A lot of coaches like to preach the "one-game-at-a-time" mentality, and for Big Walnut High School girls basketball coach Jason Crawford, the message appears to have been received loud and clear.
The Golden Eagles were 12-3 overall and 6-1 in the OCC-Capital Division and had won eight consecutive games before playing New Albany on Jan. 25.
The winning streak began after a 58-28 loss at Newark on Dec. 21. Big Walnut gets another shot at the defending league champion Wildcats when it plays host to Newark on Friday, Feb. 1.
"Obviously, an upset of Newark would be something phenomenal," Crawford said. "Our goal was, if not to get first, to get second in the league, and try to set ourselves up to get as high of a seed as we can to make a run in the (Division II district) tournament. We've been taking that 'one-game-at-a-time' approach all season."
Newark was 16-1 overall and 7-0 in the OCC-Capital before playing Franklin Heights on Jan. 25. The Wildcats are ranked ninth in the Division I state poll.
"We believe we have a chance to win districts, which hasn't happened in a while because we've been Division I," point guard Erin Boehm said. "Now that we've moved to Division II, we believe we can win it. It was the same mentality with soccer."
Boehm was a member of the girls soccer team last fall when it reached a Division II state semifinal for the second consecutive year.
The senior was averaging a team-high 10.8 points through 15 games. She was Big Walnut's only player averaging in double figures.
Alyssa Tarney had 12 points, Avery Schone scored 10 and Boehm scored nine in a 53-27 win over Olentangy on Jan. 22. It marked the sixth game this season in which the Golden Eagles have held an opponent to fewer than 30 points.
"We had good ball pressure and ball deflections," Crawford said. "Those are things we always want to do. It was just a good team defensive effort."
Big Walnut set the tone with a strong first quarter, outscoring Olentangy 15-4. The Golden Eagles extended their lead to 32-14 by halftime.
"Coach prepares us well with our scouting reports and everything, so I think that really makes us confident in what we can do," Boehm said. "I know we have each other's back on defense. We just play hard and want to win."
Abby Brown had 15 points and Payton Carter scored 12 in a 48-47 league win over Canal Winchester on Jan. 18.
Boys basketball team looking to regroup
The boys basketball team had lost three consecutive games and was 8-6 overall and 3-3 in the OCC-Capital before playing New Albany on Jan. 25.
The skid began with a 70-64 loss to Olentangy Orange on Jan. 15, followed by lopsided losses to Canal Winchester (89-69 on Jan. 18) and Olentangy (67-50 on Jan. 22).
"We just went through a tough part of our schedule," coach Brett Bartlett said. "But we're fighting for as many wins as we can get to put ourselves in position to get a decent seed in the (Division I district) tournament draw. We still have a lot to play for."
Big Walnut will play its fourth game in eight days when it plays host to Lancaster on Tuesday, Jan. 29. The Golden Eagles then will visit Newark on Friday, Feb. 1, for a league game.
The Wildcats were 13-2 overall and 5-1 in the OCC-Capital before playing Franklin Heights on Jan. 25.
Big Walnut was edged by visiting Newark 58-50 on Dec. 21. The Golden Eagles led 17-9 after the first quarter, but were outscored 14-7 in the second quarter and 35-26 in the second half.
"Defensively, they just come at you for four quarters," Bartlett said. "They create turnovers and get you playing out of control, and they're really good at taking charges."
Big Walnut's loss to Olentangy was its eighth in a row against the Braves.
Olentangy's Sean Marks had a game-high 22 points and became the all-time leading scorer for the Braves, who took control in the second quarter with a 12-4 run to end the half. Big Walnut got to within seven points early in the fourth quarter thanks to an 11-0 run, but was outscored 19-11 in the final quarter.
Kegan Hienton had 10 points and five rebounds to lead Big Walnut. Nathan Montgomery added nine points, three assists and three steals and Carson Becker had eight points.
Wrestlers prep for team dual tourney
The wrestling team is preparing to compete in the Division I, Region 5 team dual tournament Saturday, Feb. 2, at Marysville.
Also competing at the site are Delaware, Dublin Coffman, Gahanna, Marysville, Mifflin, New Albany, Olentangy, Reynoldsburg, Thomas Worthington, Upper Arlington, Westerville South, Whitehall and Worthington Kilbourne.
The regional champion advances to a state quarterfinal Feb. 10 at Ohio State's St. John Arena. The state semifinals and final also will be held that day.
Big Walnut dropped to 1-2 in the OCC-Capital with a 45-30 loss to Groveport on Jan. 23.
Winning by pin for the Golden Eagles were Drew Armstrong (138 pounds), Ryan Coletta (152), Josh Halbakken (182) and Max Lenz (220). Also winning were Lawrence O'Malley (145) and Levi Piceno (126).
Big Walnut opened league competition with a 44-34 loss to Newark on Jan. 10 and beat Canal Winchester 43-27 in a league match Jan. 17.
Below are the coming schedules for the Big Walnut boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling and wrestling teams:
Jan. 29 -- Home vs. Lancaster
*Feb. 1 -- At Newark. The Golden Eagles lost to the Wildcats 58-50 on Dec. 21.
*Feb. 1 -- Home vs. Newark. The Golden Eagles lost to the Wildcats 58-28 on Dec. 21.
Feb. 2 -- At Mansfield Madison
*Jan. 29 -- Olentangy Liberty at Sawmill Lanes
*Jan. 30 -- Olentangy Orange at Capri Lanes
Feb. 1 -- Teays Valley at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
Feb. 2 -- TBD in Division I, Region 5 team dual tournament at Marysville