Coming off a season in which it went undefeated during the regular season and made it to the Division I state tournament, the Gahanna Lincoln High School girls bowling team has lived up to its high expectations so far this winter.
The boys team, meanwhile, has exceeded its performance from a season ago when it lost seven league matches.
"Right now we're doing well," coach Kelly Ferguson said.
Four of the girls team's top players are returnees from the squad that won titles in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-North Division and OCC-Central last season.
The Lions have gotten a further boost from freshman Lilu Smith, who is third on the team in average (175.5) behind seniors Shannon Gonzales (184.6) and Briann McKnight (179.2).
Senior Delaney Ferguson (162.7) and junior Taylor Burns (160.3) also have been key contributors for the girls, who are 7-0 overall, 7-0 in the COHSBC-A and 1-0 in the OCC-Central.
Gahanna scored better than 2,000 in six of its first seven matches.
"Lilu is our freshman, and she has been a great asset to our team," coach Ferguson said. "She's been bowling a long time. They're all pretty evenly matched."
The boys are 6-1 overall, 6-1 in the COHSBC-A and 1-0 in the OCC-Central.
Gahanna opened with a 2,297-2,084 loss to Delaware on Dec. 4 but won its next six matches, with a season-best score in a 2,495-2,217 win over Olentangy on Dec. 21.
Freshman Hunter Blankenship is leading in average at 201.8, followed by sophomore Nathan Minzler (201.1), senior Sal Ferrante (192.6), junior Dalton Cararo (191.9) and freshmen DeAndre Quiero (184.6) and Hunter McKnight (181.3).
"The varsity boys are doing great," coach Ferguson said. "They're up in the first two in our division for the first time since 2012, so they're looking great this year. They're coming together more as a team this year."
Klein's return boosts hockey team
Senior Quinton Klein wasn't planning to play for the hockey team this season because of a left hip problem.
Then when he saw the Lions compete in the Chiller Thanksgiving Classic in late November, Klein began having second thoughts.
"(Deciding to play was) actually kind of a last-minute thing," he said. "I saw the boys playing and I missed it, so I decided to come back for my last year. It's definitely been good. It's helping my hip for sure playing hockey, and actually strengthens it."
Klein, who split time last season between junior varsity and varsity, has provided an experienced presence at defenseman for a team that is leaning heavily on youth.
Gahanna is 2-15 overall and 0-8 in the Capital Hockey Conference-Blue. It beat Mason 8-1 on Dec. 3 and the Northwest Eagles 4-3 on Dec. 9.
Senior forward Will Rhymer has 15 goals and three assists to lead the offense.
Sophomore Hayden Sindledecker has two goals and three assists at forward and also has seen time at goaltender, earning the victory over the Eagles.
Junior Eric Frick Jr. was the winning goalie against Mason.
Freshman defenseman Thomas Giles has four goals and three assists, and freshman forward Austin Lampert has three goals and three assists.
Freshmen Colton Heery (forward), Ashwin Kumar (def-enseman) and John Warner (defenseman) have been other key contributors, according to coach Kevin Schodorf.
"It's a big learning curve, but the players have really stepped up," Schodorf said. "Will's been a great senior captain and has obviously has stepped up his game offensively. We've gotten real good contributions from our freshmen."
Girls basketball team preps for Raiders
Before losing to Pickerington Central 75-68 on Jan. 13, the girls basketball team had won six games in a row.
Included in that stretch was a 61-48 victory over Olentangy Liberty on Jan. 9 in which 10 players scored, led by Morgan Darnell with 16 points and Anisja Harris with 13.
Harris made six 3-pointers and scored a career-high 29 points against Central but the Lions were outscored 16-9 in the third quarter on their way to falling to 9-6 overall and 2-4 in the OCC-Ohio.
Harris is averaging a team-high 14 points as the Lions prepare to play host to Reynoldsburg on Friday, Jan. 19.
During a 61-52 loss to the Raiders on Dec. 8, Edyn Battle scored 20 points and Madison Hensley had 11 to lead the Lions.
Battle is averaging 12.4 points and Darnell is averaging 10.4.
Wrestling team splits opening OCC duals
The wrestling team began the OCC-Ohio schedule Jan. 11 at Pickerington North by losing to Pickerington Central 46-33 and beating the host Panthers 45-30.
The Lions return to league action Jan. 25 at home against Reynoldsburg.
On Dec. 27 and 28 in the 44-team Medina Invitational Tournament, Gahanna was 35th (35) behind champion Wadsworth (229). Jamal Lloyd (126 pounds), Max Wright (152) and Adam Grimard (182) all won two matches in the event.
Below are the coming schedules for the Gahanna Lincoln boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, hockey, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 19 -- At Reynoldsburg. The Lions beat the Raiders 67-59 on Dec. 8.
Jan. 23 -- At New Albany
*Jan. 19 -- Home vs. Reynoldsburg. The Lions lost to the Raiders 61-52 on Dec. 8.
Jan. 23 -- Home vs. New Albany
*Jan. 18 -- Olentangy Liberty at Gahanna Lanes
*Jan. 19 -- Westerville Central at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
*Jan. 24 -- Pickerington North at Gahanna Lanes
*Jan. 19 -- DeSales at Chiller Easton
Jan. 20 -- Centerville at South Metro Ice in Dayton
*Jan. 21 -- St. Charles at OhioHealth Ice Haus
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 19 -- Big Walnut at Gahanna YMCA
Jan. 20 -- Presidential Pentathlon Plus at Ohio Wesleyan
Jan. 18 -- At Central Crossing with Logan and Upper Arlington