Teneea Heston has experience on her side, and now her health also is cooperating.
The 5-foot-8 senior point guard and fourth-year starter for the Hilliard Bradley High School girls basketball team missed seven games -- the first seven of her prep career -- because of a knee injury, but her return has helped the Jaguars rebound from a slow start.
Heston injured her left knee in a 51-43 loss to Olentangy Liberty on Nov. 28 in the season opener. The Jaguars went 1-6 without Heston in the lineup, but carried a four-game winning streak and were 5-7 overall before playing Marysville on Jan. 16.
"I have my good days and I have bad days where the pain comes in, but it's definitely getting better from where I was," said Heston, who returned to the lineup Dec. 27 in a 53-44 win over New Albany, scoring nine points. "At first, it was an unbearable pain, but then I took time off, and now I can play through it."
Heston averaged 10.3 points in limited action in her first four games back and was averaging 9.6 points on the season before Jan. 16.
"It was extremely difficult (to sit on sideline) because it was the first time I've ever had to do that," she said. "Plus, it was a learning point for me because you see how much the coaches go through. It's definitely easier playing. When you're sitting there, you have no control even though you want to make decisions and do the things you cannot."
Heston averaged 9.4 points with 4.1 rebounds as a sophomore before taking over at point guard for 2016 graduate Grace Fodor last season, when she averaged a team-high 14.5 points, 2.8 assists and 2.1 steals and was named second-team all-district in Division I and OCC-Cardinal Division Player of the Year.
Having played basketball since third grade, Heston entered her freshman season ready to start on varsity, or so she thought.
"When I started playing basketball, I was good at it and I liked it," she said. "I had a great time working in the gym and I love working on my craft.
"As a freshman, I wasn't necessarily nervous, but the pace of the game got faster. I was ready because I prepared myself for the moment. (2015 graduate) Ashley Hummel told me that it didn't matter if I was a freshman, sophomore or senior or whatever, I had to just go out and play. She said that I was playing for a reason and coach (Kathy) Lindsey has faith in me, and she put me in this situation to succeed, so I should make the most of it."
Lindsey said that experience and the skills built over time are why Heston has been an integral part of the program.
"Teneea is so strong with the ball, even when she's not at the point," Lindsey said. "She helps out with ball-handling a lot. Her strength is ball-handling and experience, and she has played a lot."
The Jaguars made the OCC-Cardinal race more interesting by handing Dublin Scioto its first league loss, 49-46 on Jan. 9. Abbey White, a 5-11 senior post player, led Bradley with 17 points and Heston scored 15, going 9-for-13 at the free-throw line. Freshman guard Carly Callahan added 10 points.
Bradley, which has won three consecutive league titles, is 3-3 in the OCC-Cardinal.
"I can see the floor a lot better (than when I was a freshman)," Heston said. "Playing with Ashley and (2015 graduate) Meredith (Miller) taught me how I can get the ball inside. Now, I can get the ball to Abbey at different angles and I can see everything more clearly."
White is not the only beneficiary of Heston's experience. The Jaguars also have twin freshmen guards Carly and Chloe Callahan, both of whom have already spent a lot of time in the gym with the senior.
"They're in the gym with me more than anyone in the program," said Heston, who has signed to play at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. "Sometimes their on-court decision-making has been a little slower. I'll tell them that that pass shouldn't have gone there or something like that. I'll say to them, 'That's that freshman stuff,' and they'll laugh."
Even though Bradley's slow start has put its string of league titles in jeopardy, Heston would like to add another district championship to the one the program won during her freshman season. To accomplish their goals, the Jaguars must stay focused throughout each game.
"Coach Lindsey always tells us that every play matters," Heston said. "You can't take plays off or take them for granted because that's what the game will come down to in the end.
"But we can play with anyone. We have been successful for the last three years, and when we stick to the game plan we're given, we can do well."
Hall, Hribar top bowlers in average
Dylan Hall and Christy Hribar led the boys and girls bowling teams in average through six matches.
Hall averaged 192.5 per game for the boys team, which was 2-4 overall and 2-3 in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-B Division before competing against Pickerington North on Jan. 17 and is 0-4 in the OCC-Cardinal.
Dalton Barclay was next at 169.7, followed by Nolan Croce (169.5), Brandon Dever (161.3) and Scott Parker-Jones (153.9).
Hribar had a 177.4 average for the girls team, which was 3-3 overall and 3-2 in the COHSBC-B before competing against North on Jan. 17 and is 1-3 in the OCC-Cardinal.
Ava Miller (153.7) was next, followed by Callie Hribar (139.8), Marisabel Aguilar (141.2) and Claire Waggener (130.5).
Bad weather affects boys team's schedule
The boys basketball team entered the week having had two games postponed or canceled because of bad weather.
The Jaguars' OCC-Cardinal game at Darby on Jan. 12 was postponed and has been rescheduled for Feb. 13, while their game against Orlando (Florida) Christian Prep in Flyin' to the Hoop on Jan. 13 at Kettering Fairmont was canceled.
Bradley is 9-1 overall and 5-0 in the OCC-Cardinal entering its home game against Thomas Worthington on Friday, Jan. 19.
Matt Allocco and Isaiah Speelman both scored 14 points in a 58-37 league win over Scioto on Jan. 9. Chris Mayfield added 10 points and Jack Pugh scored nine.
Below are the coming schedules for the Bradley boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, gymnastics, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 19 -- Home vs. Thomas Worthington. The Jaguars defeated the Cardinals 44-16 on Dec. 8.
*Jan. 23 -- At Worthington Kilbourne. The Jaguars defeated the Wolves 59-34 on Dec. 19.
*Jan. 19 -- At Thomas. The Jaguars lost to the Cardinals 50-49 on Dec. 8.
*Jan. 23 -- Home vs. Kilbourne. The Jaguars defeated the Wolves 41-40 on Dec. 19.
*Jan. 18 -- Davidson at Ten Pin Alley
Jan. 20 -- Pirate Challenge at Poelking South Lanes in Dayton
*Jan. 22 -- Thomas at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
*Jan. 24 -- Newark at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
Jan. 23 -- At Davidson with Darby, Delaware, Dresden Tri-Valley and Thomas
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 18 -- At New Albany
Jan. 20 -- Darby and Davidson at Hilliard YMCA
*Jan. 18 -- Home vs. Kilbourne