The Centennial boys basketball team opened with a win over an OCC program and then bounced back from a loss in its league opener by routing its rival.
The Stars were 2-1 overall and 1-1 in the City League-North Division before facing Northland on Dec. 17. They defeated Hilliard Davidson 68-58 on Dec. 2, fell to Beechcroft 95-66 on Dec. 10 and beat Whetstone 85-58 on Dec. 13.
Considering several players joined the team late after helping the football program earn its first playoff berth, Centennial views this as a solid start. The Stars are looking to build on last year's finish of 12-11 overall and 8-6 in the City-North, and advance further in the postseason after losing to Bexley 75-53 in the second round of the Division II district tournament.
"I got a lot of guys who were part of that successful football team," coach Roosevelt Osborne III said. "When they get into basketball shape, we'll look a little bit different. They're strong guys, they're smart (and) they're good basketball players."
Osborne said his team, which includes football players such as 6-foot-3 junior guard Jaylen Gilbert and 5-8 senior guard Luchene Davis, hasn't had as much time together as usual because the Stars' football season didn't end until Nov. 8 with a loss in the first round of the Division III, Region 11 playoffs.
He expects the team to round into form once everyone becomes acclimated with one another.
"We didn't have as much practice time as we normally have for a preseason because they made it to the playoffs," he said. "Once we get more familiar with each other, everything's going to be fine."
For now, Osborne is fielding a starting lineup consisting of Gilbert, 6-0 junior guard Jaylon Jackson, 6-1 senior guard Cameron Kates, 5-8 junior guard Tyreek Gunnell and 6-3 senior wing player Ahmed Dada.
Two of the Stars' prospective contributors are dealing with injuries. Senior Kelvin Gilliam (6-4, forward) has an ankle injury and junior Travonne Jackson (6-5, guard) is healing from a fractured thumb.
"We're banged up," Osborne said. "We have some guys that are dealing with some injuries and can't practice every day, so we have to heal up a little bit."
Girls basketball team out to strong start
The girls basketball team has enjoyed a fast start, standing at 4-2 overall and 3-1 in the City-North before playing Northland on Dec. 17.
"We're off to a really great start that's kind of been sparked by some pretty hot shooting, and our defensive pressure has been giving us a boost," coach Pete Baumann said.
He said seniors Naa Dromo Korley (5-8, forward), Jayana Harley (5-5, guard) and Tyler Johnson (5-8, forward) have led the way.
"They've all provided a big spark for us," he said. "They're kids that have played a lot of varsity basketball. They'll be three-year letterwinners. They've played with really good energy, really good poise, just stayed under control and kept plugging away."
Some of his younger players, such as 5-11 junior forward CiCi Dingess and 5-6 sophomore guard Amari Scott, have offered contributions as well.
Despite the good start, Baumann said the team needs to constantly seek improvement and avoid complacency.
"Something we talk about is we say there are goal lines, but no finish lines," he said. "We don't want to be too satisfied, we don't want to be content with anything that we do. We always want to look to get better, and there are always things we can improve on. We've got a long way to go, we've got a lot of games left. So we just have to keep working."
Bowling teams start strong
Heading into their matchup Friday, Dec. 20, against West at Game of Western Columbus, the boys and girls bowling teams both are 2-1.
In the boys' 1,969-1,509 win over Bexley on Dec. 9, Joe Thies and Vincent Flinders led the way with averages of 194.5 and 186.5, respectively.
A.J. Grumbling and Flinders led the way in a 2,094-2,004 loss to Worthington Christian on Dec. 4, posting averages of 212 and 192, and Grumbling and Thies averaged 201 and 176.5 in a 2,084-1,710 win over Columbus Academy on Dec. 2.
Izabelle Segovia, Kylie Crissinger-Acuna and Sarah Clifton have led the girls.
Segovia and Crissinger-Acuna were the top two finishers in a 1,634-1,326 win over Academy and a 1,561-1,192 win over Bexley. Segovia and Crissinger-Acuna averaged 153 and 147, respectively, against Bexley and 186.5 and 165.5 against Academy.
In a 2,018-1,629 loss to Worthington Christian, Crissinger-Acuna averaged 148.5 while Clifton averaged 139.
Below are the coming schedules for the Centennial boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling and swimming & diving teams:
*Dec. 20 -- Home vs. Linden-McKinley
*Dec. 20 -- At Linden
*Dec. 20 -- West at Game of Western Columbus
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 21 -- Wellington Jaguar Invitational at Columbus Aquatics Center