When the bell rings to end the school day, Lauren Perone gets a spring in her step.
The senior guard for the Olentangy Orange High School girls basketball team is about to partake in what she calls her "favorite part of the day."
Daily practice might be a grind for many athletes, but it's the opposite for Perone.
"Coach (Bob Scott) said (recently) that coming here (to practice) was the best part of his day, and I got to thinking and it's the same for me," Perone said. "I love my team and being with them and working hard. It's something that I have been doing for so long."
Perone was the leading scorer though 13 games for the Pioneers, who were 4-9 overall before playing Big Walnut on Jan. 15. She was averaging 9.7 points and had made a team-high 35 3-pointers.
"Lauren is our best 3-point shooter, obviously, and everyone knows that now," Scott said. "She is our best shooter, and she gets her shot off pretty quickly.
"She was probably the hardest-working kid that I had this past summer. She does what she can do, and she has a great attitude."
Perone came off the bench last year, averaging just 2.5 points. She said the change has been just being able to take on the role of a shooter.
"I feel like I have more confidence and my teammates have confidence in me," she said. "Last year we had McKenna Ford, who was a known 3-point shooter. I compared myself a lot to her last year, but now she's graduated.
"(Ford) taught me not to be afraid to shoot after you miss. I have struggled with that over the years, but it's different this year. This is my last time around and I don't want to waste it."
Perone has been playing basketball since she was 4 years old and has received a lot of help from her father, Mike Perone, who played at Ready before graduating in 1989.
"Shooting from 3-point range is kind of my specialty," she said. "My dad practiced a lot with me when I was younger.
"Our neighbor had a half court with a basket and we would go over every night and keep shooting around the arc. I shot inside, too, but I really fell in love with the 3. I'd like to say I can make it with a hand in my face, though that might sound like I'm bragging."
The Pioneers began the second half of their OCC-Buckeye Division schedule by picking up their first league victory. Anna Grabau scored 14 points and Perone added 11 with three 3s as visiting Orange defeated Westerville North 38-29 on Jan. 11 to improve to 1-5 in the league.
Maddie Erickson was 5-for-6 on free throws in the fourth quarter to help seal the victory, which was the 200th career win for Scott.
"I don't think the record's where we want it to be, but the effort is definitely there," Perone said. "I'm proud of how we haven't given up on each other. We just need to learn how to win.
"I came off the bench last year and I learned that everyone really has a role they play and the sooner we can recognize what we can contribute to the game, the better we can be. Everyone seems to know their role -- some people have multiple roles -- but they understand what they need to do."
Perone has a 4.3 GPA and may attend Bowling Green or Ohio State to study business. That means her basketball career soon will be limited to intramural and recreational leagues.
"I don't know what I'm going to do without basketball next year. I spend a lot of time on it," she said. "I think I'll miss being a part of the team. There are not that many opportunities to have experiences like this. I like being around my friends all the time."
Norz, Peterson have top bowling averages
Jake Norz leads the boys bowling team with a 176.2 average and Makenzie Peterson tops the girls team at 165.9.
The boys are 3-1 overall and in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-A Division, and 2-0 in the OCC-Buckeye.
Brendan Tansky (175.7), Jacob Burre (168.4) and Tanner Davidson (165.4) are the other top performers for the boys.
Raymie Shields (152.8), Eve Wicks (136.8) and Remy Gray (134.1) are the other top contributors for the girls, who are 2-2 overall and in the COHSBC-A, and 0-2 in the OCC-Buckeye.
Younger swimmers lead girls in Canton
Two freshmen and a sophomore turned in strong performances for the girls swimming and diving team in the Northeast Classic on Jan. 12 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
Freshman Alex Knodel was 13th in the 500-yard freestyle (5 minutes, 25.32 seconds) as the Pioneers tied Gates Mills Hawken for 45th (4 points) behind champion North Canton Hoover (243) as 48 teams scored.
Freshman Kayla Fisher was 17th in the 100 free (53.93) and sophomore Brooke Farren was 20th in the 100 backstroke (1:00.58).
The boys team competed but did not score.
Below are the coming schedules for the Orange boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, gymnastics, hockey, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 18 -- Home vs. Liberty. The Pioneers lost to the Patriots 81-66 on Dec. 7.
Jan. 19 -- Uniontown Lake at North Canton Hoover
Jan. 22 -- At Dublin Coffman
*Jan. 18 -- At Liberty. The Pioneers lost to the Patriots 57-25 on Dec. 7.
Jan. 22 -- Home vs. Coffman
Jan. 18 -- Teays Valley at Capri Lanes
*Jan. 22 -- Berlin at Capri Lanes
*Jan. 23 -- Delaware at Colony Lanes
Jan. 19 -- Warhawk Invitational at Westerville Central
Jan. 18 -- Farmington Hills (Mich.) Shamrocks Club in Pioneer Holiday Classic at Chiller North
Jan. 19 -- Hudson and Mentor Lake Catholic in Pioneer Holiday Classic at Chiller North
Jan. 20 -- TBA at Chiller Easton or Chiller North in Pioneer Holiday Classic
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 19 -- At St. Charles with Berlin and Columbus Academy
*Jan. 17 -- Home vs. Westerville North
Jan. 18-19 -- Mike Casey-Maumee Bay Classic at Oregon Clay