A rough weekend led to some learning experiences for the Worthington Kilbourne High School boys basketball team.
The Wolves lost to visiting Thomas 54-35 in an OCC-Cardinal Division contest Jan. 11 and was routed by host Canal Winchester 101-54 the following day.
"We've got five sophomores and a freshman in our regular rotation and, with our smaller bodies, we've got to be able to execute crisper and do all of the fundamental things within the game better in order to give ourselves a chance to win at this stage," coach Tom Souder said. "But I do really love this group.
"They bust it and they know they're going to be good. It's just a little disheartening for them because they want to win more. But we've got to get better if that's going to happen and we've got to find the guys willing to do what's best for the team."
The Wolves are 3-9 overall and 2-5 in the OCC-Cardinal entering a home game against Dublin Jerome on Friday, Jan. 18.
"We took a step back (last weekend)," Souder said. "We were playing pretty well. We played decent in Pittsburgh (in an 80-60 loss to Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, on Dec. 27), beat DeSales (69-62 on Dec. 28), should've beaten (Dublin) Scioto (a 53-52 loss on Jan. 4) and beat (Olentangy) Berlin (57-24 on Jan. 8)."
Most of the trouble against Thomas stemmed from the length of the Cardinals, especially 6-foot-9 post player Ben Wight, who had 22 points, 14 rebounds and seven blocked shots and altered at least a half a dozen other shots.
"We've got to understand the guy is 6-9 and we can't just keep taking the ball in there with our head down and challenging him," Souder said. "After a few times, you'd think we would drive it in and kick it out for open shots. But he's a good player. He's long, got great hands, finishes around the basket and plays with great temperament. He had his way with us."
Souder said Thomas' length on the wings also presented problems for the Wolves.
"We hurried our shots and we took quick shots that led to (Thomas') transition," he said. "We have good shooters when they set their feet, but didn't set our feet often enough because of the defense. We needed to keep moving the ball looking for better shots, but we'll learn from this."
Zach Wilson had a team-high 11 points against Thomas, followed by Ian Schupp with eight and Travis Mecklenburg with seven.
Schupp led Kilbourne with 13 points against Canal Winchester, which stormed out to a 46-17 halftime lead. Wilson added 12 points, Jace Smullen scored nine and Ayden Parsons scored eight.
Wilson is averaging 16.7 points and 4.1 rebounds, Schupp is averaging 8.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists and Parsons is averaging 5.8 points and 2.1 assists. Cayden Dougherty is averaging 3.4 assists and Kyler Archual has taken a team-high seven charges and is averaging 4.8 points and 3.4 rebounds.
"We've been up and down all season with our youth, but I'll tell you what, the kids continue to fight, battle and compete," Souder said. "It's been that way all season and I don't think it's going to change. We're going to be fine. We're going to continue to work to improve."
Girls basketball team hits rough patch
The girls basketball team looked to snap a three-game losing streak when it played host to New Albany on Jan. 15.
The Wolves lost to visiting Thomas 56-34 on Jan. 11 to fall to 6-7 overall and 3-5 in the OCC-Cardinal. That contest followed league losses to Berlin (53-44 on Jan. 8) and Scioto (51-48 on Jan. 4).
"Our defensive rotations have been off and our rebounding has been poor lately," coach Jim Strode said. "Going into (last week), our largest margin of defeat was nine points and we had allowed more than 50 points three times. We allowed more than 50 in both of those (against Berlin and Scioto) and Thomas handed us our worst loss of the season. But credit them. They played extremely well and are very talented."
Kilbourne trailed Thomas 16-8 after the first quarter and was outscored 14-5 in the second quarter to trail 30-13 at halftime.
The Wolves had rallied to beat Cardinals 64-62 in double overtime in the teams' first meeting Dec. 11 behind 23 points from Lauren Scott.
Celeste Sloma had 13 points to lead Kilbourne in the rematch and Scott scored seven. Sarah Charley had 21 points to lead Thomas.
"Sarah Charley had a banner day against us and our defense didn't keep us in the game," Strode said. "We shot 20 percent and it's hard to win when you shoot that horrible."
Swimming teams prepping for OCC meet
Members of the swimming and diving teams tuned up for the OCC-Cardinal meet Jan. 25 and 26 at Thomas by competing in the Northeast Classic on Jan. 12 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
The girls team totaled 13 points to tie for 32nd behind champion North Canton Hoover (243) as 48 teams scored.
Haley Banner placed eighth in the 100-yard freestyle (53.75 seconds) and 11th in the 50 free (24.67), Lauren Richner finished 17th in the 50 free (24.58) in the bonus final, the 200 free relay placed 10th (1:40.75) and the 200 medley relay was 13th (1:52.06).
The boys team tied Thomas for 38th (4) behind champion Jerome (232) as 42 teams scored. The Wolves were led by the 400 free relay, which finished 15th (3:26.98).
Below are the coming schedules for the Kilbourne boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, gymnastics and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 18 -- Home vs. Dublin Jerome. The Wolves lost to the Celtics 74-68 on Dec. 7.
Jan. 19 -- Home vs. Granville
*Jan. 22 -- At Hilliard Bradley. The Wolves lost to the Jaguars 55-33 on Dec. 17.
*Jan. 18 -- At Jerome. The Wolves lost to the Celtics 56-48 on Dec. 7.
*Jan. 22 -- Home vs. Bradley. The Wolves beat the Jaguars 30-27 on Nov. 30.
*Jan. 17 -- Hilliard Darby at Capri Lanes
*Jan. 18 -- Gahanna at Gahanna Lanes
Jan. 19 -- Central District Preview at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
Jan. 21 -- Muskingum Invitational at Royal Z Lanes
*Jan. 22 -- Lancaster at Tiki Lanes
Jan. 17 -- Home vs. *Bradley, *Darby and Hilliard Davidson in Beauty and the Beast
Jan. 19 -- Dublin Coffman, *Dublin Scioto, Jerome and *Olentangy Berlin at Central Ohio Gymnastics and Cheer
Jan. 23 -- Home vs. Grove City, Upper Arlington and Westerville Central
*Jan. 17 -- Home vs. Bradley
Jan. 18-19 -- Top Gun Invitational at Alliance