After a slow start to the season, the Hilliard Davidson High School boys basketball team is beginning to return to the form that helped it reach a Division I district final each of the past two seasons.
The Wildcats carried a five-game winning streak into their contest against Grove City on Jan. 16. They were 6-4 overall before facing the Greyhounds after starting 1-4 under first-year coach Tim Congrove.
"Our guys have been playing well. They've been playing together, unselfish basketball," Congrove said. "What I've been most proud of recently is the next play mentality we've had. Our attitude, our body language has been good, and you can see that buy-in. ... Hopefully, we can keep this going. We have high expectations and we expect to."
Davidson is 2-2 in the OCC-Central Division and visits Dublin Coffman on Friday, Jan. 19. The Shamrocks, who defeated the Wildcats 61-43 on Dec. 8, are tied with Upper Arlington for first in the league at 4-0.
Congrove said the rematch with Coffman will serve as a gauge for his team's improvement.
"We want to keep winning and possibly have a chance at sharing our league (title) with Coffman and UA," junior Jacob Drees said.
Davidson's winning streak included a 37-35 victory over Bradley, which snapped a three-game losing streak against the Jaguars.
"Bradley is like our little brothers since they've been around, so that was really big for our program," Drees said.
Drees said the players becoming more acclimated with Congrove's coaching style has played a big role in the team's turnaround. Congrove was an assistant under former coach Cort Hamilton the past three seasons.
Hamilton stepped down to become Bradley's athletics director.
"He's definitely getting used to (being the head coach) and he's looking more to enforce what he wants," Drees said on Congrove. "He's actually making consequences if you don't do what he wants us to do. A lot of guys are starting to buy in to what he wants."
Davidson defeated host Olentangy Orange 51-45 on Jan. 9 as senior M.J. Rasoul and junior Patrick Preece each scored 12 points and Drees added 11.
"We've had good, balanced scoring and you can see that unselfishness when we play," Congrove said. "That was a tough place to play. (Orange is) a very good team. They have a lot of talent over there."
Orange, which had won five of its previous six games, was 9-4 before playing Westerville North on Jan. 16.
Davidson will be looking to sweep its community rivals for the first time since the 2011-12 season when it plays host to Darby on Saturday, Jan. 20.
Through 10 games, Drees was averaging 10.4 points, followed by sophomore Gage Keys (8.5) and Preece (7.6).
Drees also led in rebounding (6.3 per game).
"We have a lot of talent and we've had multiple guys step up at different times," Congrove said. "That's one of those things that makes us tough to play against. We don't necessarily have one guy that is always scoring 20 (points) a game. We have multiple guys that can step up and do something any night. I'm proud of the way they're going on the defensive end, and that's where we get it done."
The Wildcats' league game at Marysville on Jan. 12 was postponed because of bad weather and was rescheduled for Jan. 31.
Girls basketball team to face Shamrocks
The girls basketball team will play host to Coffman in an OCC-Central game Friday, Jan. 19, looking to avenge a 79-43 loss to the Shamrocks on Dec. 7.
The Wildcats were 6-7 overall before playing Pickerington North on Jan 16 and are 3-2 in the OCC-Central.
Davidson lost to visiting Orange 34-32 on Jan. 9. Emily Simon had 13 points to lead the Wildcats, whose league game at home against Marysville on Jan. 12 was postponed because of bad weather and has been rescheduled for Jan. 31.
Wrestlers open OCC schedule with win
The wrestling team opened OCC-Central competition Jan. 11 by defeating host UA 46-22.
Winning by pin were Micah Dusseau at 120 pounds (5 minutes, 13 seconds), Gio DiSabato at 126 (3:24), Jackson Sowers at 132 (1:59), Connor Lucy at 138 (2:42) and Demetri Monroe at 145 (3:09).
Davidson was scheduled to compete in the Porter Memorial Tournament on Jan. 13 at Bradley, but the event was canceled because of bad weather.
Below are the coming schedules for the Davidson boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, gymnastics, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 19 -- At Dublin Coffman. The Wildcats lost to the Shamrocks 61-43 on Dec. 8.
Jan. 20 -- Home vs. Darby
Jan. 23 -- At Olentangy Liberty
*Jan. 19 -- Home vs. Coffman. The Wildcats lost to the Shamrocks 79-43 on Dec. 7.
Jan. 23 -- Home vs. Liberty
*Jan. 18 -- Bradley at Ten Pin Alley
*Jan. 19 -- Reynoldsburg at Ten Pin Alley
*Jan. 22 -- Worthington Kilbourne at Ten Pin Alley
Jan. 23 -- Gahanna at Ten Pin Alley
Jan. 23 -- Home vs. Bradley, Darby, Delaware, Dresden Tri-Valley and Thomas Worthington
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 18 -- At New Albany
Jan. 20 -- Bradley and Darby at Hilliard YMCA
*Jan. 18 -- Home vs. Westland
Jan. 20 -- Hamilton Township Classic