First-year Dublin Jerome High School girls basketball coach Natalie Herring wishes she would have had the chance to chart more fully the progress of her four seniors since last season.

Herring knows she's seen growth in that group just in her few months heading the program, with players such as Alex Madry having provided a steadying presence.

While Madry was averaging 8.8 points and four rebounds through 20 games, one of the things Herring has been most pleased about regarding the 5-foot-9 post player is that she was averaging fewer than three turnovers.

"With a new coach, it's a process, but I think I'm getting to know them better and they're getting to know me better," Herring said. "We're running our offense in the halfcourt much better and haven't been so anxious to score. To be honest, all of the seniors have stepped up."

Madry, who is joined in the senior class by guards Rachel Ferguson, Deanna Prochko and Rachel Remias, was a key factor in the Celtics putting together a strong two weeks in mid-January.

Jerome had lost three games in a row and was 6-14 overall and 4-6 in the OCC-Cardinal Division before playing Hilliard Bradley on Feb. 7.

The Celtics, however, won five of six games from Jan. 10 through Jan. 24 after losing 10 of their first 11. Madry averaged 11.7 points during the six-game stretch, including scoring 18 in a 44-26 win over Scioto on Jan. 13.

When Madry was a freshman in the 2013-14 season at Jonathan Alder, she scored eight points during a mid-January 65-35 loss to North Union, which was coached at the time by Herring. She transferred to Jerome the next year.

"It was so hard (early this season), but once we got on that run it made all the work seem more worth it," Madry said. "On our team everyone tends to stay positive, but after having a new coaching staff and having a rough start, we all had to stick together. We have brand new plays and our team is a lot more structured. I feel like we're a lot more disciplined and we play a lot smarter. Practices can be pretty intense, but they can also be light-hearted. (Herring is) very consistent."

Madry had been receiving some interest from colleges, but she elected to stop playing at the AAU level last summer after deciding that she'll likely focus on academics after high school.

A member of the National Honor Society and the school art club, she is considering studying nursing.

"I just realized that I've played basketball my whole life and I wanted to try something new," Madry said.

Madry and the other seniors will play their final regular-season game Friday, Feb. 10, at home against Delaware.

The Celtics then will prepare for the postseason. They are seeded 36th in the Division I district tournament and will open the postseason Feb. 24 on the road against 16th-seeded Upper Arlington or 26th-seeded DeSales in the second round.

"Usually we play well when we're communicating, when we're all on the same page and are making smart decisions," Madry said."

Hockey coach expects
CBJ Cup to be 'tough'

After going through a stretch in which it lost four of six games before beating Watterson 5-1 on Feb. 3 at Chiller Easton, the hockey team earned the fourth seed for the Blue Jackets Cup tournament.

Jerome will play fifth-seeded New Albany at 6:10 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, in the first round of the CBJ Cup at OhioHealth Ice Haus, with the winner to play top-seeded St. Charles or eighth-seeded Olentangy in a semifinal at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, at Chiller Easton. The championship game is at 4:10 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12, at the Ice Haus.

The Celtics are 18-9-5 overall and finished fourth in the CHC-Red Division at 10-4-0-2 (22 points), behind St. Charles (28, 14-2), Olentangy Liberty (28, 14-2) and Upper Arlington (26, 13-3) and ahead of Coffman (7, 3-12-1).

Jerome went 0-2 against both St. Charles and UA, 1-1 against Liberty and 2-0 against Coffman.

The Cup tournament will continue Friday, Feb. 10, and conclude Sunday, Feb. 12.

"We played well (against Watterson)," coach Pat Murphy said. "Obviously, Watterson is much improved (after winning just two games last season). It was our 18th win. The (Cup tournament) is going to be really tough."

Through 30 games, Jack Dowling had 22 goals and 10 assists and Austin Booth had eight goals and 15 assists.

Against Watterson, senior forward Cole Franklin scored a goal in his varsity debut.

Girls swimmers
eager for postseason

The girls swimming and diving team isn't planning to let the disappointment of having to settle for being runner-up in the OCC-Cardinal meet Jan. 28 at Thomas Worthington after winning four consecutive league titles get in its way of a strong postseason.

The girls and boys teams both will compete in a Division I sectional Saturday, Feb. 11, at Columbus School for Girls. The winner of each swimming event and 27 at-large berths in each event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectional sites qualify for district Feb. 17 and 18 at Ohio State. There is no diving at sectional.

The girls returned three state competitors from a year ago in junior Lauren Cooper and sophomores Brenna Cooper and Emma Mathews. The trio teamed with 2016 graduate Quinn Fike to finish 13th in the 200 medley relay (1 minute, 48.05 seconds) at state last season.

Freshman Maya Geringer has replaced Fike on this year's relay, which won the OCC-Cardinal title in 1:53.77.

"We lost a lot of good seniors from last year so that really hurt us, but we're trying to keep things going," Lauren Cooper said. "We made it to state in the 200 medley relay last season, so we're hoping to do that again. It's the same people with Maya Geringer, so I'm doing the backstroke this year in that event instead of the (butterfly). Maya's an amazing freshman."

In the league meet, Lauren Cooper placed second in the 100 back (1:02.17) and third in the 200 freestyle (2:02.7) and joined Geringer, Mathews and senior Haley Izzo on the third-place 200 free relay (1:45.9).

Athletes announce
college commitments

Eight senior student-athletes announced their college commitments Feb. 1.

In football, Ty Henderson (Central Michigan) and Sam Neverov (Bowling Green) committed to Football Bowl Subdivision programs. Thomas Henderson (East Tennessee State) committed to a Football Championship Subdivision program, Matt Preininger (Grand Valley State) will play for a Division II program and Michael Flanagan (Denison) will play for a Division III program.

Also announcing their commitments were Sam Wilson, who will play baseball at Marshall; Ryan Harris, who will play women's soccer at Old Dominion; and Sam Keener, who will play men's soccer at Butler.

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek