Bethany Worm is playing like the veteran leader the young Westerville North High School girls basketball team has needed.
Through 14 games, the 5-foot-8 senior guard/forward was leading the Warriors in scoring (13.1 points), rebounds (6.5) and steals (2.0). She also has been their best shooter on field goals (63-for-166, 38.0 percent) and free throws (81.2 percent).
"Bethany does everything for us, and she's carrying a big load," said coach Lamont Tillman, whose team was 5-9 overall and 2-3 in the OCC-Buckeye Division before playing Olentangy Orange on Jan. 16. "The biggest thing is her feel for the game. She's become a better ball-handler, and she handles the ball a lot for us. She's doing all of the intangibles as well as the tangibles."
Worm started as a sophomore and junior after being the first player off the bench as a freshman. She averaged 10.5 points as a sophomore and 10.1 last season, when she was honorable mention all-district in Division I and second-team all-league.
"As a freshman, I was kind of a role player," said Worm, who had 23 points in a 67-48 win over Marysville on Jan. 9. " I knew where I needed to be and if I had a shot I knew I should take it. I was nervous but got more comfortable throughout the season.
"It was so fast, it was crazy. I learned to just be confident in whatever I was doing, keeping my head up and staying confident. Since we're at the halfway point, (the younger players) know where they need to be and are more comfortable on the court."
Worm and sophomore point guard Alyssa Wright entered the season with the majority of the Warriors' varsity experience.
In the offseason, North lost a pair of Division I recruits in senior Anisja Harris and sophomore Gabby Hutcherson. Harris, a Wright State signee, moved to Gahanna and Hutcherson, who has numerous college offers, transferred to Westerville South.
Worm has committed to play at Indiana Institute of Technology in Fort Wayne. She also was the goalkeeper on the girls soccer team the last three seasons.
"I think being a goalie really helped me with my footwork and in getting to the ball quicker," she said. "And, of course, it helped my hands."
Worm entered high school right as Tillman took over the program for the 2014-15 season. He said they both have grown and Worm is like a coach on the floor.
"Bethany is the heart and soul of the team," Tillman said. "She knows what we want to do, and she has a scrappy and competitive nature."
Worm has grown into her leadership role and expects the Warriors to continue to grow.
"The biggest thing I do is probably making sure everyone is in the game and that we're staying focused," she said. "That's been easier now that they really have started to understand the offense more and where they need to be on defense."
Worm said she will need to improve her ball-handling and her shot before playing at the next level. Tillman has his own ideas on how she needs to improve.
"Bethany just needs to be staying in the gym, staying committed to both the skill work and the strength training in order to prepare for the speed of the game," he said. "Your motor has to consistently be running because it's like high school basketball times five.
"The level of commitment is so high as well as the speed and the physicality. She probably won't have to log as many minutes, especially as freshman, but she has put herself in position to play right away."
North names three coaches
North has named coaches for girls soccer, boys tennis and girls tennis, pending school board approval.
Ricky Konkolewski, a 2000 graduate of Olentangy, will lead the girls soccer program. He has been a head coach in Texas at Fulshear, Richmond Foster and Sugar Land Kempner.
"Ricky has extensive coaching and (history and government) teaching experience in the Houston area," athletics director Wes Elifritz said. "We're excited that he will be leading our program."
Konkolewski replaces Brett Weiss, who left the program after five seasons. The Warriors finished 8-8-2 overall and 2-2-1 in the OCC-Buckeye last fall.
Uy Nguyen will lead the boys tennis program after being an assistant under former coach Rob Carlson, who left because of new job responsibilities. Carlson led the boys program for four seasons and the girls program for six.
The new girls tennis coach is Max Quinton, who has led St. Charles the past two seasons. He also coached the boys team at Thomas Worthington and has been an assistant at Columbus School for Girls, Wellington and Worthington Christian, and Otterbein at the collegiate level.
"(Nguyen) gives tennis lessons and we're happy that he will lead the varsity," Elifritz said. "We were thrilled with Max's experience and pleased to know what he wants to do to build the program (with) younger kids. He wants to do summer camps to help players at the lower levels."
The boys were 10-6 overall and 3-4 in the OCC-Buckeye last spring, and the girls were 6-10 overall and 1-4 in the OCC-Buckeye last fall.
Mathews wins twice for boys swim team
Jason Mathews won two events Jan. 13 in the Central Ohio Splash, which held swimming events at Thomas and diving at Westerville Community Center.
The Warriors competed in the meet after bad weather prevented them from traveling to the Northeast Classic at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
Mathews won the 100-yard freestyle (46.09 seconds) and 200 free (1:40.5) as the boys finished fifth (265) of 12 teams behind champion Dublin Scioto (340).
Andrew Bernsdorf won the 200 individual medley (1:56.72) and was runner-up in the 100 backstroke (54.25). Hayden Yeager won the 100 breaststroke (1:08.31) and was second in the 200 IM (2:08.31).
Janessa Mathews led the girls team by winning the 100 breast (1:05.5) and placing second in the 200 free (1:59.98). Christy Harper was runner-up in the 100 back (1:00.74), and Emily Richards was second in diving (300.05).
The girls were fourth (301) of 10 teams behind champion Westerville Central (376).
Below are the coming schedules for the North boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 19 -- At Westerville Central. The Warriors defeated the Warhawks 51-48 on Dec. 8.
Jan. 23 -- At Upper Arlington
*Jan. 19 -- At Central. The Warriors defeated the Warhawks 43-34 on Dec. 8.
Jan. 23 -- Home vs. UA
*Jan. 22 -- Olentangy Orange at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 20 -- Pickerington North at Westerville Community Center
*Jan. 18 -- Home vs. Orange