When Darrin Green took over the Whitehall-Yearling High School girls basketball program before last season, he hoped his team soon would be contending for league titles.
It looks like the Rams are ready to make that bid.
Whitehall improved to 2-0 in the MSL-Ohio Division with a 51-44 win over visiting Grandview on Dec. 15. The Bobcats swept the season series last winter, 54-34 and 56-46, as the Rams went 0-10 in the league and finished 1-22 overall.
"From where we were at, I'm very pleased," said Green, whose team was 4-3 overall before playing Wellington on Dec. 19. "Based on what we have here to play with, the older girls who were here last year have gotten better. There's still a lot of things we need to brush up on (and) tighten up to improve. We really think we have the personnel who can do something ... but we have a long ways to go mentally."
Whitehall trailed Grandview 8-0 in the latest matchup before rallying. The Rams took their first lead at 26-24 early in the third quarter on Londen Coleman's basket in the lane.
"Even after that 8-0 run, we responded," Green said. "We started to come back and settle down. We have to stay mentally tight the whole way through. That's probably where our struggle is."
Whitehall closed the game on a 9-2 run after the score was tied at 42. Kiara Bagley's basket put the Rams ahead for good at 44-42, and she finished with a game-high 19 points.
"I'm very happy, it's been amazing," Bagley said. "We communicate with each other and we play as a team. At the beginning, it was hard to play as a team, but we got together and talked about it and we started to play as a team."
Among the most experienced players on the team, Bagley has emerged a leader.
"I have to keep everybody's head up and keep them motivated and playing," she said.
Coleman, a transfer from Reynoldsburg, has quickly adapted to the program. She had 13 points and 14 rebounds against Grandview.
"The hardest part coming here is developing a bond with these girls and understanding the way that they play and their IQ of the game," Coleman said. "It's a battle for me, but each game I'm learning from it."
Whitehall also has been boosted by the addition of sophomore Jewel Watkins, a transfer from Gahanna Christian. She scored 10 points in a 42-37 league win at Bexley on Dec. 1.
The Rams face another test in the league when they visit Worthington Christian on Friday, Dec. 21. The Warriors are 7-0 overall and 2-0 in the MSL-Ohio.
"We're moving in the right direction," Green said. "I'm a realist about it. It's all potential right now. We're trying to reach that potential. We have nowhere else to go but up. We can be 10 times better than what we're displaying now."
Wrestlers compete in West Virginia
The wrestling team went 1-4 in the Grapple at the Castle on Dec. 15 in Ona, West Virginia, defeating the Parkersburg (West Virginia) All-Stars 48-18.
Shea Jordan (106 pounds) and Raashad Strickland (120) both went 5-0 in the event, and Jace Peck (138) went 4-1.
"We are a very young team with only two seniors," coach Steve Pennington said. "Each time we wrestle, we are improving. I am very happy with the progress of their technique and conditioning. I truly believe they will have a breakout performance very soon."
The Rams will compete in the Canton McKinley Invitational on Dec. 28 and 29.
"Traditionally, we do well there," Pennington said. "We still have some kids making lower weight classes, so once everyone is healthy we will be really tough. The learning curve is so high for this team; they are sponges. The future is bright for this squad."
Boys basketball team out to solid start
The boys basketball team is 4-1 overall and 1-0 in the MSL-Ohio as it prepares to play Grandview on Saturday, Dec. 22.
The Rams defeated KIPP Columbus 80-39 on Dec. 15 at home. Taylon Cofer scored 15 points, Royal Sibley had 13 and Juvaun Blackshear added 10.
Kei'Von Wiggins scored 10 points in a 50-43 loss to Mansfield Senior on Dec. 12 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
Gymnast competing with Warhawks
Junior gymnast Rebekah Revadelo again is training and competing with Westerville Central.
Revadelo competed in the Hilliard Invitational on Dec. 15, finishing 49th in the all-around (22.9). She tied for 13th on vault (7.8).
Last season at district, Revadelo tied for 58th in the all-around (30.2). She tied for 28th on vault (8.2), tied for 70th on uneven bars (7.15), tied for 78th on floor exercise (7.95) and tied for 109th on balance beam (6.9).
"The goal is to get to state," Revadelo said. "My main shot is on beam. I cannot fall and I have to make sure everything is clean."
Below are the coming schedules for the Whitehall-Yearling boys basketball and girls basketball teams:
*Dec. 22 -- At Grandview
*Dec. 21 -- At Worthington Christian