When Jen Music took over as Dublin Scioto High School girls basketball coach prior to the 2013-14 season, she turned to a pair of freshmen to lead a team.
While point guard Alexis Kennedy developed into a solid four-year starter for the Irish, she admits she was nervous at first.
"I was really scared," Kennedy said. "I was very honored. I was playing with good players who were older than me."Videos •Watch an interview with Scioto girls basketball player Alexis Kennedy. •Scioto wrestler Brian Zimmerman competes against Worthington Kilbourne's Sam Beerman on Feb. 2.
Kennedy was joined in the starting lineup as a freshman by classmate McKenzie Lomax, who became the program's all-time leading rebounder earlier this season.
"My plan was never to play Kennedy at point all four years," Music said. "I always felt maybe someone else would come in and we could put her on the wing and let her be more of a shooting guard and scorer. Each year came and went and she was still at the point. She struggled with confidence handling the ball, but once she learned to trust herself and be confident, she did a nice job."
Scioto went 2-21 overall in both the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons before improving to 6-17 last season, when Kennedy averaged 6.3 points and 5.1 rebounds.
That improvement has continued this season, as the Irish were 8-11 overall and 4-6 in the OCC-Cardinal Division before playing Thomas Worthington on Feb. 7.
"I'm going to remember having only two wins in each of the first two years and getting confidence in our team," Kennedy said. "Coach is doing a great job. She did a great job of getting our team together and building team chemistry."
Through 19 games this season, Kennedy was averaging 7.4 points, scoring a season-high 20 points in a 61-51 loss to Watterson on Nov. 29 and matching that total in a 53-41 loss to Hilliard Darby on Jan. 24.
She was fifth on the program's career list for steals with 182 and sixth in assists with 190.
Scioto will close the regular season Friday, Feb. 10, at Hilliard Bradley before turning its attention to the Division I district tournament. The Irish are seeded 29th of 47 teams and will play at 10th-seeded Olentangy Liberty in the first round Feb. 18.
Kennedy and Lomax are seeking their first postseason win in their four years with the program.
"We haven't won (a postseason game) since I began playing here, so it would be a really good feeling if we could win one," Kennedy said.
Scioto lost their first four games this season before winning seven of its next eight. However, the Irish had lost six of their previous seven games before playing Thomas, including a 40-36 loss to visiting Worthington Kilbourne on Feb. 3 to spoil senior night for Kennedy and Lomax.
Lomax and her sister, Kennedie, each had 10 points and Kennedy scored nine against Kilbourne.
"We put up a good fight, but we couldn't hang on at the end," said Music, whose team had beaten the Wolves 48-34 on Jan. 6. "We're definitely putting ourselves in a position where we can win, and it's just part of that finishing process. It's been fun watching our two seniors grow the past four years because of where they came from four years ago."
Boys basketball team
continues strong play
The boys basketball team rode a seven-game winning streak into its contest against Thomas on Feb. 7.
Scioto, which was 12-6 overall and 5-4 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing the Cardinals, defeated Kilbourne 50-40 in a league game Feb. 3 behind 19 points from Jackie Winchester and 12 from Jacob Jones.
The wrestling team turned in a dominating performance Feb. 2, defeating host Kilbourne 61-18 in an OCC-Cardinal match.
Winning by pin were Isaac Bodine at 132 pounds (1 minute), Eugene Choi at 152 (3:41), Jack Rubenkoenig at 170 (:43) and Brian Zimmerman at 220 (5:54).
"I'm really happy," coach Adam Huddle said. "The kids wrestled tough, they showed up ready to go. We had a good week of practice. When you have a good week of practice, that usually translates on the mat. ... Our young kids really wrestled well."
The Irish are 3-2 in the OCC-Cardinal and will close league action Thursday, Feb. 9, when they visit Thomas.