The ups and downs the Wellington School girls basketball team has endured this season may be clearing up.
The Jaguars, who were 7-7 overall before playing Worthington Christian on Jan. 16 after being Division IV district runners-up each of the past two seasons, believe they are starting to find consistency in their game.
"We have four seniors, but only two seniors returned from last year," senior guard/forward Jacquie Sierzputowski said. "This year, we obviously want to go further than we did last year and we think we can do that."
Wellington snapped a four-game losing streak by blowing past Grove City Christian 52-20 on Jan. 11, outscoring the Eagles 35-10 over the final two quarters.
The Jaguars then had no trouble beating Harvest Prep 36-9 on Jan. 13 after needing a 14-5 fourth-quarter run to pull away from the Warriors in a 47-31 win Dec. 2 in the first round of league play.
Wellington is 6-3 in the MSL-Cardinal Division heading into its matchup Tuesday, Jan. 23, at Millersport.
Junior point guard Savannah Childress likes the steps her team has made as it strives to improve its resume before the district tournament draw on Feb. 4.
"It was definitely good we took care of the ball (against Grove City Christian)," Childress said. "We got up and down. We executed well. It was probably still the best overall we played as a team, so that's a big step for us."
During a 51-22 loss to Fairfield Christian on Jan. 9, junior guard/forward Addie Shock scored four points in her season debut. She missed the season's first 11 games with an ankle injury.
Childress scored 21 points against Grove City Christian, which coach Danielle Fleming hopes is the starting point for her team's turnaround.
"We've had some games where this is the hump and we're just right here (trying to get over it)," Fleming said. "We have it the first quarter or the second quarter but never put a whole game together. When we played (Grove City Christian) at their place, it was a close game, so I'm very happy with how my girls played, especially my young girls. It felt like quarters one through four were great.
"We now have Addie Shock back. She had an ankle injury from soccer so it's been going a little slow, but her IQ is good and she's probably the second-best shooter we've got on the team."
Boys basketball team set for key MSL games
More than half of the MSL-Cardinal schedule remains for the boys basketball team, but no game might be bigger than the one Saturday, Jan. 20, at home against Harvest Prep.
On Dec. 9, the Jaguars lost to the Warriors 69-56 on their way to a 1-3 start.
Wellington entered its game Jan. 16 against Fairfield Christian on a seven-game winning streak and was 8-3 overall and 4-1 in the league.
Harvest Prep was 10-0 overall and 5-0 in the league before playing Fisher Catholic on Jan. 16.
Wellington was ranked fourth in last week's Division III area coaches poll behind Harvest Prep, Africentric and Ready. The Jaguars face Ready on Tuesday, Jan. 23, at home.
"We've been fortunate, but I don't know about (us playing) good basketball," coach Artie Taylor said. "We're leaving a lot of points on the floor. We've got to figure out how to stay out of our own way. We find one thing we've got to get better at, and then it's something new the next game.
"There are a lot of games in the MSL to play after (Jan. 20), but nobody has been close to them. If we want to think of having a chance in this league, that's one we've got to get."
Senior guard Bob Faller, who missed all but two games of last year's regular season, has emerged as the Jaguars' leading scorer. He was averaging 14.8 points through 11 games, followed by senior guard Solomon Pierre-Louis (13.0), senior forward Noah Berry (12.6) and junior guard Dallas Patrick (12.5). Freshman guard Marcus Stewart also has been a key contributor.
"I really do think it's the resolve and the character, guys gritting through some tough action," Taylor said. "The Whitehall game (a 66-55 win on Dec. 21) really kind of started us on Wellington basketball. For us and our program, it all starts with defense, how many possessions we can be a factor in after a missed shot. I think we've gotten better with our intensity and letting our defense create opportunities for our offense."
Young athletes boost swim team
As expected, the boys swimming and diving team has a strong group of veterans in senior swimmers David Jacques and Spencer Povoski and senior diver Eric Jacques among its top competitors.
The girls returned junior Camille Simpson and sophomore Sarah Anderson among its top swimmers, and both are having strong seasons as well.
In addition, freshman boys swimmer Heath Thomas and freshman girls diver Taylor Vargo have been key contributors.
On Jan. 11, the boys scored 46 points to finish behind host Columbus Academy (155) and ahead of Hartley (39) as Thomas won the 200-yard freestyle (1 minute, 57.58 seconds), and the girls scored 12 points to place behind host Academy (135) and Hartley (111) and ahead of Madison Christian (8) and Village Academy (7).
"Our boys team is doing well," coach Bill Miller said. "We're having good swims despite only having seven swimmers and two divers."
On Dec. 16 in the Ned Reeb Invitational at Ohio State, Thomas became the program's record-holder in the 500 free (5:09.24) and tied the program record in the 200 IM (2:08.88).
Other boys standouts, according to Miller, have included junior swimmers Evan Albers and Andrew Davis.
For the girls team, according to Miller, Anderson has won the 100 breaststroke, the 100 butterfly and the 100 free at meets this season and also excels in the 200 individual medley, while Simpson is one of the team's top sprinters.
Below are the coming schedules for the Wellington boys basketball, girls basketball and swimming & diving teams:
*Jan. 20 -- Home vs. Harvest Prep. The Jaguars lost to the Warriors 69-56 on Dec. 9.
Jan. 23 -- Home vs. Ready
Jan. 20 -- Beechcroft in Nubian Classic at Africentric
*Jan. 23 -- At Millersport. The Jaguars beat the Lakers 69-16 on Dec. 12.
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 20 -- Stars Invitational at Columbus Aquatics Center
Jan. 24 -- Mount Gilead at Mount Gilead YMCA