Madison Greene still has more than two seasons remaining with the Pickerington High School Central girls basketball team, so it's a virtual certainty that she will build on the six Division I offers she already has received.
The sophomore guard is more focused on helping the Tigers win their seventh overall state championship and first since 1999, but Greene still pinches herself every so often over the attention she has commanded.
"At first, it's confusing. It's hard to think these coaches came out to see me play," Greene said. "You get a little overwhelmed, but you have to play your game. You have to shut out everything else."
Greene is enjoying her season, in which she was averaging 13.8 points, 6.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 steals through 20 games to bring Central to the brink of the OCC-Ohio Division championship entering the week, but also prides herself on treating every day and game the same.
"Every day is like a business for her," coach Johnathan Hedgepeth said. "She comes in every day with the same drive, the same motivation. She wants to be the best. We don't have to demand that from her. She practices hard. She will sprint every sprint."
Central lost to Newark -- ranked first in last week's Division I state poll -- 55-41 on Feb. 4 and was 16-4 overall and 8-0 in the league before playing at Reynoldsburg on Feb. 7. The Tigers, who earned the third seed in the 47-team Division I district tournament and will play host to 39th-seeded Briggs in a first-round game Feb. 18, beat Lancaster 55-36 in an OCC-Ohio contest Feb. 3 and stood to clinch the league title with a win over Reynoldsburg.
One of Greene's recent displays of dominance came in a 59-43 win over Pickerington North on Jan. 27, when she scored 12 consecutive points spanning the first and second quarters to turn around an early 10-6 deficit. Greene also hit three 3-pointers in the first four minutes of the third quarter to help expand a 25-22 lead to 42-26.
"She is about as good as a sophomore girl as you will see in this state," North coach Dave Butcher said. "She can pass, penetrate and score. She can pull up and score. She is a great shooter. She has a complete game. She does not have a lot of weaknesses."
According to Hedgepeth, if Greene had a weakness during a freshman season in which she averaged 13 points, five assists and three rebounds, it was a tendency to be quiet. He attributed at least part of that to Greene not attending Pickerington schools until eighth-grade and needing extra time to get to know her teammates, but said that changed last summer during AAU tournaments and team functions.
Although he considers Greene a capable leader, Hedgepeth wants to moderate the responsibility that falls on her shoulders.
"She is just a good all-around player, but she is still a sophomore. We don't want her to feel the pressure of (having a big game) every night, and luckily she hasn't had to," Hedgepeth said.
Greene, who attended Columbus City Schools before moving to Pickerington, admitted she was hesitant to be a vocal leader immediately. She played mostly shooting guard until eighth grade, when she moved to point.
"My freshman year, I made my shots and passed the ball around, but this year my goal was to be a better leader and make sure we win and get everything done we need to do to make sure we win," Greene said. "That is the most important thing."
Greene chuckled as she struggled to remember all of the colleges interested in her. She has received scholarship offers from Dayton, Detroit Mercy, Toledo, Xavier and Winthrop.
"It makes me really proud," said guard Maliya Perry, who considers Greene her best friend. "She is a great teammate. She is more vocal and is helping everybody else out. We all want (to be good), but Madison is a great leader. She is a pretty good player."
leads boys bowlers
After being unsure whether Adrian Jackson would return to the boys bowling team this season, coach Jason Roach could not have asked for any more from the senior.
Jackson's 180.1 game average led Central through 17 matches, a figure Roach said could end up as the best in program history if Jackson remains consistent into the postseason.
"It probably would be the best average of anybody we've ever had at this school," Roach said. "He listens to coaching. He figures things out. I can talk to him in detail about patterns and he listens and then bowls the way he needs to do. If I tell him to put the ball between the second and third arrows, he can do it.
"He's one of the most coachable kids we have, and I think that's because he didn't come in with a ton of experience."
Jackson, who also was a wide receiver for the football team, joined the bowling team last year and averaged 162. Even so, he debated whether he would return for his senior season until shortly before the season.
The boys team defeated Marion-Franklin 1,936-1,509 in its regular-season finale Feb. 3 to improve to 11-8 overall and finish 10-5 in the COHSBC-South. The Tigers finished 1-5 in the OCC-Central.
The girls are 9-7 overall and finished 8-6 in the COHSBC-South and 1-4 in the OCC-Central.
The boys team set a single-match record with 2,256 on Jan. 26, when it finished second in a tri-meet against Marysville (2,285) and Reynoldsburg (2,149).
According to Roach, senior Abigail Hill also is on track to record the highest average in the history of the girls team. She was averaging 162.7 through 13 matches and bowled a single-game record 203 on Jan. 19 against Lancaster.
"She started the season a little slow, but she's really gotten hot lately," Roach said of Hill, who was a Division I district qualifier last season. "I like where we are right now. We've lost a few matches I thought we should have won, and then we turned around and have beaten a few good teams like Reynoldsburg, Briggs and Groveport. I don't know if we are as good as those teams top-to-bottom, but we beat them."
Boys basketball team
stays on course
The boys basketball team solidified its standing atop the OCC-Ohio and pulled an upset on consecutive nights last weekend.
After remaining unbeaten in the league with a 53-48 win at Lancaster on Feb. 3, Central edged visiting Newark -- ranked second in last week's Division I state poll -- 67-66 on Feb. 4. Sterling Manley hit two free throws with 10.4 seconds left to give the sixth-ranked Tigers the lead, and the Wildcats' B.J. Duling missed a shot in traffic at the buzzer.
Manley had 18 points and 10 rebounds and Jeremiah Francis had a team-high 21 points.
Central was 17-2 overall and 7-0 in the OCC-Ohio before visiting Reynoldsburg on Feb. 7. The Tigers entered the week two games ahead of second-place North (5-2).
Francis also had 21 points against Lancaster.
make college decisions
Six football players announced their college decisions Feb. 1.
Te' Cogar-Howard, Darius Coker and Garon Howard will play at Alderson Broaddus, Kieren Douglas will play at Army, Morgan Ellison will play at Indiana and Sam Ramey will play at Ohio Dominican.