Coach Megan Beidelman would like to see her Olentangy Berlin girls basketball team take some chances.
Although her players are afraid of making mistakes, testing new skills is one way to improve.
"I think we have a bunch of smart kids who don't want to make mistakes," Beidelman said. "A lot of them are perfectionists and they have trouble making mistakes. It's OK to make mistakes. You're not going to get better unless you push yourself to make mistakes and get better."
The Bears improved to 2-4 overall and 2-2 in the OCC-Cardinal Division by defeating Dublin Jerome 50-40 in overtime Dec. 13. They went 9-for-10 on free throws in the extra period.
Courtney Suchan scored 18 points and Maddie Goodman added 17 with three 3-pointers.
"Coach has been stressing how we play defense because a good defense will lead to a good offense," Goodman said. "We're getting better defensively and our offense will come. We need to stay focused."
Berlin lost to Hartley 62-50 on Dec. 11 as Goodman led with 20 points, Suchan had 18 and Gwynne Kiener added eight. The Bears trailed 10-9 after one quarter but Hartley surged ahead with a 20-2 run to take a 34-19 lead into halftime.
"Aggressive mistakes are not bad," Beidelman said. "Being lazy and throwing stupid passes, those are the things we have to cut out.
"You have to try new things and be aggressive. That will make everyone better around them. Don't be afraid to try a post move that we have been working on in practice. That's the only way you are going to get better."
The Bears are playing without their top scorer from last season in senior forward Jess Nation, who suffered an ACL tear in the offseason and hopes to return in February. The Colorado-Colorado Springs signee was second-team all-district and first-team all-league after leading Berlin in scoring (14.6 points) and rebounding (7.3).
"I think it's going to be an up-and-down season," Beidelman said. "We have kids playing new roles, and when you do that you have a lot of mistakes.
"We have to make a conscious choice every game to fight and not keep making the same mistakes but making aggressive mistakes. That's the only way you can get better."
Gymnasts ready for second season
The gymnastics team had two athletes qualify for state in its inaugural season, and coach Jen Hedrick expects even more this year.
Senior Olivia Boone finished 27th in the all-around (34.9) at state last winter, and junior Abby Marks finished 19th on uneven bars (8.8).
In the district meet, the Bears finished fourth (138.6) as Olentangy (139.65) took the third and final qualifying spot to state.
"I think we have the potential to be a really successful team," Hedrick said. "We have the same girls back, and a lot of them were working hard in the offseason."
Berlin had 11 gymnasts last winter and is up to 19 this season. Also returning are senior Demera Harrison, juniors Kennedy Jesenovec, Megan McGuire and Madison Nietfeld and sophomores Paige Dargatz, Alex Hinton and Elise Hedrick, the coach's daughter.
The Bears have seven freshmen, including Stephanie Balthaser, who could make an immediate impact.
"Paige Dargatz has worked extremely hard since last season so she has stepped up her game," Hedrick said. "Stephanie Balthaser is a big all-around performer for us and will likely be one of our top four scorers. She is home-schooled so she works out (at Central Ohio Gymnastics and Cheer) and also does high school practices."
Hedrick said her gymnasts also have been working out at RedLine Athletics in Delaware to improve their speed and agility.
"I think it can help them in their all-around performance to work on muscles and conditioning," she said. "They don't care for lifting (weights) so we're looking for other ways to help with their conditioning."
Robinson, Butcher lead swimmers at Ned Reeb
Brogan Robinson and Grace Butcher led the swimming and diving program in the Ned Reeb Invitational on Dec. 13 and 14 at Ohio State.
Robinson won the 500-yard freestyle (4 minutes, 42.47 seconds) and was third in the 200 individual medley (1:56.44) as the boys were 11th (110.5 points) behind champion Upper Arlington (459.5) as 35 teams scored.
Zach Lambert, Garrett Graybill, Ben Paull and Robinson were eighth in the 200 free relay (1:31.91) and ninth in the 200 medley relay (1:44.1).
Jack Delligatti, Daniel Petrowsky, Nathan Reynolds and Carson Reed were 18th in the 400 free relay (3:44.14).
Butcher was runner-up in the 100 breaststroke (1:03.97) and eighth in the 100 butterfly (58.28) as the girls were 13th (93) behind champion UA (383) as 41 teams scored.
Butcher also joined Staci Nation, Audrey Butcher and Callista Rousher on the 18th-place 200 free relay (1:43.21).
Nation placed eighth in the 200 IM (2:13.2) and 19th in the 100 fly (1:00.72). Ava First was 14th in the 100 breast (1:08.83), and Audrey Butcher placed 20th in the 100 fly (1:02.03).
Berlin searching for boys volleyball coach
Dana Stearns has resigned after one season leading the boys volleyball team. The Bears finished 3-19 overall and 1-13 in the OCC-Cardinal last year.
Stearns also is girls volleyball coach and will focus on that program. The girls finished 4-19 overall and 2-12 in the OCC-Cardinal this fall.
Below are the coming schedules for the Berlin boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, hockey, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Dec. 20 -- At Hilliard Darby
*Dec. 20 -- Home vs. Darby
Dec. 21 -- Westerville North at Mount Vernon Nazarene
*Dec. 19 -- Marysville at Delaware Lanes
Dec. 20 -- Watterson in Kent Roosevelt Rough Riders Tournament at Kent State
Dec. 21 -- Hudson Western Reserve and Roosevelt in Roosevelt Rough Riders Tournament
Dec. 22 -- TBD in Roosevelt Rough Riders Tournament
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 21 -- Berlin Invitational at Ohio Wesleyan
*Dec. 19 -- Home vs. Hilliard Bradley
Dec. 21 -- Berlin Duals