When its defense has been on, the Dublin Jerome High School girls basketball team has been a tough opponent to deal with this season.

The Celtics, who were 4-9 overall before playing Logan on Jan. 16, gave up an average of 29.8 points in their four victories.

"We don't have a ton of scoring prowess, and because we don't, if we keep teams around the 33-point range, we give ourselves opportunities to win," coach Natalie Herring said. "I think we're playing tougher. We're taking care of our own and helping our teammates when we need to, and we're communicating better. It's been a group effort. If one person falls on the floor and it doesn't pan out too well, the girls are smart enough to understand that scoring is tough for us, so we know we have to put some energy into the defensive side of the ball."

Jerome had won three of its previous four games before falling to Watterson 44-26 on Jan. 8 and then lost to Delaware 54-46 on Jan. 9 to drop to 3-3 in the OCC-Cardinal Division.

The Celtics held Watterson to just 14 points in the second half but were outscored 17-4 in the second quarter.

Against Delaware, sophomore Alie Intihar scored 11 points, followed by senior Stephanie Cline with 10, junior Demi Brewer with eight and sophomore Jamie Cline with seven.

Logan was the first of three consecutive opponents that Jerome is facing with losing records.

"We're hoping to get some opportunities again to put ourselves in position to win some games," Herring said. "We've been competitive with everyone in the league, so if we continue to be competitive, I think we'll do OK. We're starting three sophomores and as they mature, hopefully by (Division I district) tournament time, we'll be exactly where we want to be."

Hockey team looking to again beat Liberty

The hockey team lost to Olentangy Liberty 3-2 in a shootout Dec. 2 and 3-0 on Dec. 3 in non-league games, but avenged the setbacks by beating the Patriots 3-2 on Dec. 8 in Capital Hockey Conference-Red Division action.

Jerome will look to even the season series against Liberty when it faces the Patriots on Friday, Jan. 19, at Chiller North.

More importantly, a win would give the Celtics a season sweep in league games against the Patriots.

Jerome is 17-4-3-2 overall and 9-1 in the CHC-Red. Liberty is 8-1 in the league, followed by St. Charles (7-1-0-1) and Upper Arlington (6-2-0-1). The CHC-Red is the highest division of the three-division conference.

Last week, the Celtics were first and the Patriots second in the area coaches poll and Jerome was fifth and Liberty was ninth in the state poll.

"We just (played) St. Charles and got them 4-2 (on Jan. 7), and (this) week we've got Liberty," coach Pat Murphy said. "Liberty's really good, so that'll be a good game."

The Celtics went 1-2-1 in the Mark Rasmus Memorial Invitational held Jan. 12-14 at Tam-O-Shanter in Sylvania, including tying Cincinnati St. Xavier at 2 on Jan. 12 and beating the Bombers 3-1 on Jan. 14.

Jerome is hoping its offense continues to improve in support of a defensive unit that features senior goaltender Harrison Graff.

Junior forwards Nick Augenstein (9 goals, 14 assists), Trent Belli (13 goals, 24 assists) and J.P. Weaver (17 goals, 11 assists) were leading the offense through 22 games.

"We've played really well the last three weeks," Murphy said. "We've played some tough teams and have been able to rise to the occasion. I like what I see from this group of guys."

Gymnasts off to solid start

The gymnastics team will compete Friday, Jan. 19, in a six-team meet at Trics Gymnastics Academy in Washington Court House.

Jerome was slated to compete in the McGee Invitational on Jan. 13 at Coffman, but the meet was postponed because of bad weather and may not be rescheduled.

The Celtics were runners-up (129.4 points) in the 18-team Wolfpack Invitational on Jan. 6 at Worthington Kilbourne, behind Hudson (136.75), as sophomore Grace Krouse was first on vault (9.05).

Then on Jan. 11 at Kilbourne, Jerome scored 129.4 points to edge the runner-up Wolves (128.35) and also finish ahead of Coffman (97.8) and Scioto (92.05).

Wrestling team evens OCC record

The wrestling team improved to 2-2 in the OCC-Cardinal with a 53-7 victory at Kilbourne on Jan. 11.

Josh Snitkin (152 pounds), Joe Huber (170), Andrew Hohenbrink (182) and John Huber (195) each won by pin and Lane Williams (138), Ezra Strickland (145) and Drew Kavinsky (160) all won by decision.

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek

Schedules

Below are the coming schedules for the Jerome boys basketball, girls basketball, gymnastics, hockey, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:

BOYS BASKETBALL

*Jan. 19 -- Home vs. Worthington Kilbourne. The Celtics lost to the Wolves 66-49 on Dec. 8.

Jan. 20 -- Watkins Memorial at Quicken Loans Arena

Jan. 23 -- Home vs. Logan

GIRLS BASKETBALL

*Jan. 19 -- At Kilbourne. The Celtics beat the Wolves 40-26 on Dec. 8.

Jan. 20 -- At Olentangy Orange

GYMNASTICS

Jan. 19 -- Buckeye Valley, Jerome, Kilbourne, Scioto, Thornville Sheridan, Upper Arlington and Washington Court House Miami Trace at Trics Academy

HOCKEY

*Jan. 19 -- Olentangy Liberty at Chiller North

*Jan. 21 -- New Albany at Chiller Easton

SWIMMING & DIVING

Jan. 20 -- Dublin Classic at Dublin Recreation Center

WRESTLING

Jan. 20 -- Dan Wasserbeck Classic at North Union

*League contest