The Pickerington High School Central wrestling team earned two wins to begin OCC-Ohio Division competition Jan. 11 at Pickerington North.
One of them, a 57-17 win over Reynoldsburg, was lopsided, but coach Jason Allen felt a 46-33 win over Gahanna didn't have to be that close.
"We got bonus points where we needed them. The thing we have to work is on mat awareness -- where we are, how much time is left, things like that -- and capitalize on positions," Allen said. "We gave up too many bonus points (against Gahanna).
"Things are starting to come together. We have a lot of room for improvement, but I like where we're at right now as far as conditioning and technique. We have things to work on technically. Conditioning (-wise), we're right where we need to be right now."
Central won 11 matches against Reynoldsburg and nine against Gahanna. Eight of its wins over the Raiders were by pin, and the Tigers got six pins against the Lions.
The fastest such win came at 170 pounds from Silas Pearson, who pinned Reynoldsburg's Josias Apiou in 31 seconds.
Allen especially likes the progress of his lightweights and middleweights, including 106-pounder Bo Branson, who got two wins by forfeit Jan. 11.
"Bo is coming around very well," Allen said. "We have to work on some things in the lightweights and middleweights, but they're wrestling well. Grey (Brancifort at 220) has wrestled well, and Jimmy (Castro at heavyweight) is challenging guys. He is not getting intimidated. He is going right after (opponents)."
Central resumes OCC-Ohio competition Jan. 25 at three-time defending league champion Lancaster. The Tigers also will wrestle against Grove City that night.
Boys basketball team preparing for North
The boys basketball team will try to resume its dominance in the series against North when it visits the Panthers on Friday, Jan. 19.
Central is 6-5 overall after a 76-52 loss to Powder Springs (Georgia) McEachern on Jan. 15 in the Flyin' to the Hoop at Kettering Fairmont and is 3-1 in the OCC-Ohio. The only loss came against North, 59-41 at home on Dec. 8.
Juan Elmore had 14 points against North and Coleton Landis and Juan Woods each scored seven for the Tigers, who lead the all-time series 15-5.
The game will be played as the second half of a girls-boys doubleheader. The girls game is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., and the boys contest will start approximately 20 minutes after the conclusion of the girls game.
The Tigers' game against Gahanna on Jan. 12 was postponed because of bad weather and rescheduled for Jan. 29.
Point guard Jeremiah Francis said late last week that his recovery from a Dec. 12 arthroscopic surgery on his right knee was going well, but he does not know when he will be medically cleared to play. Francis, a North Carolina commit who has yet to play in a game this season, said before his surgery that he expected to be out until late January.
Central otherwise is healthy, but coach Eric Krueger recently said he needs more from all of his players until Francis returns.
"We have a lot of big games coming up throughout our whole schedule, really," Krueger said. "We're just trying to encourage guys to step up. Not having Jeremiah is a big loss, so we are trying to make up for it by having guys step up in their positions and just do a little bit more."
Wallace nominated for All-American game
Bexley Wallace of the girls basketball team was named Jan. 10 as a nominee for the McDonald's All-American Game on March 28 in Atlanta.
Wallace, a 6-foot-3 senior and Penn State commit, was one of 11 nominees from Ohio and more than 700 nationally. She was averaging 5.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 blocks through 14 games for Central, which is 14-1 overall after a 58-36 win over North Canton Hoover in the Classic in the Country at Berlin Hiland on Jan. 15 and is 6-0 in the OCC-Ohio entering its game at North.
The 24 finalists were to be announced Jan. 16.
Below are the coming schedules for the Central boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 19 -- At Pickerington North. The Tigers lost to the Panthers 59-41 on Dec. 8.
Jan. 23 -- At Westerville Central
*Jan. 19 -- At Pickerington North. The Tigers defeated the Panthers 67-41 on Dec. 8.
Jan. 23 -- Home vs. Westerville Central
*Jan. 18 -- Pickerington North at Rule 3
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 20 -- Presidential Pentathlon at Ohio Wesleyan
Jan. 20 -- Comet Classic at Central Crossing and Panther Invitational at Pickerington North