The first month of the regular season reads like a checklist of experiences that should help the Watterson High School boys basketball team long-term.
The Eagles started with a matchup against one of central Ohio's most athletic teams when they lost 66-54 to Walnut Ridge on Dec. 4. The Scots got 33 points from one of the area's top juniors in VonCameron Davis.
Watterson then opened CCL action Dec. 7 by winning a defensive struggle 41-27 over Hartley before falling 50-41 to Hilliard Davidson on Dec. 11. Davidson, which has two 6-foot-7 starters, will be one of the tallest teams the Eagles will face.
Also on the early-season agenda is a trip to Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday, Dec. 23, where the Eagles will play Hilliard Darby at 2 p.m., followed by the Cleveland Cavaliers-Chicago Bulls game.
"We're seeing a lot of variety and they're all good teams, so we're certainly getting a good look at some different styles," coach Vince Lombardo said. "Everybody is contributing and playing pretty solidly. We really like our senior group and thought as they were coming up that they'd be a good group for us."
The Eagles are 1-3 overall and 1-1 in the CCL after losing to DeSales 62-59 on Dec. 14 and will continue league action Friday, Dec. 21, at St. Charles. After facing the Cardinals, their next league game is Jan. 11 at Ready.
Last season, Watterson shared the CCL title with Hartley and Ready at 6-2 while DeSales and St. Charles both went 1-7.
"(Hartley is) a really talented team and I think (beating them) can propel us to a CCL title," junior wing player Chris Crane said. "I love this group of guys. They're great people."
Crane averaged seven points last season serving mostly as the first player off the bench and has held a similar role thus far this winter. He had 12 points on four 3-pointers against Hartley and was averaging eight points through three games.
Zach Sawyer, a guard who had 20 points against Walnut Ridge and was averaging 14 through three games, leads a six-member senior class.
Sophomore guard Davis Boone also has emerged as a scoring option, scoring 13 points against both Walnut Ridge and Davidson.
"We've got the potential to be dangerous in that we can score in some different ways," Lombardo said. "Zach can score well. (Senior) Jimmy (Patton) will pick it up. Chris can shoot it. Davis Boone is showing he can do some things. (Senior Matt) Rhomberg can hit some shots. (Senior Stephen) Garrett, we'll get him on track. As the year progresses and we smooth out a little on offense, we'll be able to attack you in different ways, so that's a real positive for us."
Bowling squads get seasons started
The girls bowling team was 3-0 overall and in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-D Division before a match against Walnut Ridge on Dec. 18.
Senior Mary Pulsinelli, who finished 40th with a 434 three-game series at last year's Division I district tournament, is the top returnee.
Others returnees include senior Anna Rose, junior Isabelle Payton and sophomores Rachel Reuter, Christine Rose and Madison Shaw.
Freshman Joy Packard also is contributing.
"(Pulsinelli) and Anna are going to be the (leaders) this year," 19th-year coach Jerry Wagner said.
The boys team was 0-3 overall and in the league before competing against Walnut Ridge.
Senior Seth Payton and junior Jacob Garland are the top returnees for the Eagles, whose top bowler last season, district qualifier Jesse Pulsinelli, graduated.
Other key bowlers include junior Evan Donahue and freshmen Peter Assaf, Patrick Carpenter and Jack Kish.
"We have a lot of freshmen," Wagner said. "The two boys we have back are Seth and Jacob, and they should be OK. Jack we turned into a two-hander and he was surprised that he could do it. By the end of the season, (Assaf) will be (averaging) 150 to 160 (per game)."
Hockey team preps for Patriots, Irish
The hockey team closes the 2018 portion of its schedule with Capital Hockey Conference games against Olentangy Liberty on Friday, Dec. 21, at Chiller North and Dublin Scioto on Sunday, Dec. 23, at Chiller Dublin. The Eagles are 0-4 in the CHC-White Division and have been outscored 31-3 in league play.
Watterson was 1-11 overall after concluding the Rough Rider Holiday Tournament with a 5-0 loss to Oxford Talawanda on Dec. 16 at Kent State. The Eagles opened the event with a 5-2 win over Gahanna on Dec. 14 and lost to Hudson 2-0 and Chagrin Falls Kenston 8-3 on Dec. 15.
Against Gahanna, Adam Pavliga had one goal and two assists, Max Graham scored two goals, Jack Kish and Ian Simone each scored one goal and Nick Colombo and Mason Jolly each had one assist.
Against Kenston, Kish and Pavliga each had an unassisted goal and Graham scored off an assist by Hayden Storts.