Olentangy Orange boys basketball coach Anthony Calo anticipated that his team would suffer growing pains as a result of having an inexperienced roster.
However, for the most part, he likes what he has seen thus far from the Pioneers.
"We lost some key pieces (from last year), but I have confidence in the guys we have," said Calo, whose team was 7-2 overall before playing Hilliard Davidson on Jan. 7. "We're doing well, but we could be doing better than we're doing.
"We have been inconsistent. We're very capable, and I want us to get to our maximum level. We're not where I believe we can (be)."
The Pioneers had won three games in a row and six of seven before playing the Wildcats. They defeated Dublin Jerome 51-46 in the Stephen Gussler Memorial Tournament on Dec. 27 at Thomas Worthington behind 14 points from junior post player Jason Foster and 11 points from junior guard Andre Irvin.
Foster is a transfer from Northland.
"The guys have made it like a home for me and making the move easier," Foster said. "We're playing good defense, but we could be better. We're still putting the pieces together on offense, but when we put it all together, we could be a scary team."
Irvin was averaging a team-high 14.9 points through nine contests, followed by senior guard Ryan Cutler (14.1) and Foster (13.1).
"Consistency is the big thing as well as valuing the basketball," Calo said. "We're guard-oriented, but we're still sloppy with the basketball.
"This is based on what we're capable of. I'm being hard on us. I want us to be at a maximum level, and we're not there yet."
Orange improved to 2-2 in the OCC-Buckeye Division by beating host Olentangy 61-59 on Jan. 3. Irvin led the way with 23 points, followed by Foster with 14 points and Cutler with 12.
"I think this has the potential to be the best defensive team we have ever had, but at times we have been inconsistent," Calo said. "At times, we have been fantastic, and other times we don't have enough urgency.
"If we have five guys playing hard consistently and five guys rebounding to finish possessions consistently, it could be a fantastic season. We need five guys consistent with their effort."
Wrestlers fare well in home event
The boys and girls wrestling teams fared well in their home Pioneer Classic on Jan. 4.
The boys team won the 11-team event with 225.5 points, finishing ahead of runner-up Carey (104).
Tristan Bluntschly (195 pounds), Idell Ferguson (106), Geoffrey Kaminski (220), Connor Kemmerling (heavyweight), Keegan Knapp (132), Ian Krider (145) and Zack Miller (138) all were champions and Luke Behre (113) was runner-up.
Cole Benjamin (126), Isaac Campbell (220) and Brandon Fedio (182) placed third, and Jack Almond (160), Dylan Dempsey (182), Jack Evans (220), Joe Ritterspach (126) and Nathan Westinghouse (120) all finished fourth.
The girls team finished second (125) of 24 teams, behind Casstown Miami East (141).
Anna Grabau (143), Emily McManus (116) and Talia Mitchell (189) all were runners-up, Natalia Muntanola (131) placed third and Ayla Castin (111), Emily Duval (101), Ashley Graham (170), Lexi Simmons (106), Alayna Smith (160) and Christy Wingert (121) all finished fourth.
"They haven't (held the Pioneer Classic) in four years, and it's the first time girls have had their own tournament," Grabau said. "It's your home turf. You know the mats and what to expect. It's mainly your crowd here watching you.
"(Coach Brian Nicola) said to get amped because it's the first girls tournament. No matter if you win or lose, you need to make sure you go out there and give it your all."
Girls basketball team seeks more victories
The girls basketball team was 1-10 overall before playing Davidson on Jan. 7.
Jordan Sullivan had nine points and Kayla Delmore scored eight in a 53-38 loss to Olentangy on Jan. 3 that dropped the Pioneers to 1-4 in the OCC-Buckeye. Ellie Beck and Emma Delmore both added six points.
Below are the coming schedules for the Orange boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, gymnastics, hockey, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 10 -- Home vs. Westerville North
*Jan. 10 -- Home vs. North. The Pioneers lost to the Warriors 74-32 on Dec. 3.
Jan. 14 -- Home vs. Grove City
*Jan. 10 -- Westerville South at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
*Jan. 14 -- Marysville at Dragon Lanes
*Jan. 15 -- Teays Valley at Wane Webb's Columbus Bowl
Jan. 10 -- Delaware Invitational at Marion Coliseum
*Jan. 10 -- Olentangy at Chiller North
Jan. 11 -- Upper Arlington at Chiller North
*Jan. 12 -- Cincinnati Moeller at Northland Ice Center
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 11 -- Hilliard/Olentangy Challenge at Hilliard YMCA and Northeast Classic at Branin Natatorium in Canton
*Jan. 9 -- Home vs. Liberty