Dublin Scioto High School boys basketball coach Mike Moler hopes the experience gained by playing in a tournament in Florida over the holiday break will help his team in the second half of the season.
The Irish went 2-1 in the KSA Events Holiday Tournament held Dec. 27-29 in Orlando and then opened the 2019 portion of their schedule Jan. 4 by defeating Worthington Kilbourne 53-52 in overtime in an OCC-Cardinal Division contest at home.
Scioto was 7-4 overall and 3-2 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Hilliard Bradley on Jan. 8. The Jaguars entered the game 9-0 overall and 5-0 in the league, having won 34 consecutive league contests.
"It was a good trip," Moler said. "The guys had a lot of time to bond and hang out because they go to amusement parks and get away and get some sunshine. The camaraderie and being able to be around your teammates is good for them."
In the KSA tournament, the Irish defeated Radnor (Pennsylvania) 60-39 on Dec. 27 and Mifflinburg (Pennsylvania) 60-46 on Dec. 29 and lost to Lake Mary (Florida) Prep 61-59 in overtime Dec. 28 to finish third.
Zach Gawronski had 16 points, Jayden Prince scored 14 and Dapreis Owens added 12 against Radnor and Prince had 13 points, Owens scored 12 and Gawronski had 10 against Mifflinburg. Against Lake Mary Prep, Benjamin Lombardo had 18 points and Gawronski scored 14.
"We lost a heartbreaking overtime game in the semifinals, but other than that, coming out 2-1 makes it a successful trip," Moler said.
Victor Mwamba converted a free throw with less than a second remaining for the game-winning point against Kilbourne. Mwamba, who finished with a team-high 12 points, scored all six of Scioto's points in overtime.
"I think we should be 9-2 because we had some close games, some mishaps," Mwamba said. "I hope to improve on that 7-4 (record). Our goal is to beat our rivals, Kilbourne and Jerome, and get a high seed in the (Division I district tournament). We want to make it as far as we can in the tournament."
Owens and Prince each added 11 points against Kilbourne.
Prince returned to the lineup Dec. 21 in a 45-34 loss at Thomas Worthington after missing time with a left wrist injury sustained during an early season practice.
"We're getting back to being more healthy," Moler said. "Prince has played the last couple of games, so that's really helped. He's had a couple good games, so he's getting back to 100 percent."
Owens was averaging a team-high 11.5 points through 11 games, followed by Gawronski (10.2) and Mwamba (9.1).
Scioto, which made its second trip to Florida under Moler, plays host to Jerome on Friday, Jan. 11, in an OCC-Cardinal game. The contest against Kilbourne began a stretch of six consecutive league games.
"We have a nice little stretch up here of league games, getting back into it in the second half of the year," Moler said.
"Hopefully, we're ready for the grind."
Three wrestlers win titles in home tourney
Led by three first-place finishers, the wrestling team finished sixth (112.5 points) in the 16-team Kevin Cleveland Memorial Tournament on Jan. 5 at home, behind champion Centerville (222.5).
In its 24th year, the tournament is held in memory of Cleveland, who died in 1995 at college as a result of a severe allergic reaction.
"From what I understand, Kevin embodied everything that is pretty special about wrestling and about our culture in wrestling and the excellence and the striving for it," coach Adam Huddle said.
Winning titles were Dylan Le at 106 pounds, Daniel Segura at 152 and Deron Pulliam at 195.
Donovan Hardin finished third at heavyweight.
"The three guys we had win did really well," Huddle said. "I thought our heavyweight wrestled really well. We won our three finals matches. We did as well as to be expected."
Segura earned his 100th career win during the Marion Harding Classic on Dec. 29.
Girls basketball team opens 2019 with win
The girls basketball team opened the 2019 portion of its schedule Jan. 4 with a 51-48 win at Kilbourne.
Karleigh Rothe had 18 points and Natalie Hutras scored 14 to lead the Irish, who were 7-5 overall and 5-1 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Bradley on Jan. 8.
Hutras and Lauren Erickson each scored 10 points in a 45-38 loss at Olentangy on Jan. 5.
Athletes announce college decisions
Seven student-athletes announced their college decisions Dec. 19.
Griffin Crosa will play football at North Dakota State, Eric Holsinger will play football at Bucknell, Hutras will play women's volleyball at Denison, Braytton Krock will play men's golf at Tiffin, Aidan Lao and Kyron Rogers will play baseball at Findlay and Cayson Pfeiffer will play football at Cincinnati.
Below are the coming schedules for the Scioto boys basketball, girls basketball, gymnastics, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 11 -- Home vs. Jerome
*Jan. 11 -- At Jerome. The Irish defeated the Celtics 51-45 on Dec. 4.
Jan. 16 -- Home vs. Olentangy Liberty
Jan. 12 -- McGee Invitational at Jerome
Jan. 15 -- At Upper Arlington with Coffman, Jerome, Grove City and Olentangy Berlin
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 11 -- Marysville and Westerville South at Dublin Recreation Center
Jan. 12 -- Central Ohio Splash Invitational at Thomas Worthington
*Jan. 10 -- At Hilliard Bradley