First-year coach Ann Tiefenthaler already has seen "drastic improvement" from her Central Crossing girls basketball team despite its struggles record-wise.
The Comets were 1-5 overall before playing Franklin Heights on Dec. 17.
"We have seen a drastic improvement in the girls," Tiefenthaler said. "They are finally seeing that the tools in their toolbox work, and when they play together and communicate they are better.
"They are realizing that when they talk to each other and push each other, they are able to criticize each other in a positive way and helping each other in that aspect. They haven't been taking criticism personally."
Sophomore guard Georgia Lakso led the Comets with 15 points in a 62-27 loss to Canal Winchester on Dec. 10. The team was playing without senior guard and leading scorer Haley Cox, who was out with an illness.
"Haley is a huge leader of our team, and when she's out it automatically gets our girls down," Tiefenthaler said. "She's a big family component to the team."
Cox returned against Marysville on Dec. 13, scoring 24 points with four 3-pointers in a 66-37 loss that dropped the Comets to 1-2 in the OCC-Central Division.
The lone win for Central Crossing came against Westland, 53-34 on Dec. 3. Lakso led with 21 points and Cox added 15.
"We have worked on communicating, and we're growing strong at practice and working hard," Lakso said. "Coach tells us not to give up and to keep on pushing through."
The Comets lost an OCC-Central contest to Upper Arlington 58-24 on Dec. 6 as Cox led with nine points.
"I think we're improving every single game and the girls are realizing their potential," Tiefenthaler said. "We're keeping track of shot charts and also the players' individual goals and our team goals. Each game they see they have that potential to meet those goals."
Through six games, Cox was averaging a team-best 14.8 points, followed by Lakso at 9.5 points and both senior guard Araceli Rosado and junior guard Sydney McCullough at 2.7 points. The Comets had averaged 33.5 points per game and had surrendered 57.8.
"They have all of the tools in the toolbox and now it's up to them to use those tools," Tiefenthaler said. "Our mantra is five units strong, and everyone has to do their job. That's when we'll start pulling through."
Gymnastics team adds new athletes
The gymnastics team has more than doubled its roster from last season.
The Comets had just five gymnasts last winter and now they have 11.
Senior Haylee Snodgrass and sophomores Hope Groves, Taylor Redden and Madison VonIns are back, but junior Jadelyn Shoopman was unable to return after suffering a knee injury.
The squad has seven new competitors in junior Alaiha Mosley, sophomores Mekayla Flowers and Hannah Jennings and freshmen Andrea Norris, Tianna Rodriguez-Revilla, Makenzie Scott and Mikayla Spring.
"Most of (the new athletes) have some kind of experience (in gymnastics)," 18th-year coach Lavon Maynard said. "Hannah has some experience, and she's a sophomore.
"Haley is our only senior. She is a great leader and helps the underclassmen a lot. She is very encouraging and works with them."
Maynard said the larger roster has made it easier for the gymnasts to compete in the events that they want.
"Last year, we needed pretty much everyone to be in the all-around, but that's not the case this year," Maynard said. "The girls aren't forced to be in the all-around if they want to specialize in one event. If they want to compete in the all-around, they can. It's good for them because there's more competition within the team."
Central Crossing placed third (121.05) in a five-team meet Dec. 11 behind host Worthington Kilbourne (134.55) and UA (128.25).
Groves led the Comets by placing sixth in the all-around (32.05). Spring (ninth, 30.3), Redden (10th, 29.4) and Jennings (11th, 28.15) also fared well.
Boys basketball team looking for first win
The boys basketball team was 0-5 overall before playing Dublin Scioto on Dec. 17.
The Comets dropped to 0-2 in the OCC-Central after losing to Marysville 66-45 on Dec. 13. Senior guard Logan Green led with 15 points and three 3-pointers, and senior guard Matt Reed added nine points.
Central Crossing was playing without its leading scorer, senior post player Donovan Miller, who was averaging 12.5 points per game.
"Donovan bumped his head in practice and was going through the five-day concussion protocol," coach Neil Hohman said. "He's a big part of our offense so we need other people to step up when he's out."
Green was averaging 11.4 points, and senior guard/forward Tyler Ronevich was averaging 7.2.
Below are the coming schedules for the Central Crossing boys basketball, girls basketball and swimming & diving teams:
*Dec. 20 -- Home vs. Hilliard Davidson
*Dec. 20 -- At Davidson
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 21 -- Mount Vernon Small-School Invitational at Kenyon College