The Hilliard Bradley boys basketball team again expects to be one of the area's top teams.
The Jaguars have returned four starters from last season, when they finished 22-2 overall, went 14-0 in the OCC-Cardinal Division to win their third consecutive league championship and lost to Thomas Worthington 46-41 in a Division I district semifinal.
"We have the same expectations every year and, ultimately, that's to be cutting down the last net," said 6-foot-4 senior guard Matt Allocco, a fourth-year starter. "I don't think that changes this year. We need to play together, make the right next play and be the toughest team."
Allocco, a Princeton commit, led the Jaguars in scoring (15.2 points per game) and assists (5.2) last season and was named third-team all-state, first-team all-district and league Player of the Year.
The other three returning starters are 6-4 senior forward Chris Mayfield (honorable mention all-district; 8.8 points, 5.0 rebounds) and 5-11 junior guards A.J. Mirgon (honorable mention all-district, special mention all-league; 9.0 points) and Keaton Norris (honorable mention all-league; 9.2 points).
Jack Pugh, a 6-6 forward who averaged 9.6 points and 7.6 rebounds last season, did not return for his junior season.
"Having four experienced players like that (coming back) is a good starting place, that's for sure," sixth-year coach Brett Norris said. "We're trying to make sure we leave the gym every day just getting a little better.
"We have a blend of four guys returning and some new guys coming into that. (Mayfield) is still recovering (from MCL surgery in July), but we will get him back soon. It's a new team that's trying to develop some chemistry, and we are gradually doing that."
Allocco and Mayfield, a Michigan State football commit, are the team's only seniors.
"They both are really special kids talent-wise, athletically and in the locker room," coach Norris said. "As accomplished as they are as players, they have helped set the culture for the program. They have been an integral part of that."
Rounding out the roster are juniors Tison Alexander (5-9, guard), Charlie DeLuca (6-2, guard), Caleb Jenkins (6-1, guard) and Dominic Williams (6-2, guard/forward), sophomores Tayshaun Mayfield (6-2, guard/forward), Peyton Murphy (6-2, guard) and Kieran Vallo (6-2, guard) and freshman Carter Hanson (6-0, guard).
"Everything needs to be better and we need to work on the smallest of details," coach Norris said. "With every team, the attention to detail and understanding everything really matters. We need to be as exacting in execution as we can."
Bradley opened Nov. 30 with a 53-45 win over Fishers (Indiana) Hamilton Southeastern in the Ohio Valley Hoops Classic at Mason behind 23 points from Allocco and 13 from Norris.
The Jaguars begin OCC-Cardinal action Friday, Dec. 6, at Thomas. They have won 43 consecutive league contests.
Bowling teams have high expectations
Bowling coach John Thompson has an experienced girls team and a young but talented boys squad in his 11th season leading the program.
The girls team has 12 bowlers and will try to improve on last season, when it finished 13-1 overall and went 7-0 in the OCC-Cardinal.
The Jaguars finished fifth in the Division I district tournament at HP Lanes, 31 pins shy of their first state berth.
Junior Callie Hribar (564 three-game series) placed eighth of 104 bowlers at district, 16 pins behind the third and final individual state qualifier.
Senior Marisabel Aguilar (144.2 average last season) and juniors Olivia Johnson (161.6) and Katie Yabroff (141.2) also have returned from the district lineup. Hribar had a 167.2 average last season.
"We just are constantly building the program," Thompson said. "We're having new girls step up when they get their shot. We have girls ready to step up and take positions. It's a matter of keeping people coming through the program to keep it strong."
Sophomores Madison Kennedy and Madisyn McKay and freshman Morgan Higgins also will see action.
Juniors Brandon Dever (175.6) and Zander Dietz (161.1) are the top returnees for the boys team, which has 17 bowlers after going 4-10 overall last year. Junior Nick Curran (153.0) also has returned.
Senior Zach Higgins and juniors Joe Dwyer and Troy Lehmkuhl are others who will see action.
"I'm really impressed with the way the boys have been playing," Thompson said. "Once we get some issues with spare-shooting cleared up, we should do well."
The Jaguars opened COHSBC-B and OCC-Cardinal action Dec. 2 against Groveport. The girls won 1,801-1,313 and the boys lost 2,276-2,205.
Below are the coming schedules for the Bradley boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, gymnastics, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Dec. 6 -- At Thomas Worthington
*Dec. 10 -- Home vs. Olentangy Berlin
*Dec. 6 -- Home vs. Thomas
*Dec. 10 -- At Berlin
*Dec. 6 -- Berlin at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
*Dec. 9 -- Gahanna at HP Lanes
*Dec. 10 -- Whitehall at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
Dec. 9 -- At Dublin Coffman with Darby, Davidson, *Dublin Jerome, *Dublin Scioto and Olentangy Orange
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 6 -- Scioto at Dublin Recreation Center
Dec. 5 -- Westerville South Double Dual
Dec. 7 -- Olentangy Invitational