Despite losing one of his program’s all-time leading scorers to graduation, DeSales High School girls basketball coach Brian Cromwell expects the Stallions to look like they have in recent seasons.
“I don’t know how much we’ll get up and down the floor, but we’ll look to hit perimeter shots. We are a perimeter-oriented team,” said Cromwell, who is in his ninth season. “We have two (inside) players and they’re legitimate post players with Ashley (Kraker) and Grace (Sabo). They’re both doing a great job. Our best players are on the perimeter right now. We’ll have to knock down shots to win games.”
Seven letterwinners, including three starters, return for the Stallions, who went 10-12 overall and 3-4 in the CCL last season.
DeSales must figure out how to replace guard Emma Burns, who averaged 17.1 points and 3.0 assists last season and finished her career with 1,284 points to rank fifth in program history, as well as guard Sarah Zaino, who averaged 4.5 points and was one of the team’s defensive anchors.
The Stallions opened Nov. 26 at Upper Arlington.
Gabby Elliott, a 5-foot-7 senior forward and Denison commit, averaged 10 points last season and expects to shoulder much of the scoring load.
“I’ll be filling a very similar role to last year, but I need to score a lot more,” Elliott said. “Emma could pour in 20 or 25 a game. I averaged around 10 last year, which I need to improve by a lot. I don’t know about 25 points a game, though. I worked during AAU on improving my defense; I think I’ve done a good job. Instead of just being a shooter, I need to be someone who can get to the basket and find other ways to contribute.”
Erin Burns, a 5-5 junior and Emma’s sister, is expected to take over as starting point guard after Emma held that job the past three seasons. Other guards include senior Taylor Cash (5-4), junior Katie Schuler (5-9) and sophomore Gracey Wilson (5-4).
Cash hopes she can assume Zaino’s role as a leader on defense.
“My key is defense and providing energy on that side and also just being one of the leaders of the team,” Cash said. “We’re all strong leaders in our own way. We figure out what we can do to lead the team. For me, it’s defense. Erin is an amazing point guard and she works very hard. It’s about figuring out how we will lead together and play as a group.”
According to Cromwell, Kraker, a 5-9 senior, and Sabo, a 5-10 sophomore, might be his best inside players since 2014 graduate Coley Tuel, who was a three-year starter at forward and center.
“(Tuel was) probably the tallest (5-10) and most athletic post player I’ve had,” Cromwell said. “Ashley was injured during the summer, but she is playing some great post defense right now. She is walling off well and rebounding very well. Grace is young but very athletic. She will help out a lot (rebounding).”
Rounding out the roster are junior Nicole Miller (5-3) and sophomore Stefanie Karras (5-8).
DeSales’ home opener is Thursday, Nov. 29, against Lancaster. The Stallions begin CCL play Jan. 5 at home against Watterson.
Key players back for hockey team
The hockey team returns its top two scorers and starting goaltender from a year ago, but the roster also features several newcomers under second-year coach Darcy Cahill.
Senior forward Chris Yarger had team-high 16 goals last year and senior forward Adam Graver scored 11 as the Stallions went 7-20 overall and 5-11 in the Capital Hockey Conference-Blue Division.
DeSales also returns seniors Caleb Ghiloni (defenseman) and Grant Rodgers (goalie) and junior Sam Bosson (defenseman).
The Stallions are 3-1 entering their CHC opener Friday, Nov. 30, against Springboro at South Metro Sports in Dayton. They averaged 5.5 goals per game during the season-opening Chiller Thanksgiving Classic that concluded Nov. 25 at Chiller Dublin.
“We have 16 skaters and a goalie right now,” Cahill said. “We tried to get the numbers up from within the school. We have a lot of kids who never played hockey before this year but are having a good time with it. Some of them took it up this fall. We have one of the quarterbacks from the football team (senior forward Vince Thompson) and a few soccer players (senior forwards Riley Paxton and Alex Whalen and junior forward Luke Weithman). We have a lot of athletes and I think that’s going to help us.”
Rodgers is in his second year as starting goalie.
“I feel I have one of the best goalies in the state,” Cahill said. “He’s gotten bigger and his leadership is a lot better. He can save any kind of shot that comes at him.”
Rounding out the roster are senior Nicholas Granata (forward), juniors Fred Larbi (forward) and Mario Lopez (forward) and sophomores Luke Bedzyk (forward), Nathan Granata (forward), Arman Karimy (forward), Nick Meek (defender) and Mikey Roach (forward).
DeSales opened Nov. 23 with an 8-1 win over Brecksville-Broadview Heights. The Stallions added two wins the next day, 6-5 over Dublin Scioto in a shootout and 4-2 over Garfield Heights Trinity, before losing to Gahanna 9-4 on Nov. 25.
“We’re going to take things one game at a time and build for the end of the year,” Cahill said. “We were able to win a Blue Jackets Cup game last year (against Thomas Worthington) and then had a strong performance against Olentangy Orange (in a second-round loss in the Blue Jackets Cup). Our goal is just to keep progressing.”
Athletes announce college decisions
Seven student-athletes announced their college decisions Nov. 14.
Tommy Clayton will play men’s lacrosse at Jacksonville, Sophia Finotti will play women’s lacrosse at Cincinnati, Annie Hazelton will play women’s lacrosse at Indianapolis, Carter Hilleary will play men’s lacrosse at Ohio State, Kyla Payne will play softball at Ohio Dominican, Madison Rennie will play women’s soccer at Kentucky and Faith Strapp will play softball at Urbana.
Nov. 26 – at Upper Arlington
Nov. 29 – vs. Lancaster
Dec. 1 – vs. Beechcroft
Dec. 5 – vs. Zanesville
Dec. 10 – vs. Dublin Scioto
Dec. 15 – vs. Mount Vernon
Dec. 22 – at Jonathan Alder
Dec. 27 – vs. Ringwood (Australia) Secondary College in Roosters Stallion Holiday Classic
Dec. 28 – vs. New Albany or Olentangy Orange in Roosters Stallion Holiday Classic
Jan. 2 – at Westerville North
*Jan. 5 – vs. Watterson
*Jan. 10 – vs. Ready
Jan. 12 – vs. Licking Heights
*Jan. 15 – vs. Columbus School for Girls
*Jan. 17 – at Hartley
Jan. 19 – at Grove City
*Jan. 24 – at Watterson
Jan. 26 – vs. Centennial
*Jan. 31 – at Ready
Feb. 2 – at Hilliard Bradley
*Feb. 7 – vs. Hartley
Feb. 12 – at Thomas Worthington
Nov. 23 – Brecksville-Broadview Heights in Chiller Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller Dublin
Nov. 24 – Dublin Scioto and Garfield Heights Trinity in Chiller Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller Dublin
Nov. 25 – Gahanna in Chiller Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller Dublin
*Nov. 30 – Springboro at South Metro Sports
*Dec. 8 – Columbus Academy at Chiller Easton
*Dec. 14 – Dublin Scioto at Chiller Dublin
*Dec. 22 – Dublin Scioto at Chiller Easton
*Dec. 27 – Dublin Coffman at Chiller Easton
*Dec. 29 – Thomas Worthington at Chiller North
*Dec. 30 – Thomas Worthington at Chiller Easton
*Jan. 5 – Olentangy Berlin at Chiller North
*Jan. 11 – Gahanna at Chiller Easton
*Jan. 12 – Gahanna at Chiller Easton
*Jan. 13 – Watterson at Chiller Dublin
*Jan. 25 – Columbus Academy at Chiller Easton
*Jan. 26 – Olentangy Berlin at Chiller Easton
*Jan. 27 – Olentangy at Chiller Easton
*Feb. 2 – Olentangy Orange at Chiller North
Feb. 7-10 – Blue Jackets Cup
Below are the coming schedules for the DeSales boys basketball, bowling, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
Nov. 30 – At Dresden Tri-Valley
Dec. 1 – At Beechcroft
Nov. 30 – Worthington Christian at HP Lanes
Dec. 1 – Red and Blue Classic at HP Lanes
*Dec. 3 – St. Charles at Capri Lanes
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 1 – Catholic Showdown at St. Charles
Dec. 3 – Grandview Heights at Columbus Aquatics Center
Dec. 5 – At Thomas Worthington
Dec. 1 – Tony Pizzurro Memorial Tournament at home