Coaching boys and girls basketball at the varsity and junior varsity levels, Randy Patton entered his first season as girls coach at Westerville Central with 470 career wins.

He had to wait longer than he wanted for No. 471.

After beginning the season 0-7, the Warhawks defeated Mount Vernon 49-27 in the Phil Brown Classic on Dec. 27 at Otterbein for Patton's first win with the program.

"We've worked hard," Patton said. "I knew this was going to be a process and it still is and it still will be because we're so young. I knew we competed well in some games, but there's a difference between winning and losing and we hadn't been on the winning side until (Dec. 27)."

Mabinty Kebe led the Warhawks with 22 points. Kebe, who is the lone senior in the program, entered the season as the only player with significant varsity experience.

"We were going through a lot of stuff with a lot of our losses and this helped boost our confidence a little," Kebe said. "This hasn't been frustrating for me because coming into the season I knew what we were going to deal with. I just want to help the girls, so that's what I'm doing."

Patton said a total team effort led to the win, and he hopes the Warhawks build on the strong performance.

"We talked about sharing the basketball and defending as a group and good things will happen," he said. "That's what we've been working on in practice and I thought we passed the ball really well. I thought we defended as a group well. We shared the basketball and ran the floor a little bit, just a lot of the things that take time with a young group. I'm really happy for them."

Central returned to action Jan. 3, losing 51-22 to visiting Olentangy Liberty, and was 1-8 overall before playing Big Walnut on Jan. 7.

The Warhawks trailed just 14-9 after one quarter before the Patriots pulled away. Kebe scored a game-high 15 points.

Central is 0-4 in the OCC-Buckeye Division heading into its home game against Westerville South on Friday, Jan. 10. The Wildcats lead the league at 4-0 and have won 25 consecutive OCC contests.

The Warhawks have home contests against Columbus East on Saturday, Jan. 11, and Olentangy Berlin on Tuesday, Jan. 14. Those are games in which Patton hopes his team is competitive.

"We're taking a win when we can get a win and just make sure we keep our heads up and work hard," he said.

Central begins the second half of league play Jan. 17 at Westerville North. The Warhawks lost to the Warriors 46-32 on Dec. 6.

"We want to continue to build and do the things that we know we can do," Kebe said.

Boys basketball team prepares for key game

The boys basketball team enters its game against visiting South on Friday, Jan. 10, looking to take over sole possession of first place in the OCC-Buckeye.

The teams are tied for first at 3-1.

"That will be a fun game," coach Kevin Martin said. "They're good. You add the crosstown part of it to the game and it will be a high-level game. Both of us are really good defensively and they have a lot of guys who can put the ball in the basket. It will be a challenge, but that's what you play for."

Central was 7-2 overall before playing Big Walnut on Jan. 7.

Josh Wilhelm's 3-pointer with 15 seconds remaining lifted the Warhawks to a 54-52 win at Liberty on Jan. 3. Quincy Clark led Central with 16 points, including eight free throws in the fourth quarter, and Tasos Cook scored 15.

Clark scored 17 points in leading the Warhawks to a 51-38 win over Dresden Tri-Valley in the Phil Brown Classic on Dec. 27 at Otterbein.

Will LeMaire's 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds remaining in the second overtime helped Central defeat Olentangy 63-60 on Dec. 20.

"We had some good seniors (last season) who bought into what we were trying to do, but we knew the underclassmen that were going to be back had a chance to be pretty good and they're still learning," said Martin, who is in his second season. "The ultimate goal is to be competing at the top end of the division and we're doing that right now."

Wrestlers finish 10th at Scioto

The wrestling team finished 10th (82) in the 21-team Kevin Cleveland Memorial Tournament on Jan. 4 at Dublin Scioto behind champion Oregon Clay (248).

Gary Steele (145 pounds) and Isaiah Healy (182) each placed third to lead the Warhawks. David Javier (106) finished fourth and Xavier Allen (220) was fifth.

Wamsley dies after battle with cancer

Angela Wamsley, the wife of softball coach Brian Wamsley, died Dec. 31 after a long battle with cancer. She was 55.

"Her courage, strength and kindness will never be forgotten," her obituary read. "She portrayed her courage and strength by battling cancer for many years. She was the true definition of a fighter. She showed her kindness all through her life by always working to help others in any and every way she could."

Donations in her memory can be made to the American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org).

"I want to thank everyone for all their kind words and condolences for me and my children during this difficult time," Brian Wamsley said in a Facebook post. "This has been by far the most difficult thing I have ever been through and my heart is completely broken. Angela is truly the love of my life."

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

Schedules

Below are the coming schedules for the Central boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, gymnastics, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:

BOYS BASKETBALL

*Jan. 10 -- Home vs. Westerville South

Jan. 11 -- Home vs. Hilliard Davidson

Jan. 14 -- At Groveport

GIRLS BASKETBALL

*Jan. 10 -- Home vs. South

Jan. 11 -- Home vs. Columbus East

Jan. 14 -- Home vs. Olentangy Berlin

BOWLING

*Jan. 13 -- Berlin at Columbus Square Bowling Palace

*Jan. 14 -- Grandview at Sawmill Lanes

GYMNASTICS

Jan. 15 -- At Marysville with Grove City and Berlin

SWIMMING & DIVING

Jan. 11 -- Central Ohio Splash Invitational at Thomas Worthington

WRESTLING

*Jan. 9 -- Home vs. Westerville North

*League contest