Bob Faller is feeling good about the shape of his body -- and his game -- these days.
There are times that the Wellington School senior boys basketball player still experiences soreness in his lower back after getting injured before the team’s opener last season.
Faller missed all but two games of the regular season before returning to help the Jaguars finish as Division IV state runners-up.
Still, things really have taken off this season for the 6-foot-4 guard, who made six 3-pointers and had 28 points in an 86-49 victory over Fisher Catholic on Feb. 2.
"It's been so much fun," Faller said. "The guys mean the world to me, going out our senior year together. We've known each other for so long and it's so much fun playing how we always play.
"(My back) has its days where it gets really sore and just flares up and gets really tight, but once I get it loose, I feel good. I feel a lot better than last year."
Wellington was 13-4 overall and 8-2 in the MSL-Cardinal Division before playing Berne Union on Feb. 7. The Jaguars' hopes of winning the league title are slim considering they were swept by Harvest Prep, which is 11-0 in the league.
The Division III district tournament drawing is Sunday, Feb. 11, and Wellington figures to be one of the highest seeds after being third in last week's area coaches poll.
Faller's return to prominence this season has been a big key to the Jaguars' success.
After averaging 10 points and starting as a sophomore when Wellington was a state semifinalist, he averaged 8.5 points after his return last season.
He's now one of four players who were averaging in double figures through 17 games.
Junior guard Dallas Patrick was averaging a team-best 16.5 points before Feb. 7, while Faller and senior guard Solomon Pierre-Louis both were averaging 15 and senior forward Noah Berry was averaging 12.5.
Faller's twin brother, senior forward John Faller, averages 8.5 points.
"I'd say people definitely rely on me to score the ball more, and they look at me to get the job done at times," Bob Faller said. "If I'm not having a good game, I'm going to try to get other people the ball. (My brother and I) know each other so well and we really complement each other's game. He's good at setting a screen and I'm good at coming off a screen."
Faller, who has received interest from Division III colleges, had two of his other best offensive games earlier this season. He had 30 points in an 82-50 victory over Grove City Christian on Dec. 15 and scored 21 in a 111-44 win over the Eagles on Jan. 26.
Wellington will look for a season sweep of Zanesville Rosecrans when it plays host to the Bishops on Friday, Feb. 9. The Jaguars beat Rosecrans 69-40 on Jan. 6.
"Bob Faller, who missed pretty much the whole year last year with a back injury, he might be one who's exceeding (expectations)," coach Artie Taylor said. "He's been phenomenal.
"We've got high expectations. We've got to figure out how to stay out of our own way. I really do think it's the resolve and the character, guys gritting through some tough action. ... For us and our program, it all starts with defense."
Girls basketball team looks to continue roll
The girls basketball team followed a five-game losing streak by winning eight in a row before playing Berne Union on Feb. 6.
The Jaguars were 13-7 overall and 9-3 in the MSL-Cardinal before playing Feb. 6. They close the regular season Saturday, Feb. 10, at home against Fairfield Christian.
Wellington is seeded sixth of 18 teams in the Division IV district tournament and will open the postseason Feb. 21 with a second-round at home against ninth-seeded Delaware Christian.
"It's clicking," coach Danielle Fleming said. "Defense has definitely been the key. When you've got a lot of people stepping up, good things happen."
While junior guard Savannah Childress was averaging a team-high 14.5 points through 20 games, senior guard Jakaysha Williams has provided a spark offensively during the Jaguars' winning streak. She had 16 points in both a 36-9 win over Harvest Prep on Jan. 13 and a 57-12 win over Millersport on Jan. 23.
Williams also went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line and totaled 10 points in a 40-39 win over Worthington Christian on Jan. 16.
Swim teams set to open postseason
The boys and girls swimming and diving teams open the Division II postseason with sectional swimming Saturday, Feb. 10, at Upper Arlington and district diving Tuesday, Feb. 13, at Dublin Community Recreation Center.
Both teams finished in the upper echelon of the MSL in the league meet Jan. 27 at Columbus Academy.
The boys scored 162 points to place fourth of 11 teams behind the champion and host Vikings (334) and the girls scored 102 to finish fifth of 14 teams behind champion Academy (342).
Eric Jacques won the boys diving title with 397.95 points.
Placing second were Sarah Anderson in both the girls 200-yard individual medley (2 minutes, 24.39 seconds) and 100 freestyle (58.65), Heath Thomas in the boys 500 free (5:06.76) and Tason Callanan in boys diving (391.85).
In girls diving, Taylor Vargo was third (228.6).
Finishing fourth for the boys were the 200 medley relay of David Jacques, Evan Albers, Thomas and Spencer Povoski (1:50.8), the 400 free relay of Albers, Thomas, Andrew Davis and David Jacques (3:55.12), Thomas in the 200 free (1:54.42) and David Jacques in the 100 backstroke (1:02.77).
The girls 400 free relay of Erin Anderson, Kath Olson, Soleil Tibbets-Barnes and Camille Simpson also was fourth (4:36.01).
Placing fifth were the boys 200 free relay of David Jacques, R.J. Maryala, Will Miller and Povoski (1:47.72), Albers in the boys 100 breaststroke (1:09.94) and the girls 200 free relay of Sarah Anderson, Olson, Tibbets-Barnes and Kate True (2:03.53).
Below are the coming schedules for the Wellington boys basketball, girls basketball and swimming & diving teams:
*Feb. 9 -- Home vs. Zanesville Rosecrans. The Jaguars beat the Bishops 69-40 on Jan. 6.
*Feb. 13 -- Home vs. Berne Union. The Jaguars played the Rockets on Feb. 7.
*Feb. 10 -- Home vs. Fairfield Christian. The Jaguars lost to the Knights 51-22 on Jan. 9.
SWIMMING & DIVING
Feb. 10 -- Division II sectional at Upper Arlington. Winner of each event and 27 at-large qualifiers in each event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectional sites advance to district meet Feb. 16 at Ohio University.
Feb. 13 -- Division II district diving meet at Dublin Community Recreation Center. Top three boys and top two girls advance to state meet Feb. 21 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.