome

*Feb. 16 -- at Westerville Central

Feb. 18 -- Nye Cardinal Classic at St. Charles

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the South girls basketball, bowling and swimming & diving teams:

GIRLS BASKETBALL

*Dec. 9 -- Home vs. Olentangy

Dec. 13 -- Home vs. Dublin Coffman

BOWLING

*Dec. 9 -- Olentangy Liberty at Columbus Square Bowling Palace

*Dec. 13 -- Delaware at Colony Lanes

SWIMMING & DIVING

Dec. 10 -- Dublin Jerome and Olentangy at Mount Carmel Fitness and Health

*League contest