After winning for the first time in over a calendar year, the Whetstone High School boys basketball team was aiming for a season sweep of Columbus International on Feb. 6.
The Braves snapped a 25-game losing streak by beating International 73-50 on Feb. 1 behind 20 points from Rayshon Walker and 17 from Jaden Arledge.
It was Whetstone's first win since beating International 85-45 on Jan. 20, 2017, and also marked the first coaching victory for first-year coach Rick McClanahan.
"It's been a long time coming," said McClanahan, whose team was 1-17 overall and 1-11 in the City League-North Division before Feb. 6. "It's been a tough learning season for our young team and then we lost three players to either grades or disciplinary reasons in the past week, including a couple of our leading scorers in Lamine Komara and Sean Jones.
"But I'm hoping that this will help the mentality. Maybe we can build on this and at least challenge our opponents the rest of the way and not be pushovers."
The Braves raced out to a 10-2 lead over International, but the score was tied at 15 entering the second quarter before they pushed ahead and took a 36-19 lead into halftime.
Antwan Allen added eight points for Whetstone, which lost its first 15 games this season after losing its final 10 last season, and Rashaun Broomfield scored seven.
"I'm proud of the kids for sticking with it," McClanahan said. "It would've been easy to check out this season, but they never cashed out and they continue to work and look to improve. The ones still with us have trusted the process. We knew it wouldn't be easy."
The Braves followed up the win over International with losses to Centennial (84-64 on Feb. 2) and Independence (77-61 on Feb. 3).
Allen had 19 points, Elijah Benson scored 14 and Arledge added 10 against Centennial.
Against Independence, Walker and Caleb Brigle both had 11 points, Lincoln Mullins scored 10 and Arledge added nine.
Swim teams sweep City championships
The boys and girls swimming and diving teams both extended their City League title streaks Feb. 3 at Columbus Aquatics Center.
The boys won their sixth City title in a row, scoring 123 points to finish ahead of Centennial (109), Eastmoor Academy (22) and Beechcroft (21).
"I'm stunned that the boys were able to continue the streak because we have just eight swimmers and no divers," coach John DeRing said. "I told them before the meet that they more or less needed to swim the perfect meet and they did. That doesn't mean winning every event, but it means getting second and third places and just everyone swimming their best. Everyone did exactly what we needed them to do. It was an amazing day."
The Braves won eight events, led by Alex Marcum, who finished first in both the 100 butterfly (1 minute, 8.13 seconds) and 100 backstroke (1:05.8) and swam leadoff on the winning 200 medley relay (1:52.46), ahead of Jake Marshall, Francisco Soto and Will Ave.
Also winning individual titles were Soto in the 200 individual medley (2:20), Marshall in the 500 freestyle (5:59.65), Ave in the 100 breaststroke (1:08.45) and David Maston in the 200 free (1:53.19). Those four also combined to win the 200 free relay (1:37.02).
The girls earned their fifth consecutive league title, scoring 124 points to finish ahead of Centennial (95), Eastmoor (39) and Beechcroft (17).
Rebeka Spulgis won both the 100 fly (1:14.19) and 200 free (2:25.56) and teamed with Abby Schaefer, Bryn Van Dommelen and Mary Dougherty to win both the 200 medley relay (2:09.55) and 200 free relay (1:54.55).
Also winning titles were Schaefer in the 100 free (1:00.46), Van Dommelen in the 500 free (5:58.29) and the 400 free relay (4:33.18) of Emilie Johnson, Hannah Schaefer, Carrie Legg and Dougherty.
"The boys' title was certainly unexpected, but the girls swam very well, too," DeRing said. "It was an exciting day for all of us."
The Braves are now preparing for the postseason. Both teams will compete Saturday, Feb. 10, in a Division I sectional at Upper Arlington, where the winner of each swimming event automatically advances to the district meet Feb. 17 at Ohio University. In addition, 27 at-large district berths will be awarded in each event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectional sites.
There is no diving at sectional.
Girls basketball team caps regular season
The girls basketball team concluded the regular season Feb. 5 against International and will turn its attention to the Division I postseason.
The Braves, who were 10-9 overall and 8-5 in the City-North before Feb. 5, snapped a five-game losing streak by beating Mifflin 46-30 on Jan. 30 and then beat Centennial 43-29 on Feb. 2 before losing to Independence 45-26 on Feb. 3.
Seeded 39th of 50 teams in the district tournament, Whetstone will play at 19th-seeded Logan in the first round Feb. 17.
Whitney Staggs had 25 points and Amelia Morris scored eight against Mifflin as the Braves went on a 16-3 run in the fourth quarter to pull away. Against Centennial, Staggs had 24 points and Haylee Thomas-Speigle scored seven.
Staggs had 16 points against Independence, which outscored the Braves 29-13 in the second half, including 13-1 in the third quarter.
Below are the coming schedules for the Whetstone boys basketball, bowling and wrestling teams:
*Feb. 9 -- Home vs. East. The Braves lost to the Tigers 80-59 on Jan. 18.
Feb. 13 -- Home vs. Watterson
Feb. 12 -- Marion Harding at Sequoia Pro Bowl
Feb. 14 -- Eastmoor Academy at Sequoia Pro Bowl
Feb. 13 -- At Thomas Worthington
Feb. 14 -- At Hamilton Township