The Columbus School for Girls swimming and diving team is off to a strong start.

The Unicorns scored 149 points in the Ned Reeb Memorial Invitational on Dec. 8 at Ohio State to finish 10th behind champion Upper Arlington (391.5) as 38 teams scored. They then defeated Rocky River Magnificat 94-76 on Dec. 15 at St. Charles.

"To beat a bigger team like (Magnificat) when we were the underdog, it shows the balance and depth of this team," coach Brian Botzman said. "We're already excited about going to the Northeast Classic (on Jan. 11 and 12 at Branin Natatorium) in Canton. We were without Jordan Aurnou-Rhees in the Ned Reeb Invitational."

Last season, Aurnou-Rhees won the Division II state title in the 100-yard butterfly in a program-record 54.47 seconds. She also placed third at state in the 200 individual medley in a program-record 2:02.94.

Nyah Funderburke led CSG in the Ned Reeb Invitational, winning the 100 freestyle (53.1) and placing eighth in the 100 backstroke (59.97).

Also in the meet, Julie Aslander placed seventh in the 500 free (5:25.64) and 17th in the 200 free (2:03.51), Ava Fortney placed 14th in the 100 breaststroke (1:10.56) and 18th in the 200 free (2:04.42), Allison Purdum was 18th in both the 100 breast (1:12.39) and 500 free (5:39.79), the 200 free relay placed sixth (1:41.56) and the 400 free relay was 11th (3:49.17).

Finishing first against Magnificat were Aurnou-Rhees in the 200 free (2:02.32) and 100 breast (1:09.51), Funderburke in the 100 free (55.58), Anna Ray Ziegler in the 100 back (1:02.64) and the 200 medley relay (1:54.39).

"Nyah has started really strong after coming back from surgery following a soccer injury in the fall," Botzman said. "I like where we are right now and this has us excited for the rest of the season. Jordan and some others didn't even swim their strongest events against Magnificat."

Basketball team rallies to beat Irish

The basketball team overcame an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat visiting Fisher Catholic 41-38 in overtime on Dec. 13.

The Unicorns, who outscored the Irish 18-7 in the fourth quarter, snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 4-4 to match last season's win total.

CSG, which finished 4-17 a year ago, returns to action Jan. 8 at Village Academy.

The Unicorns won three of their first four games, defeating Horizon Science 40-35 on Nov. 27, Wellington 36-30 on Dec. 1 and Madison Christian 27-15 on Dec. 4 and losing to Belpre 50-24 on Nov. 30.

CSG then lost to Patriot Academy 35-25 on Dec. 6, Ready 40-15 on Dec. 8 in its CCL opener and Grandview 38-28 on Dec. 10.

Freshman guard Emma Spangler had 13 points and senior forward Hattie Person scored 10 against Fisher Catholic. Freshman guard Lauren Sloan led the Unicorns with eight points against Grandview and sophomore guard Eva Nicolosi had a team-high nine points against Madison Christian.

Soccer team makes coaching switch

Mindy Hammond stepped down after 10 seasons as soccer coach Dec. 14 but will remain with the program as goalkeeping coach.

Athletics director Megan Henry announced that assistant coach Genelle Castro has been elevated to head coach.

A 2011 Westerville North High School graduate, Castro played for her alma mater as well as for Defiance College and at the club level. She is a health and wellness teacher at CSG.

"She gained experience coaching U12-U16 girls and boys for Ohio Extreme (Soccer Club)," Henry said. "She served as the CSG Middle School soccer assistant one year and two years as our (varsity) soccer assistant coach."

bemerine@thisweeknews.com

@Brad_ThisWeek