Skylar King has made a quick study of basketball.

Skylar King has made a quick study of basketball.

A longtime volleyball player, the Columbus School for Girls senior decided to give basketball a shot last season and has found her way into being a presence in the paint.

King was averaging 4.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.6 steals through 10 games for the Unicorns, who were 7-5 overall before playing Gahanna Christian on Jan. 17.

"I played club volleyball (in the winter) as a freshman and sophomore, but started to get tired of it," said King, a 5-foot-8 post player. "I wasn't having as much fun with it and gave basketball a try. I liked it right off. I really liked the challenge of learning a new sport."

Despite being an undersized player in the post, King has been able to get the better of some players who have a height advantage.

"Most (post players) are bigger than me, so I have to be aggressive," said King, who averaged 3.0 points and 5.7 rebounds last season. "Last year, I had no clue about what I was doing a lot of the time. I just started to do what my dad (Juan King) was telling me to do from the stands."

First-year coach Isaac Klopfenstein has been impressed with King's hustle and determination. He said she sets a tone on the court for her teammates.

"Skylar brings an energy anytime she is on the court," said Klopfenstein, whose team is 0-3 in the CCL entering its league finale Saturday, Jan. 21, at home against Hartley. "Skylar has bought into being mentally tough. She is undersized and under-skilled, so she realizes that she has to work harder than others."

Klopfenstein said King has a knack for knowing where the ball might carom off the rim on missed shots.

"I'm not sure if this comes from volleyball or what, but she can read the ball well coming off the rim," he said. "She has great instincts, especially for someone who hasn't played the game for very long."

The Unicorns had won four of their previous five games before playing Gahanna Christian and were champions of the inaugural CSG Invitational on Jan. 13 and 14.

Imani Babatunde had nine points to lead a balanced attack as CSG defeated Cristo Rey 35-18 on Jan. 13 in the first round of its tournament. King scored seven points and Sadiyah Babatunde added six.

Imani Babatunde had 16 points in a 37-18 win over Village Academy on Jan. 14 in the championship game.

"We have a good group of girls here who work hard in and out of the classroom," Klopfenstein said. "They want to be challenged in the classroom, and we are challenging them to get better on the basketball court. They are such an intelligent group. They want to soak up as much as they can."

Donley leads way for
swimmers in Canton

Miranda Donley of the swimming and diving team set two meet records and helped set a third in the Northeast Classic on Jan. 14 at Branin Natatorium in Canton, site of the state meet.

The senior won two individual events and was a member of two winning relays for the Unicorns, who finished fifth (153 points) behind champion New Albany (206) as 47 teams scored.

Donley won the 50-yard freestyle (meet-record 22.73 seconds) and 100 butterfly (meet-record 54.87) and joined Alicia Donley, Maggie Wagenbrenner and Jordan Aurnou-Rhees on the first-place 200 free relay (meet-record 1:35.94) and Anna Ray Ziegler, Alicia Donley and Aurnou-Rhees on the winning 200 medley relay (1:46.35).

Alicia Donley placed eighth in the 50 free (24.67), Aurnou-Rhees finished ninth in the 200 individual medley (2:08.19), Wagenbrenner placed 11th in the 100 free (53.75) and Ziegler was 15th in the 100 backstroke (1:00.07).

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