Despite entering the week with a 3-8 overall record, Sean Jones and his teammates on the Whetstone High School boys basketball team remain focused on improving and are excited about the future.

Despite entering the week with a 3-8 overall record, Sean Jones and his teammates on the Whetstone High School boys basketball team remain focused on improving and are excited about the future.

"I think we have a pretty good team," Jones said. "We've lost some games I don't think we should have, but hopefully we'll get things turned around and fix some things that are hurting us."

Jones, a junior point guard, played at DeSales last season, helping the Stallions go 21-7 and reach a Division II regional final. He is hoping his positive attitude rubs off on his teammates and helps the program establish a winning culture.

"I'm excited about the possibilities," he said. "We want to build some momentum. Early in the season, we lacked some chemistry, but I think that has come along well. I think coach (Richie) Beard is doing a good thing by playing just about everyone on the roster. That way we can mix and match and grow together."

Beard said Jones has been a valuable addition to the roster.

"Sean is a quiet leader who plays hard and, when he is making plays, it becomes infectious," Beard said. "He is a tremendous athlete and has the 'it' factor. He is an instinctual rebounder and defender. He just has a knack for finding the ball off the rim and reading the pass before it's in the air. He has a high basketball IQ. When he makes plays, it helps everyone."

Jones was averaging 10.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 3.4 steals through 10 games.

"I want to do anything I can on the floor to help us win," he said. "I think I'm best at shooting and dribbling, but I'm trying to be a complete player. I think I need to improve on defense, but I'm working hard at it because I want to go to college and get a free education, or at least a good education at a lower cost."

Beard thinks that it's highly likely that Jones will play in college given his skill level and his 3.3 GPA.

"He will have an opportunity to play at the next level," Beard said. "He stuffs the stat sheet. He is extremely unselfish and loves to get the assist to a teammate. His court vision is fantastic. I would love to see him score a little more, but that's a work in progress due to his unselfishness. He still leads us in scoring."

Jones had seven points, 10 assists, seven rebounds and two steals in a 54-49 win over Centennial on Jan. 6 when the Braves snapped a 12-game losing streak against the Stars.

However, Whetstone lost its next three games, falling to Linden-McKinley 63-48 on Jan. 10, Mifflin 69-49 on Jan. 13 and Wellington 66-43 on Jan. 14.

"We still need to work on consistency in order to compete at a high level for 32 minutes a night," Beard said. "That comes down to attention to detail on scouting reports and understanding each other's roles on the team. It's easy to be positive when everything goes well, but when adversity hits you, that's when true character is shown. How we respond to adversity is going to determine how we finish the season."

Whetstone was 2-6 in the City League-North Division before playing Beechcroft on Jan. 17. The Braves also played South on Jan. 18.

Against Mifflin, Jones had 11 points, followed by juniors Rayshon Walker (9), Lincoln Mullins (7) and Lamine Komara (7). Walker had 12 points against Wellington, and Jones scored 12 and Walker added 11 against Linden.

Through 10 games, Komara was averaging 7.3 points, Mullins was averaging 6.8 points and 5.2 rebounds and senior Jack Staggs was averaging 7.1 points and 6.8 rebounds.

"With (Lamine, Rayshon and Lincoln) all coming back with me next year, I'm pretty excited," Jones said. "That's why we have to get things going now and finish strong -- to take that into next year. I want us to get between 10 and 15 wins this year, at least."

Swank leading
girls bowling team

The girls bowling team was in first place in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-Central Division entering a Jan. 17 match against Teays Valley.

The Braves were 8-0 overall and 7-0 in the league after beating Watterson 1,870-1,677 on Jan. 10 and Grandview 1,832-1,445 on Jan. 12. Both matches were held at Sequoia Pro Bowl.

Entering this week, Abbi Swank (192.1), Bailey Waitkus (171.4) and Savannah Stuver (167.2) had the team's top game averages.

The boys team was 5-5 overall and 3-5 in the league before competing against Teays Valley.

Alex Johnson had a team-high 190.6 average, followed by Christian Jefferson (179) and Michael Curry (160.3).

Boys swimmers
compete in Canton

The boys swimming and diving team had a program-best showing in the Northeast Classic on Jan. 14 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.

The Braves competed in the finals in three events and totaled 11 points to place 39th of 51 teams scoring, behind champion Columbus Academy (196).

"We had only reached the finals in one event before and that was before they changed scoring to include the top 16 finishers, so we had never scored before," coach John DeRing said. "So it was new territory for us. Plus, we set six school records, all in prelims. It was a day like no other previous day for us."

The 200-yard medley relay of Connor Flanagan, Mitchell Nottage, Francisco Soto and David Maston finished 13th in 1 minute, 43.91 seconds after swimming a school-record 1:43.12 in preliminaries.

Maston was 15th in the 200 freestyle (1:50.75), and Nottage finished 16th in the 100 breaststroke (1:02.37) after swimming a school-record 1:02.05 in preliminaries.

Nottage also lowered the school record in the 200 individual medley (2:07.54). Other program marks were set by Maston in the 200 free (1:50.75), Flanagan in the 100 backstroke (58.33) and the 200 free relay of Nottage, Flanagan, Maston and Soto (1:34.32).

Competing in a diving meet Jan. 14 at the Westerville Community Center, Trevor Karnehm placed third (379 points).

Wrestlers prep
for tournaments

The wrestling team will participate in the Comet Classic at Central Crossing on Saturday, Jan. 21, before competing against eighth-seeded Logan in the first round of the Division I state team tournament Wednesday, Jan. 25, at Lancaster.

Whetstone is seeded ninth.

The winner will face top-seeded Lancaster in the second round 20 minutes later, with that winner facing fourth-seeded Gahanna or fifth-seeded Pickerington North in the third round later that same day.

The regional semifinals and final will be held Feb. 1 at a site to be announced.

bemerine@thisweeknews.com

@Brad_ThisWeek