As Westerville South High School boys basketball coach Ed Calo again has focused on the Wildcats having a balanced effort, one player has emerged as the team's top scorer.
Senior Jordan McMillian hopes to help the Wildcats build momentum ahead of the Division I district tournament, which begins Feb. 23.
South is 6-5 overall and 3-2 in the OCC-Buckeye Division as it prepares to play host to Olentangy on Friday, Jan. 18.
McMillian, a 6-foot guard, is averaging a team-best 21.6 points, including scoring a season-high 29 in a 69-57 win at Westerville North on Jan. 4. He played with the Warriors in his freshman season.
"Jordan is doing a great job and he's working hard," Calo said. "He's grown quite a bit. He has to conquer the mental side of the game, but when you look at him as a freshman he was a nondescript freshman at Westerville North. Now he's one of the best players in central Ohio."
McMillian has scored in double figures in all of the Wildcats' games this season.
"I'm still friends with a group of players (at North)," he said. "It felt good to go back to my old school and get the win."
South bounced back from a 65-50 loss to state-ranked Pickerington Central on Jan. 8 at home to defeat visiting Westerville Central 69-45 on Jan. 11. McMillian scored 26 points and Ryan Greggs added 22.
McMillian hopes it's the kind of win that can spark the Wildcats.
"(Calo) tells us to come into every game with the same type of mindset that we expect to win and to have the same energy in every game," McMillian said.
McMillian scored 18 points and Manny Sunnyway had 15 against Pickerington Central, which was ranked second behind Cincinnati Moeller in last week's Division I state poll.
"I don't think that we played our best ballgame and they played well," Calo said. "We hung in there with a little bit of toughness. We're disappointed that we didn't take advantage of some things, but they're very good. It's tough to combat their size."
The Wildcats' game at Cleveland St. Ignatius on Jan. 12 was postponed and rescheduled for Jan. 26.
McMillian hopes to play in college, but won't focus on that decision until the season ends.
"I tell our kids all the time, you can't worry about tomorrow if you don't take care of today," Calo said. "They certainly understand that and Jordan's pretty locked in on that."
While McMillian has been the leading scorer, Calo also has been impressed with several others, including Sunnyway. The 6-1 senior post player is averaging 9.5 points and has been a key leader.
"Manny is the glue," Calo said. "He's the guy that does all the grunt work. I told Manny that it's possible for him to not score and be the most valuable player on the court that night."
Since the graduation of center Kaleb Wesson in 2017, South has been forced to utilize a smaller lineup, with 6-3 senior guard Jacob Singleton listed as the tallest player on the roster.
Instead, the Wildcats have had to rely on their quickness and continuing to play aggressive defense.
"We don't look at it as a disadvantage anymore," McMillian said. "It was definitely a loss to lose Kaleb, but right now we just take it as we're small and fast and we're just going to push the ball as hard as we can and play faster than our opponents."
Wrestling team wins at Madison Plains
The wrestling team went 5-0 to finish first in the six-team Golden Eagle Duals on Jan. 12 at Madison Plains, ahead of second-place Big Walnut (4-1).
The Wildcats defeated Whitehall 51-27, London 66-9, Madison Plains 60-18, Liberty Union 38-27 and Big Walnut 35-34.
Fuanyi Fobellah (106 pounds, 18-6 overall) and Bobby Henderson (152, 13-7) each went 5-0.
It was the first team title for South since winning its dual tournament in January 2014.
The Wildcats opened OCC-Buckeye action with a 43-28 loss at Olentangy on Jan. 10.
Girls basketball team rebounds from loss
The girls basketball team bounced back from a 61-42 loss at Pickerington Central on Jan. 8 to defeat visiting Westerville Central 44-40 on Jan. 11 as Anyssa Jones scored 17 points and Gabby Hutcherson added 11.
Jones had 16 points and Peyton Guice added 15 against Pickerington Central, which won the Division I state title last season.
The Wildcats are 9-2 overall and 5-0 in the OCC-Buckeye.
Below are the coming schedules for the South boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 18 -- Home vs. Olentangy. The Wildcats defeated the Braves 79-69 in overtime Dec. 7.
Jan. 19 -- Canton McKinley in Martin Luther King Classic at North Canton Hoover
Jan. 22 -- Home vs. Reynoldsburg
*Jan. 18 -- At Olentangy. The Wildcats defeated the Braves 77-61 on Dec. 7.
Jan. 20 -- West Chester Lakota West in Classic in the Country at Berlin Hiland
Jan. 21 -- Mason in Classic in the Country at Berlin Hiland
Jan. 22 -- At Reynoldsburg
Jan. 19 -- Central District Preview at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
*Jan. 22 -- New Albany at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 19 -- Big Walnut and Canal Winchester at Westerville Community Center
*Jan. 17 -- Home vs. Olentangy Liberty
Jan. 19 -- Panther Invitational at Pickerington North