Whitehall-Yearling boys basketball coach Drew Williams entered the season expecting his team to feature depth and scoring balance.
Those two areas were strong points in a season-opening 77-76 win over Northland in the All-Ohio Nike Hoops Showcase on Nov. 30 at Gahanna.
"When we've had success here, we had team guys who we could start on any given night and that's what we have this year," said Williams, who is in his seventh season. "I can put any 10 kids on the court."
Kei'von Wiggins' layup with 6 seconds remaining was the winning basket against the Vikings. Wiggins, a 6-foot-3 junior forward, led the Rams with 21 points.
Josiah Mobley, a 6-2 junior guard and transfer from Reynoldsburg, scored 19 and 6-6 junior forward Royal Sibley added 15.
"Josiah is a very good shooter," Williams said. "He's a high IQ kid who plays hard."
Wiggins and 2019 graduate Taylon Cofer, a guard, each averaged a team-high 10 points last season. Wiggins, who also led in rebounding at 7.0 per game, missed the final six games because of disciplinary reasons.
The Rams went 3-5 in the MSL-Ohio Division last year to finish fourth behind champion Columbus Academy (6-2). They open league play Saturday, Dec. 7, against visiting Bexley.
Buckeye Valley and Wellington have joined the league.
"Grandview has the most experience (in the league)," Williams said. "Worthington Christian has a bunch of guys back. Buckeye Valley has a great young group of kids. There's no drop-off with any team in the league, so that's going to be fun."
Along with Sibley and Wiggins, the returnees are seniors Amir Dallas (6-3, forward) and Charles Miller (5-11, guard) and juniors Teddy Brown (5-10, guard), Da'Leon Jackson (6-4, forward), Jaiion Lowe (6-7, center) and Kaden Macklin (6-0, guard).
"With the juniors we have, there are a lot of things possible," Miller said. "Everybody can contribute. If we can just focus and put our minds to it, this team can be great."
Sibley also is expecting a solid season.
"We've all jelled together more than last year," he said. "We're not in little groups anymore. We're all together. We've played together for the past three years. As a whole, we're just trying to show people what we can do."
Other players are seniors Trae'Veon Suarez (6-4, forward) and Savion Woods (6-4, forward), junior Talibakil Taylor (6-1, forward) and freshmen Elijah Hale (6-4, forward) and K.J. Satterfield (6-0, guard).
"There's been a lot of teaching," Williams said. "Most of these kids played varsity last season, but they were sophomores. This is the class I've been waiting for since they were freshmen because they're a good group of kids. They're very coachable."
Key losses to graduation include Cofer, who was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district, and guard Roshean Bagley, who was honorable mention all-league.
Bowling teams expect strong seasons
The boys and girls bowling teams have high expectations this season.
The Rams opened by competing in the Red and Blue Classic on Nov. 23 at HP Lanes. Senior Elias Rozzelle (581) and sophomores Sam McQuate (542) and Alexander Scott (502) led the boys, while senior Jessica Gress (526) led the girls.
Along with Rozzelle and McQuate, other returnees for the boys are juniors Nick Miner and David Sattler and sophomores Dillon Fooce, Kameron Lees and Nathan McGrath.
The Rams opened COHSBC-B play Dec. 3 against Thomas Worthington.
"It's always been a good league. It's very competitive," said boys coach Tavi Netotian, who is in his 13th season. "There are more and more schools that are getting better. ... We want to win the MSL tournament. That's the big goal."
Last season, McGrath was second-team all-MSL and Rozzelle and McQuate were honorable mention all-league.
"We have a lot of young ones," Netotian said. "From what I've seen so far, they're eager to learn and they want to participate."
Gress again is expected to lead the girls after representing the team in the Division I district tournament last season, tying for 15th (538) of 104 bowlers. She recorded a 511 series to earn league Bowler of the Year honors in the MSL-Ohio tournament.
Senior Kamdon Pauley was second-team all-league.
Also back are senior Payton Parks and junior Chelsee Cress. Other bowlers are freshmen Lilliana Jones and Amanda Tumialan.
"I like what I see so far," second-year coach Lori Shaw said. "We have some new players. We're hoping to be better than last year. We have a lot of work to do this year."
Below are the coming schedules for the Whitehall-Yearling boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling and wrestling teams:
*Dec. 7 -- Home vs. Bexley
*Dec. 6 -- At Columbus School for Girls
*Dec. 9 -- At Grandview
*Dec. 5 -- Gahanna at HP Lanes
*Dec. 6 -- Hilliard Darby at Holiday Lanes
Dec. 7 -- Holiday Baker Tournament at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
*Dec. 9 -- Dublin Scioto at Holiday Lanes
*Dec. 10 -- Hilliard Bradley at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
Dec. 11 -- At New Albany with Central Crossing and Whetstone