When senior Dallas Patrick of the Wellington School boys basketball team needs a fresh perspective on how he can make an impact on the court, all he has to do is watch video of his father, Thad Patrick, playing the sport.
"My dad went to Brookhaven and was a Hall of Famer at Tiffin (University)," Patrick said. "He always talks about how the competition was so much better back (when he played). He always makes me watch film of his games and I always pick up moves he did and take them to the court. I learned most of my game from him."
Thad Patrick was a backup guard for Brookhaven when it won the City League championship in 1986 and averaged 16 points as a senior in 1988 when the Bearcats captured another City title. Thad went on to team with another Brookhaven graduate, Jeff Ward, at Tiffin.
Ward is the father of current Michigan State player and Gahanna graduate Nick Ward.
Dallas Patrick is more than halfway through his final prep season for the Jaguars and, like his father, is a 6-foot-1 guard.
Wellington was 6-5 overall and 4-2 in the MSL-Cardinal Division before playing Grove City Christian on Jan. 22. Patrick was averaging 26.4 points through 11 games, including scoring 42 in an 89-32 victory over Millers-port on Dec. 18.
On Jan. 4 in a 66-49 victory over Zanesville Rosecrans, Patrick became the second player in program history to surpass 1,000 career points. Sean McCants averaged 28.6 points as a senior in 2006 and finished with more than 1,600 points.
Patrick had 1,041 career points before facing Grove City Christian and could take on an even bigger part of the scoring load going forward because the Jaguars weren't expected to have junior forward Elijah Meredith for the second half of the season because of the OHSAA transfer rule.
Meredith, a transfer from Olentangy Orange, averaged 13.3 points through 11 games.
Sophomore guard Marcus Stewart was averaging 9.1 points, followed by junior guard Connor Herrick (5.7) and freshman guard/wing player Chase Ouellette (4.9).
"(Patrick is) a great athlete," coach Artie Taylor said. "He's in definitely more of a leadership role and he's making stuff happen on the defensive end. He had three triple-doubles and three 30-point games last year, so he's very capable.
"We've got so many young guys. I'm talking about young as far as experience. We've got guys on the team that haven't played much, but they're jelling."
Patrick is hoping he can follow in his father's footsteps and play in college.
In the meantime, he's growing into a leader for a Jaguars team that is hoping to be a factor in the Division III district tournament after having its season end in a district semifinal last winter.
"I'm excited for the teammates we have now," Patrick said. "We have a bond and a brotherhood and I love playing with these guys. We started off shaky, but we're just jelling together the way it's supposed to be played.
"My role has changed to being a leader, which is a position I'm still not real comfortable with, but this group of guys make it real easy to become that, and they listen. We hold each other accountable and it's fun. I owe everything to this group of guys. When I visited (Wellington before my freshman year), the biggest thing that stood out was the people and the diversity here. You can be yourself and there's a lot of success academically, and we've had some great success in our sports as well."
Girls squad has 'some bright spots'
Senior Savannah Childress' recent return to the lineup should help the maturation process of the girls basketball team.
The 5-6 senior guard, who averaged 16 points last season when the Jaguars went 15-10, missed eight games with a shoulder injury that she sustained during a 36-30 loss to Columbus School for Girls on Dec. 1.
Wellington was 2-11 overall and 2-7 in the MSL-Cardinal before playing Millersport on Jan. 23, with both of its wins coming against Harvest Prep (33-21 on Nov. 27 and 41-32 on Jan. 11).
Childress is the only senior on a roster that includes three freshmen as key players.
"I mostly just want to help in getting them comfortable and confident to play at this level because it's going to be that class for three more years after this," said Childress, who plans to attend Vanderbilt. "I'm just trying to build them up to play at that varsity speed and the level of competitiveness."
Childress had 14 points in a 43-38 loss at Grove City Christian on Jan. 15.
Freshman guard Alexis Burkhalter is averaging 13.5 points, including scoring 27 in a 43-37 loss to Millersport on Dec. 11.
Juniors Eli Burkhardt and Ellie Weinberg and freshmen Hannah Jones-Beyene and Abigail Burkhardt also have been among the key players for the Jaguars.
"We're trying to put some pieces together," coach Kimball Johnson said. "It's a very young team, but we do have some bright spots. Just for them to compete is important. A young team can just hang their head and give up and these kids just keep fighting. With (Childress') injury, it's given these young girls a chance to participate a little bit more and they're growing with that experience.
"The wins and losses really don't mean that much right now. We're looking at the big picture. It's going to be a process."
Swimmers prep for postseason
The boys and girls swimming and diving teams will compete in a meet Feb. 2 against Grove City and Ready at Columbus Aquatics Center before preparing for a Division II sectional meet Feb. 9 at Upper Arlington.
On Jan. 16 in the Marion Harding Invitational at Marion YMCA, the boys scored 81 points to finish second of six teams behind Upper Sandusky (220) and the girls scored 55 to place fourth of six teams behind champion Upper Sandusky (187).
Senior Evan Albers and sophomore Heath Thomas have been leading the boys team.
On Jan. 12 in the Northeast Classic at Branin Natatorium in Canton, Thomas finished 20th in the 500-yard freestyle (5 minutes, 6.09 seconds) and 22nd in the 100 breaststroke (1:05.81) and Albers was 30th in the 100 breast (1:07.41). The event featured athletes in both Divisions I and II.
Below are the coming schedules for the Wellington boys basketball and girls basketball teams:
*Jan. 26 -- At Millersport. The Jaguars beat the Lakers 89-32 on Dec. 18.
*Jan. 25 -- At Fisher Catholic. The Jaguars lost to the Irish 63-29 on Dec. 15.
*Jan. 29 -- Home vs. Zanesville Rosecrans. The Jaguars lost to the Bishops 73-18 on Dec. 21.