Courtney Suchan plays several roles for the Olentangy Berlin High School girls basketball team, including one that doesn't show up in the stats.
Not only can the 5-foot-10 sophomore play outside or with her back to the basket, but she has taken on a leadership role that is desperately needed in a program devoid of seniors.
"Courtney brings fire," said coach Megan Beidelman, whose team was 7-7 overall and 3-5 in the OCC-Cardinal Division before playing Dublin Jerome on Jan. 22. "If we need a big basket or a rebound or a stop, she is the kind to huddle kids together to get them on the same page. Whether she makes the assist or gets the basket, I feel like she is a big part of a lot of plays throughout the game."
Through 13 contests, Suchan led the Bears in assists (3.1) and steals (2.6) per game and was second in scoring average (10.0) and rebounds (5.3) to junior post player Jess Nation, who was averaging 13.2 points and 7.1 rebounds.
"I do just about everything," Suchan said. "I was a point guard in middle school and then I grew a couple inches from eighth grade to my freshman year. Over time, going from being one of the smallest on the court to the tallest has been different. Now I'm 5-10 and I've gotten used to both roles.
"I want to get someone else open. I like to drive and get the ball to someone else. I can shoot 3s, but it's not like I'm the one to make the game-winning 3. That's not my role."
Suchan was a letterwinner as a freshman, coming off the bench for Olentangy. Beidelman, a 2012 Olentangy graduate, said Suchan has welcomed the leadership role.
"I think Courtney's leadership abilities are great," Beidelman said. "These girls have never had to be leaders before. They were sophomores last year at most on teams built around juniors and seniors. They are learning how to lead.
"Courtney needs to have more confidence in herself. At the beginning of the season, I think she would let that snowball and it was harder to pick herself up out of it. That's a youth thing. In the last few games she has been able to shake off little mistakes instead of dwelling on them. We have all the belief in the world in her and she's starting to believe that."
Suchan started playing basketball in the third grade. She also plays field hockey and lacrosse, but basketball is her passion.
"My stepdad, Terry Haldeman, introduced me to basketball and he helped me on a lot of things," Suchan said. "Sometimes my mental game is tough. If I'm having a rough game, it can be hard to pull myself out of it. I'm getting better at handling that.
"I am a leader this year. I have to direct people and tell them where to be. I knew I had to step into that role. We had seniors last year (at Olentangy) and I wasn't a main contributor. It wasn't something that I had to do (then), but I have to do it now."
Wrestlers fall short against Jerome
The wrestling team dropped to 1-3 in the OCC-Cardinal by losing to visiting Jerome 37-21 on Jan. 17.
"It was a tough, hard-fought match," coach Josh Heffernan said. "We won six matches and they won eight, including a forfeit we gave up.
"It was a great atmosphere because the football team had just finished lifting and came over with coach (Mark) Nori to watch the match and cheer us on. It was electric."
Hugh Peterson (132 pounds) won by pin while Luke Eisenhower (126), Izzy Foston (152), Corey Hill (182), Ian Stokell (160) and Mason Zamilski (120) all won by decision.
Gymnasts continue strong performances
The gymnastics team was 18-1 after being edged out by Jerome 133.55-133.05 in a seven-team meet Jan. 15 at Upper Arlington.
Berlin had the Nos. 4-8 finishers in the all-around behind champion Grace Krouse (35.0) of Jerome. Madison Nietfeld (33.2) was fourth, followed by Elise Hedrick (33.1), Abby Marks (32.85), Olivia Boone (32.45) and Paige Dargatz (32.4).
Boone won the balance beam (9.1) and tied for third on vault (8.3), and Marks was runner-up on uneven bars (8.75). Dargatz tied for fourth in the floor exercise (8.5).
Berlin competed Jan. 23 at Worthington Kilbourne. It is next scheduled to compete Feb. 4 at Hilliard Davidson.
Below are the coming schedules for the Berlin boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, hockey, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 25 -- At Hilliard Bradley. The Bears lost to the Jaguars 50-29 on Dec. 14.
Jan. 26 -- Home vs. Horizon Science
*Jan. 25 -- Home vs. Bradley. The Bears defeated the Jaguars 43-40 on Dec. 14.
*Jan. 24 -- Hilliard Darby at Ten Pin Alley
*Jan. 29 -- Worthington Kilbourne at Capri Lanes
*Jan. 26 - DeSales at Chiller Easton. The Bears defeated the Stallions 9-1 on Jan. 5.
*Jan. 27 - Dublin Scioto at Chiller Dublin. The Bears lost to the Irish 7-6 in overtime Dec. 7.
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 26 - OCC-Cardinal meet at Thomas Worthington
*Jan. 24 -- At Scioto
Jan. 26 -- Rieman Invitational at Delaware