After a pair of tough losses, Westerville Central High School girls basketball coach Jim Morgan thought it was imperative for his team to get back on track.

The Warhawks did that when they held off Walnut Ridge 55-49 on Jan. 5 at home.

Central was 7-3 overall before playing Big Walnut on Jan. 8. It is 2-2 in the OCC-Buckeye Division as it prepares for a game Friday, Jan. 11, at Westerville South, which leads the league at 4-0.

Mabinty Kebe led the Warhawks against Walnut Ridge with 16 points. Najayah Shepherd scored 14 and Karmen Long added 12.

"It was a good bounce-back win," Morgan said. "They're a good team and I was proud with how we scrapped and fought to the end. After a couple tough losses, we were just trying to get back in the win column."

Central lost to Watkins Memorial 60-58 on Dec. 27 in the Phil Brown Classic at Otterbein, snapping a four-game winning streak. Shepherd scored 20 points and Kebe added 10.

Shepherd scored 15 points and Kebe and Ashley Kramer each had nine in a 66-51 league loss at Olentangy Liberty on Jan. 4.

"The league is tough," Morgan said. "I didn't think we played that badly (against the Patriots) and we lost by 15. Liberty is a great team and of course Westerville South has four Division I (college recruits). We have eight games in January and I told the girls there's no game you can't win, but there's no game you can't lose. All eight games are going to be challenging."

The January schedule includes a league game Jan. 18 at Westerville North, as the Warhawks will look to avenge a 36-25 loss Dec. 7.

"Hopefully we can go over there and play a little better than we did the first time," Morgan said.

Through 10 games, Shepherd was averaging a team-high 11.1 points and was tied with Long for the lead in rebounding at 6.9 per game.

Kebe was averaging 10.7 points and Long was averaging 10. Michayla Brenning led in assists at 3.8 per game.

"We have to do a better job with rebounding, finishing shots and free throws," Morgan said. "We're going to get there."

Boys basketball team looks to bounce back

The boys basketball team looked to rebound from a pair of losses when it played Big Walnut on Jan. 8.

The Warhawks entered the game 4-6 overall. They are 1-3 in the OCC-Buckeye.

Chaz Dixon scored 12 points, Tyler Combest had 11 and Simon Bouscher-Helbig added 10 in a 47-43 loss to visiting Groveport on Jan. 5.

Dixon scored 13 points and Tyler Beckel had 10 in a 78-46 loss to visiting Liberty on Jan. 4.

Wrestling team competes at Scioto

The wrestling team finished 14th (51 points) in the 16-team Kevin Cleveland Memorial Tournament on Jan. 5 at Dublin Scioto behind champion Centerville (222.5).

Nick DeRose led the Warhawks by finishing second at heavyweight. He was pinned by DeSales' Cole Potts in the final in 1 minute, 54 seconds.

Zeke Healy finished fourth at 182 pounds and Gary Steele was fifth at 132.

"We're young," coach Jerry McSwords said. "We have great senior leadership; Nick does a great job for us. We have one senior (in DeRose) and a whole bunch of sophomores (in the lineup). Youth shows up at a tough tournament like this. Our inexperience showed. I think we can get better. We're plugging along. We're making progress."

Iquina resgins as girls volleyball coach

Gerard Iquina has stepped down after three seasons as girls volleyball coach.

Under Iquina, the Warhawks went 29-41 overall and 12-18 in the OCC-Buckeye, including 11-12 overall and 4-6 in the league this fall.

"After much discussion and self-reflection and following my mantra of making decisions for the team, I felt it was better for the program for me to step down and open an opportunity for new leadership to take the rein," Iquina said. "It was a joy and privilege helping shape all the athletes I had over the last three years to be better volleyball players, but more importantly better people."

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank