Whitehall-Yearling boys basketball coach Drew Williams not only stresses the importance of lessons on the court, but in life.

Moments after his team’s 55-44 loss to visiting Gahanna on Dec. 31, Williams combined the two teaching tools in his postgame speech.

After beginning the season 3-0, the Rams had lost three of four games before playing Grandview on Jan. 3. They responded by defeating the Bobcats 56-44, improving to 5-3 overall and 3-0 in the MSL-Ohio Division before playing Columbus Academy on Jan. 7.

Williams is hoping his motivational talks can help lead to a turnaround.

“I don’t like exactly where we’re at,” he said. “We’re in a unique place. We’re creating more offense for the other team when we generate more turnovers. We’re doing a lot of that. I like the kids that we have, but sometimes it takes a while to learn how to win and right now they don’t know how to do that. … We have to develop a winning culture.”

Kei’Von Wiggins scored 13 points and Josiah Mobley had 11 against Grandview.

The Rams visit Worthington Christian on Saturday, Jan. 11, for a league game and close the first half of MSL-Ohio play Jan. 17 against Buckeye Valley.

Williams again scheduled several big-school programs in hopes of preparing his team for the Division I district tournament, which begins Feb. 19.

The Rams play host to one of those squads, Reynoldsburg, on Tuesday, Jan. 14.

“We still have the league in front of us,” Williams said. “I feel we can compete against any team in the Central District if we take care of the fundamentals of the game, but until you value the fundamentals of the game, the game will cheat you.”

Whitehall led Gahanna, another Division I program, for most of the first half before the Lions rallied for a 26-all tie at halftime.

Gahanna took the lead for good early in the third quarter and extended its advantage to as many as 12 points.

Royal Sibley led the Rams with 13 points and Wiggins had 11.

“If we can just get one win on the bigger stage, we’ll turn the corner,” Williams said.

Whitehall played host to the inaugural Russ Gregg Holiday Classic on Dec. 27 and 28. The Rams defeated Linden-McKinley 56-51 on Dec. 27, and Sibley scored 17 points and Wiggins added 12 in a 73-56 loss to Cincinnati Taft on Dec. 28.

“We’re just trying to get better every game,” senior forward Amir Dallas said. “We want to get back on that winning streak. We need to step it up and get ready. We started off well, but now we’re relaxing. We just have to go harder, practice harder. … We want to win the league first and then win district and go to state. We need to buy into what coach is telling us.”

Girls basketball team ends losing streak

The girls basketball team is looking to get back on track after ending a four-game losing streak.

The Rams defeated London 65-59 on Jan. 2 and then beat Buckeye Valley 63-59 on Jan. 4 to improve to 5-1 in the MSL-Ohio.

Whitehall was 8-4 overall before playing Bloom-Carroll on Jan. 7. It had played the previous four games without leading scorer Alexia Mobley, who was out with a concussion suffered in a 53-51 loss to Worthington Christian on Dec. 20.

Jewel Watkins scored 24 points, Kiara Bagley had 23 and Kari Gullick added 10 against London.

Bagley scored 23 points, Watkins had 15 and Gullick and Selena Harvey each added 10 against Buckeye Valley. The Rams trailed 23-8 after one quarter, but outscored the Barons 25-8 in the fourth.

“Our team is going through a stage of allowing themselves to be uncomfortable so that we are comfortable when it counts for that district run,” coach Quentin Taylor said. “We’ve lost a few games to some really good programs and have been without our sharpshooter (Brooklynn Greer) since game three and our best scorer, rebounder (and) player (Mobley) for the last four games.

“I never forecasted losing two important players, but it gives the rest of the girls

time to find themselves and create a role for them to help in February.”

Greer has been out with a broken left wrist. She is expected to return later this month.

Wrestlers finish fifth at Groveport

The wrestling team finished fifth (133.5) in the eight-team Cruiser Invitational on Jan. 4 behind champion and host Groveport (230).

Shea Jordan (106 pounds) and Steven Fancelli (113) won titles and Damion Black (120) finished second.

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

Schedules

Below are the coming schedules for the Whitehall-Yearling boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling and wrestling teams:

BOYS BASKETBALL

*Jan. 11 – At Worthington Christian

Jan. 14 – Home vs. Reynoldsburg

GIRLS BASKETBALL

*Jan. 10 – Home vs. Bexley

*Jan. 14 – At Wellington

BOWLING

Jan. 11 – Holiday Baker Tournament at Holiday Lanes

*Jan. 15 – Reynoldsburg at Holiday Lanes

WRESTLING

Jan. 15 – Home vs. Utica

*League contest