By playing a complete game, victory finally came to the Olentangy Berlin High School boys basketball team 10 contests into its inaugural season.
The Bears started strong and made free throws down the stretch to hold off host Watkins Memorial 46-45 on Jan. 5.
Austin Corley made four free throws in the final minute as Berlin improved to 1-9 overall. The win came one day after the Bears lost to Thomas Worthington 62-30 to drop to 0-5 in the OCC-Cardinal Division.
"It's a big thing for us, but something I'm really proud of is how our kids rebounded on back-to-back nights," said coach Donovon Barrett, whose team returned to league action Jan. 8 against Worthington Kilbourne. "We pretty much got hammered (against Thomas) and we really responded and did what we needed to be doing.
"We played hard from the beginning (against Watkins Memorial) and played hard in the second half. We played hard from the start with a lot of energy and that led to good results."
After the Bears trailed 20-5 after one quarter against Thomas in a game that spun out of control early, Barrett said he saw a different mindset against Watkins Memorial and his team was able to close the deal.
"We were 6-for-8 on free throws in the fourth quarter and made our last four," Barrett said. "That's what hurt us in a couple of our close losses to (league-foe Hilliard) Darby (47-45 in overtime Dec. 20) and Buckeye Valley (41-36 on Dec. 21).
"We missed eight of our last nine free throws down the stretch against Darby. We did the same thing against Buckeye Valley, so little things like making free throws can add up to a lot."
Corley finished with 17 points to lead the Bears, and Bryce Reed scored nine. Nick Camacho and Grant Schrieber both added six.
"It gives us a little taste of victory and hopefully it drives it a little more," Barrett said. "None of these guys have had a varsity victory before. This is their first varsity win and everybody contributed."
The first victory may be in the books for Berlin, but Barrett said the team still has an uphill climb.
"You have to work at the good things and build good habits daily and game by game," he said. "Regardless of what the score is, eventually the results come. You have to continue working on the right things.
"You have to try to do things right all of the time. You're not going to get instant results. That's not the way it works. It's not easy. If it was easy, everyone would be ultra-successful and not everyone is. Not everyone is willing to do the right things daily or when it becomes difficult. That's what we need to do."
Girls basketball team stays even through 10
The girls basketball team was 4-2 in its previous six games to move to 5-5 overall and 2-3 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Kilbourne on Jan. 8.
The Bears defeated Grandview 58-25 on Jan. 5 as Jess Nation led three players in double figures with 18 points. Meghan Boggess had 13 points and Courtney Suchan added 10.
Hockey team wins two consecutive games
The hockey team is 5-9-1-1 overall and 3-3-1-1 in the Capital Hockey Conference.
The Bears have won two in a row, defeating Gahanna 6-1 on Dec. 23 and DeSales 9-1 on Jan. 5 in league games. Caleb Stevenson and Zack Zielinski both had two goals against DeSales, and goaltender Josh Chmielewski had seven saves.
Below are the coming schedules for the Berlin boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, gymnastics, hockey, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 11 -- At Delaware
Jan. 14 -- At Columbus International
*Jan. 11 -- Home vs. Delaware. The Bears lost to Delaware 58-46 on Dec. 4.
Jan. 15 -- Home vs. Westerville Central
*Jan. 11 -- Grandview at Sawmill Lanes
*Jan. 15 -- Olentangy at Delaware Lanes
Jan. 15 -- At Upper Arlington with Dublin Coffman, Dublin Jerome, Dublin Scioto and Grove City
*Jan. 11 -- Olentangy at Chiller Easton
*Jan. 12 -- Thomas Worthington at Chiller North. The Bears tied the Cardinals at 7 on Nov. 18.
*Jan. 13 -- Gahanna at Chiller North. The Bears defeated the Lions 6-1 on Dec. 23.
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 12 -- Hilliard/Olentangy Challenge at Hilliard YMCA and Northeast Classic at Branin Natatorium in Canton
*Jan. 10 -- At Thomas
*Jan. 16 -- Home vs. Jerome