The Whetstone High School girls basketball team isn't overly discouraged despite a rough start.
The Braves were 2-8 overall and 2-4 in the City League-North Division before playing Centennial on Jan. 8.
"Obviously, the girls don't like losing, but with so many new, young girls who lack experience, things haven't gone our way," coach Torrie Ruffin said. "They have remained positive because they're seeing improvement and beginning to understand the game better.
"They're also learning life lessons. They aren't giving up when things don't go well. They keep pushing hard and, eventually, that's going to pay off in all phases of life. They're making opponents work harder now, and we're not easy on them in practice."
Whetstone snapped a five-game losing streak by beating Mifflin 34-26 on Dec. 21, but lost to Thomas Worthington 64-15 on Dec. 28. The Braves' other win came against International, 69-1 on Dec. 4. They will play the Lions in the second round of league play Friday, Jan. 11, at International.
Against Mifflin, Le'Cara Josey had 11 points, Grace Brigle scored nine and Ellen Edwards had six.
"We've had lots of girls step up in different aspects and ways," Ruffin said. "Le'Cara Josey and Lauren Armstrong are encouraging the others to play more physical and they're toughening the others up during practices. Freshman Ellen Edwards makes sure the girls remain focused and Olivia Mullins is very serious and is trying to help the girls do the right things, especially in practices.
"Grace Brigle is a great communicator on defense, and she's telling the others where they need to be and what they need to do. So they're beginning to understand the game a whole lot better."
Wrestlers place seventh in Bobcat Invitational
Junior Johnny Kincaid placed second at 132 pounds in the 13-team Bobcat Invitational on Jan. 5 at Grandview to help the wrestling team finish seventh (136.5 points) behind champion Franklin Heights (239.5).
"Johnny is a third-year wrestler who has started to turn the corner and understand the sport," coach Tom Jones said. "He's matured into a good little wrestler."
Sophomore Abdourahman Sallah (170) finished third and junior Hassan Sesay (160) placed fourth.
"Sallah is a first-year wrestler and he's 5-4 now, so that's impressive," Jones said. "We're hoping he's going to follow in (2018 graduate) Ibrahim Sesay's footsteps. Ibrahim started wrestling in high school and lost his first nine matches before becoming a three-time City champion and two-time (Division I) district qualifier. Sallah is definitely one to watch."
Hassan Sesay, Ibrahim's brother, is 14-2.
"Hassan wrestled really well, but he made a few mistakes," Jones said. "In his semifinal, he was leading (Zanesville West Muskingum's Andrew McFee), who was a state qualifier last year, but got caught and pinned. He made a similar mistake in the third-place match and lost 6-4. He'll learn from it and grow from it. You can't really grow unless you make mistakes.
"Overall, I was pretty pleased. We only took seven wrestlers and all of them improved."
Boys basketball team posts first victory
The boys basketball team posted its first victory on Dec. 27, topping host Tree of Life 60-43 after opening the season with eight consecutive losses.
The Braves were 1-8 overall and 0-4 in the City-North before playing Centennial on Jan. 8.
Whetstone outscored the Trojans 20-10 in the first quarter and led 35-19 at halftime. Antwan Allen led the Braves with 22 points, Sam Barrett scored 12 and Jaden Arledge scored 11.
Whetstone, which finished 2-21 last season, was competitive in losses to Granville (64-53 on Dec. 5), Linden-McKinley (72-62 on Dec. 11) and Mifflin (60-50 on Dec. 21).
Both of the Braves' wins last season came against International. They will play host to the Lions on Friday, Jan. 11. The teams meet again Feb. 5 at International.
Below are the coming schedules for the Whetstone boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 11 -- Home vs. International
Jan. 12 -- At Independence
*Jan. 15 -- Home vs. East
*Jan. 11 -- At International. The Braves beat the Lions 69-1 on Dec. 4.
Jan. 12 -- At Independence
*Jan. 15 -- At East. The Braves lost to the Tigers 32-28.
*Jan. 11 -- Columbus Academy at HP Lanes
*Jan. 14 -- Northland at Sequoia Pro Bowl
Jan. 16 -- Worthington Kilbourne at Sequoia Pro Bowl
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 12 -- Northeast Classic at Branin Natatorium in Canton; Stars Invitational at Columbus Aquatics Center
Jan. 12 -- Comet Classic at Central Crossing