Lauren Morris had one explanation as to why, through 10 games, she had scored almost half of the Pickerington High School Central girls lacrosse team's goals this season.

"I look for feeds other people might not look for, and I look for upfield passes," she said.

The senior attacker downplayed her own talents and instead emphasized those of her teammates.

"I feel like we are just working together and everybody is looking (for opportunities)," Morris said. "It's not just one person out there. If it happens, it happens. A lot of people are stepping it up.

"Carly (Clinger) is very good at hustling. She works very hard. Everybody all around, we look for feeds. Transitions are good. I just feel like ... everybody brings something to the table. We are working better together than we were. It's just working now."

Morris has 55 of the Tigers' 118 goals, and Central is 3-7 overall and 3-1 in the OCC-Central Division entering a Thursday, April 27, game at Marysville.

Maddi Hyer is second on the team with 22 goals, followed by Clinger with 15 and Maddie Morrell with 14.

Morris was among Central's secondary offensive threats last year, when first-team all-state honoree Kat Walton was the Tigers' focal point. Walton now plays at Capital University.

Athleticism also runs in Morris' family. Her older brother, Brad, was an honorable mention all-state defensive back for Central's football team as a senior in 2014 and now plays linebacker at Brown University.

"(Lauren Morris) has really good field sense," coach Maggie Bornhorst said. "There are a lot of games she'll get beat up on, or double- and triple-teamed, but she finds her way through and is still able to score.

"She understands the game and is probably one of our strongest players in terms of understanding where to get open and how to remain calm under pressure. When she is calm, she calms everybody else down."

Morris had a career-high eight goals in an 18-7 victory at Gahanna on April 18, the Tigers' third consecutive win after an 0-6 start. Hyer added five goals and Clinger scored two, and goalkeeper Cieanna Jones made 10 saves.

Morris added seven more goals in a 20-16 loss to Olentangy on April 20.

Central's only league loss was to defending Division I state champion Upper Arlington, 17-1 on April 6.

Morris, who scored the Tigers' only goal that night, said she has made two major improvements in her game this year.

"I feel like I'm better on draws and I've been getting better positioning on my shots," Morris said.

"We did start off rough, but (a 16-12 win at Dublin Coffman on April 11, the Tigers' first victory of the year) really turned things around for us. We knew we had potential, and we are finally getting there. Things are looking good."

Boys lacrosse coach
happy with defense

Despite a tough week in which his team dropped two of three games, boys lacrosse coach Lou Fries thinks his offense is gaining more confidence as the end of the regular season approaches.

Central snapped a four-game losing streak with a 9-7 win over Gahanna on April 18, but lost to Olentangy Orange 11-4 on April 21 and fell to McMurray (Pennsylvania) Peters Township 15-5 the next day.

The Tigers were outscored 56-11 during their four-game skid, which included a 14-1 loss to UA on April 6.

Central was 4-9 overall and 1-2 in the OCC-Central before playing Newark, a first-year team, on April 25.

"We know that we are better than the few goals we scored in those matchups," Fries said. "(Against Gahanna,) our offense was able to get our goal total closer to those double digits where they need to be every game, so that was nice to see. ...

"The biggest thing standing out to me is how our defense is playing. We have a talented and deep group of defensemen that all contribute in different ways and we've had some short-stick midfielders really step up into some defensively focused minutes. This defensive play has put us in positions to compete, but unfortunately, we've not turned offensive possessions into points as efficiently as I'd like to see."

Mark Carberry had three goals against Gahanna, and Tyler Coyan and Morgan Morrell each scored two.

Morrell led the Tigers in goals (17) and assists (6) through 11 games. Carberry had 13 goals and four assists.

Track athletes shine
in Louisville meet

Dalany Boykins and Grace Luther led the girls track and field team in the mammoth Eastern Relays that concluded April 22 at the University of Louisville.

Boykins was runner-up in the discus (99 feet, 10 inches) and Luther placed second in the shot put (36-5 3/4) and third in the discus (99-9) to lead the Tigers, who scored 22 points to tie for 22nd of 56 teams, behind champion Floyds Knobs (Indiana) Floyd Central (172).

The boys team did not score in the Eastern Relays. Matt Scrape finished 22nd in the 3,200 meters (9 minutes, 41.46 seconds).

One hundred twelve high schools from Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee and West Virginia, among other states, were represented in the Eastern Relays.

Other Tigers competed in the 11-team Wildcat Invitational on April 21 at Westerville South.

The boys team got first-place finishes from John Brown in the discus (143-4) and Jack Jaynes in the 800 (1:59.21) and scored 76.5 points to finish third, behind champion Mason (146).

Led by runner-up finishes from Brittany Miller in the 400 (1:01.62) and Phylan Perkins in the shot put (36-10 1/4), the girls team finished fourth (56) behind champion Mason (149.5).

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

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