Juniors Joe Thies and A.J. Grumbling are being counted on to lead a Centennial High School boys bowling team that expects to improve this season.

Thies finished 20th of 105 competitors in the Division I district tournament last season with a 553 three-game series. He averaged 177.3 per game last year and Grumbling averaged 160.4.

"Joe and A.J. have been working hard all summer to raise their averages," ninth-year coach Brian Hamilton said. "I think we have more depth this year and we want to qualify to district as a team and make it to the City League championship."

The Stars have started strong in pursuit of those goals, winning their first three matches. They defeated Whetstone 1,974-1,865 on Dec. 4, Bexley 1,785-1,521 on Dec. 7 and Columbus Academy 1,641-1,607 on Dec. 14.

Other returnees are juniors Matt Campbell, Max Napier and Philip Thomas and sophomore Nicolas Loudner.

"Nicolas' game has improved since last year," Hamilton said. "Phil is more confident this year and his average is coming up. Things are looking pretty good."

Also looking to contribute are seniors Jamal Erby, D'Anthony Roberts and Chris Street, juniors Gabe Doyle, Folusho Obayemi and Michael Santiago, sophomores Deshaunte' Battles, Giovanni Camp, Vincent Flinders and Walid Sirag and freshmen Marcus Brooks and Khmari Loveless.

The girls team returned one of its two district qualifiers from last season in sophomore Kylie Crissinger-Acuna, who rolled a 439 to place 28th of 102 competitors. Cindy Mullins, a 2018 graduate, placed 75th with a 351.

"Kylie is a top-notch bowler," sixth-year coach Ryan Dobbins said. "She works hard on her technique and takes bowling seriously."

Also returning are juniors Sarah Clifton, Izabelle Segovia and Yazmine Segovia. Senior Jeslin Deets has previous experience.

"Izabelle is starting to show signs of being a team leader," Dobbins said. "I encourage her to continue that and work on her scores.

"Jeslin wasn't able to bowl last year. She is back for this season and has started off very strong. She is a great addition and is very willing to help younger bowlers."

Completing the roster are sophomores Tali Blaha and Madaline Miranda and freshman Alison Murphy-Smock.

"I like this group; they have a togetherness and are willing to help one another," Dobbins said. "We're going to need to become more consistent in our scores."

The Stars defeated Whetstone 1,584-1,371 on Dec. 4 and Academy 1,579-1,311 on Dec. 14.

Boys basketball team continues strong start

The boys basketball team improved to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the City League-North Division with a 57-49 win over visiting Mifflin on Dec. 14.

The Stars faced East on Dec. 18 and play at International on Friday, Dec. 21, before their holiday break. They return to action Jan. 5 against Pickerington North in the City-OCC Challenge at Africentric.

The Stars opened City-North play Dec. 11 by beating defending league champion Beechcroft 70-66 at home. The Cougars went 14-0 in the league last season.

Myles Martinez scored eight of his 17 points and Kelvin Gilliam scored six of his 10 in the final quarter as Centennial rallied from a 54-44 deficit. Jaylen Gilbert led the Stars with 22 points and Cameron Kates added 12.

Against Mifflin, Gilbert (16), Martinez (12), Gilliam (10) and Jaylon Jackson (8) led the Stars in scoring.

Girls basketball team wins consecutive games

After a 1-5 start, the girls basketball team won consecutive road games, beating Westland 42-38 in overtime Dec. 12 and Mifflin 64-32 on Dec. 14.

The Stars were 3-5 overall and 1-3 in the league before playing East on Dec. 18.

Centennial outscored Westland 6-2 in overtime and Shamara Bridges led the way with 15 points. Morgan Lawson scored eight points and Naa Dromo Korley and Jayana Harley both scored seven.

Against the Punchers, leading scorers were Harley (16), Korley (13), Tyler Johnson (11) and Bridges (9).

bemerine@thisweeknews.com

@Brad_ThisWeek

Schedules

BOWLING

*Dec. 4 -- Whetstone at Sequoia Pro Bowl

*Dec. 7 -- Bexley at Holiday Lanes

*Dec. 14 -- Columbus Academy at HP Lanes

*Jan. 7 -- West at Game of Western Columbus

*Jan. 8 -- International at Sequoia Pro Bowl

*Jan. 15 -- Briggs at Stardust Lanes

*Jan. 16 -- South at Sequoia Pro Bowl

*Jan. 22 -- Teays Valley at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl

*Jan. 23 -- Northland at Sequoia Pro Bowl

*Jan. 29 -- Worthington Christian at HP Lanes

*Jan. 30 -- Marion-Franklin at Sequoia Pro Bowl

*Feb. 5 -- Haugland Learning Center at Sequoia Pro Bowl

*Feb. 7 -- Village Academy at Sawmill Lanes

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the Centennial boys basketball, girls basketball, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:

BOYS BASKETBALL

*Dec. 21 -- At International

GIRLS BASKETBALL

*Dec. 21 -- Home vs. International

SWIMMING & DIVING

Dec. 22 -- Wellington Holiday Meet at Columbus Aquatics Center

WRESTLING

Dec. 20 -- At Columbus Academy with St. Charles

*League contest