Although his team again lacks much height, Dublin Scioto High School boys basketball coach Mike Moler believes the Irish can make up for it with their athleti-cism, defensive prowess and quickness.
Scioto opened Nov. 30 with a 59-35 win over visiting Whetstone.
"I like the way we play," said Moler, who is in his sixth season. "We're strong enough defensively. We don't have a ton of size. We never have."
Zach Gawronski, a 6-foot-2 senior guard, had a game-high 22 points against Whetstone and 6-0 senior guard Victor Mwamba scored 11.
"We could have played better," Gawronski said. "Communication needs to improve throughout the season, but I think we'll get better throughout. All the little things will come together. We have some good players."
In addition to Gawronski and Mwamba, the Irish return senior Dapreis Owens (6-3, forward) and juniors Benjamin Lombardo (6-1, guard) and Jayden Prince (6-1, guard).
Also on the team are senior Elijah Person (6-0, guard), juniors Vince Bernard (6-1, forward), Drew Bryant (6-4, forward), Mohamed Freeman (6-0, guard) and Jaydon Pearson (5-9, guard) and sophomore Garrett Mielke (6-1, forward).
"I really like our core group of guys," Moler said. "We have guys who are back and have a lot of experience. We have five varsity players back and we're trying to fill some spots in between. We have pieces, but right now they're still pieces. We have to come together and make it a team."
Last season, Mwamba averaged a team-best 11.3 points and was named second-team all-OCC-Cardinal Division and honorable mention all-district in Division I, while Owens averaged 10.5 points and was special mention all-league.
Scioto opens OCC-Cardinal play Friday, Dec. 7, at home against first-year Olentangy Berlin. Last season, the Irish finished 12-11 overall and 4-8 in the league to place sixth behind champion Hilliard Bradley (12-0).
"There's Bradley and everybody else," Moler said. "They're the (league) champs, you have to beat them. Everyone else is pretty competitive in our league ... so we'll see how that plays out."
Wrestling team eyes state tourney berths
Fifth-year wrestling coach Adam Huddle expects several of his athletes to compete for Division I state berths.
Leading the way should be junior Daniel Segura (145/152 pounds) and senior Deron Pulliam (195).
Segura is seeking his third state appearance. Last season, he went 3-2 at state to place fourth at 138 and finished the season 42-2. As a freshman, he went 1-2 at state at 132 and finished 39-12.
In his first state appearance last season, Pulliam finished seventh at 182 to finish 41-8.
"Both of those guys want to get back to state," said Huddle, whose team opened Dec. 1 by finishing ninth (89.5 points) in the Olentangy Invitational as the host Braves (197.5) won. "We have a lot of bubble guys who were district placers last year. We have a legit shot of getting seven, eight kids to the state tournament. It could be a really good year and one of the best years Scioto has ever had in wrestling."
The other returning district qualifiers are senior Bernie Duran (220, 30-14 last season) and juniors Gage Hannan (152, 25-14) and Donovan Hardin (heavyweight, 23-13).
Also back are senior Hamza Dhashi (120, 23-16) and sophomore Dylan Le (106, 32-11).
In the Olentangy Invitational, Segura finished first at 152 and Le was first at 106.
Others on the team include seniors Noah Keener (195) and Scott Swain (182), junior Hussain Malik (170) and sophomores Austin Birko (113) and Sergio Tellez (195).
Last season, the Irish went 4-2 in the OCC-Cardinal to tie Hilliard Darby for third behind co-champions Delaware and Hilliard Bradley (5-1).
"The Hilliards are always going to be good," Huddle said. "They have good coaching staffs. Delaware is always really competitive. Our division in the last couple of years has been very even. We're looking forward to another dual season of really close, competitive duals."
Nov. 30 -- vs. Whetstone
*Dec. 7 -- vs. Olentangy Berlin
Dec. 11 -- at Canal Winchester
*Dec. 14 -- at Delaware
*Dec. 18 -- at Hilliard Darby
*Dec. 21 -- at Thomas Worthington
Dec. 22 -- vs. Westerville Central
*Jan. 4 -- vs. Worthington Kilbourne
*Jan. 8 -- at Hilliard Bradley
*Jan. 11 -- vs. Jerome
*Jan. 18 -- at Olentangy Berlin
*Jan. 22 -- vs. Hilliard Darby
*Jan. 25 -- vs. Delaware
Jan. 26 -- at Central Crossing
*Feb. 1 -- at Worthington Kilbourne
*Feb. 5 -- vs. Thomas Worthington
*Feb. 8 -- vs. Hilliard Bradley
Feb. 12 -- vs. Marysville
*Feb. 15 -- at Jerome
Dec. 1 -- Olentangy Invitational
Dec. 8 -- vs. Mount Orab Western Brown and Upper Arlington
*Dec. 13 -- at Worthington Kilbourne
Dec. 14-15 -- North Canton Holiday Tournament
*Dec. 20 -- at Delaware
Dec. 28-29 -- Marion Harding Classic
Jan. 5 -- Kevin Cleveland Memorial Tournament at home
*Jan. 10 -- at Hilliard Bradley
*Jan. 17 -- vs. Hilliard Darby
*Jan. 24 -- at Olentangy Berlin
Jan. 25 -- vs. Cleveland St. Ignatius and Teays Valley at Karrer Middle School
Jan. 26 -- Rieman Invitational at Delaware
*Feb. 7 -- at Thomas Worthington
Feb. 9 -- Panther Classic at Rayland Buckeye Local
*Feb. 14- vs. Jerome
Below are the coming schedules for the Scioto girls basketball, gymnastics, hockey and swimming & diving teams:
*Dec. 7 -- At Olentangy Berlin
Dec. 10 -- At DeSales
Dec. 11 -- At Worthington Kilbourne with Coffman, Jerome and Thomas Worthington
*Dec. 7 -- Berlin at Chiller North
*Dec. 8 -- Gahanna at Chiller Dublin
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 7 -- Olentangy Orange at Dublin Recreation Center
Dec. 8 -- Ned Reeb Memorial Invitational at Ohio State