It wasn't what Kiera Mulcahy wanted to be doing, but at least she had company.

It wasn't what Kiera Mulcahy wanted to be doing, but at least she had company.

Last season, because of injuries that she and classmate Lauren Sawyer had endured, both members of the Watterson High School girls basketball team spent several practices rehabbing and encouraging one another.

The work paid off for both seniors, who have returned to be key contributors this winter for the Eagles, who followed a season-opening loss by winning their next 13 games before facing New Albany on Jan. 17.

"One day at practice last year, we looked at each other because we were kind of doing our own physical therapy and just tried to keep each other focused," Mulcahy said. "It's felt great to be back."

Watterson, which was 13-1 overall after beating Centennial 62-28 on Jan. 14, is on track to contend for another CCL championship. The Eagles, who have won eight CCL titles in nine years, are 3-0 in the league and return to league play Jan. 26 at Hartley.

Although Watterson lost its leading scorer from a year ago, Claire Jenkins, to graduation, Sawyer and Mulcahy have helped pick up the slack.

Senior wing player Giavanna Paradiso was averaging a team-high 10.1 points through 13 games, followed by Sawyer (9.2), junior Lainey Billing (8.5), senior Gabby Garrett (7.6), freshman Paige Woodford (4.6) and Mulcahy (3.5).

Sawyer missed the first 13 games last season with torn ligaments in her elbow, an injury sustained playing soccer in the fall of 2015. She saw some action over the final 11 games as Watterson finished 20-4.

This season, the 5-foot-7 Sawyer has been filling a key role at forward.

"It's awesome to be back," she said. "I'm so excited for every game because I missed so much time last year. I still feel like I'm a junior.

"My biggest role is bringing energy to the team. We all feed off each other and that helps us play better. There's always a different person that steps up, which is nice about our team."

Mulcahy was sidelined for 12 weeks last season after tearing three ligaments in her left ankle while landing awkwardly on a rebound attempt. Originally told the injury could take a couple weeks to heal, the 5-8 wing player wasn't able to put any pressure on it for three weeks.

"I haven't had any problems with my ankle and it's been exciting to see how much success we've had," Mulcahy said. "I feel like I'm one of our energy players and one of the talkers. Our coach focuses on us knowing what the core values are, and our effort has always been great as a team. Our defense creates a lot of energy and turns things straight into offense."

Watterson's defense was at its best during a 24-21 win over DeSales on Jan. 12 when Billing led the way with 11 points. Garrett made a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give the Eagles the victory.

Coach Tom Woodford is happy he's got his full complement of players this season, with Mulcahy and Sawyer being among them.

"(Sawyer is) a true athlete that can run all over the place," he said. "It's been nice having her back. Kiera twisted her ankle and lost her entire junior year, but she's hit some big shots for us."

Bowlers having
strong seasons

The boys and girls bowling teams return to action Thursday, Jan. 19, when they face Grandview at Sawmill Lanes.

After rolling 1,604 to beat Beechcroft (1,348) and Columbus Academy (980) on Jan. 12 at Sawmill Lanes, the girls were 6-2 overall and in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-Central Division.

In addition, the girls are 3-0 in the CCL.

In COHSBC matches, senior Jess Lorenz is leading the girls team with a 142.0 game average. Other key bowlers have included seniors Nicole Stock (140.4), Mary Melliere (138.4), Carolina Gulla (138.2) and Cecelia Baker (131.6).

The boys team is 7-3 overall and in the COHSBC-Central and 2-2 in the CCL.

Junior Jesse Pulsinelli leads Watterson in COHBC matches with a 189.8 average. Other key bowlers have included senior Ben Maag (184.6), junior Danny Callaghan (171.8) and seniors Grant Bonnell (160.7) and Ken Grimes (140.2).

"We've got a halfway decent boys team," assistant coach Les Harris said. "The boys have the drive. Jesse Pulsinelli is bowling really well and Ben Maag has been bowling well.

"Carolina Gulla, Nicole Stock and Jess Lorenz have probably been the best three girls. They've been all doing about the same."

Swim teams prep
for stretch run

The boys and girls swimming and diving teams are hoping to build off a strong start to the 2017 portion of their schedules.

On Jan. 7 in the Delaware Invitational at Ohio Wesleyan University, the girls scored 294 points in the 10-team meet to capture the title just ahead of the host Pacers (283), while the boys were fourth (144) of nine teams, behind champion Delaware (345).

The Eagles will face Gahanna at MC Fitness in Lewis Center on Saturday, Jan. 21, as they prepare for the CCL meet, which will be held Jan. 28 at Columbus School for Girls.

Juniors Cecilia Brown and Julia St. John, sophomore Elizabeth Intihar and freshman Mia Brown have been leading the girls team.

At the Ned Reeb Invitational on Dec. 17 at Ohio State, the girls were ninth (128) of 35 teams, behind champion Upper Arlington (330), as Brown placed fourth in the 50-yard freestyle (24.27 seconds), Intihar was sixth in the 500 free (5:16.55) and Moore was fifth in the 100 backstroke (59.65) and seventh in the 200 individual medley (2:11.95).

Juniors Thomas Clark, David Coss and Perry Finnegan have led the boys squad.

The boys finished 11th (90) in the 36-team Ned Reeb Invitational, behind champion Cincinnati St. Xavier (642), as Clark placed sixth in the 100 butterfly (52.49), Finnegan was 10th in the 50 free (22.43) and the 200 free relay was sixth (1:30.79).

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek