Before a match against Grandview on Jan. 7 at Sawmill Lanes, the members of the Watterson girls bowling team met for a closed-door meeting inside the alley.
The Eagles talked about continually supporting one another throughout a season that has a lot of potential.
Watterson then turned in one of its best scores of the season that day, edging the Bobcats 1,726-1,723.
"We're off to a great start," senior Isabelle Payton said. "We're all improving really well and we all are pretty good at supporting each other and doing team bonding. We (talked during the team meeting) about what cheers we wanted to do for each other."
Watterson was 9-1 overall and 6-1 in the COHSBC-D Division before matches against Beechcroft on Jan. 13 at Sequoia Pro Bowl and Independence on Jan. 15 at Sawmill Lanes.
The Eagles are 3-1 against CCL teams and will compete against DeSales on Friday, Jan. 17, at Capri Lanes. Their only loss through 10 matches came Dec. 11, when they fell to Hartley 1,551-1,540 at Holiday Lanes.
Payton has emerged as one of the top bowlers in the COHSBC, averaging 172.0 pins before Jan. 13.
Juniors Rachel Reuter and Christina Rose and sophomore Joy Packard all were averaging between 133 and 134 through 10 matches and juniors Madison Shaw and Chloe Forrest also have been key contributors.
Watterson avenged the loss to Hartley with a 1,646-985 win over the Hawks on Dec. 19, as Payton rolled a 205 in her first game for what was her season-best game through 10 matches.
"It's definitely been going better than last year," Payton said. "I've definitely improved from last year. Stepping into the role of captain has put a lot of pressure on me, but I feel like I'm more focused than last year."
Boys bowling team shows improvement
The boys bowling team put together its best score of the season through 10 matches in a 1,611-1,255 win over Africentric on Jan. 6.
The Eagles were 3-7 overall and 3-6 in the COHSBC-D before matches against Beechcroft on Jan. 13 and Independence on Jan. 15.
Against the Nubians, sophomore Jack Kish bowled a 346 two-game series, followed by senior Jacob Garland (307) and sophomores Peter Assaf (265) and Quinn Brown (260).
Kish had a team-best 150.6 average through 10 matches, followed by Garland (148.3).
Sophomore Gavin Lewis and freshman James McMonagle also have contributed.
"The boys are starting to pick it up," coach Jerry Wagner said. "It's taken (Kish) a year-and-a-half of learning the two-hand function and he'll catch on. Peter started bowling well last year and we'll straighten him out. Jacob, our senior, is a good kid."
Boys basketball team preps for Stallions
The boys basketball team will get a shot at avenging its first CCL loss of the season when it plays host to DeSales on Friday, Jan. 17.
On Dec. 6, the Eagles got 19 points from junior forward Davis Boone and 11 from junior guard Gavin Greene but lost to the Stallions 63-50.
Watterson improved to 1-3 in the CCL with a 34-28 win over Hartley 34-28 on Jan. 10 and is 7-6 overall after defeating Marysville 65-42 on Jan. 11.
"I feel like we're making progress as a team and understanding some things that we need to get accomplished to be successful, but we have one thing that's been killing us so far and continues to more than anything else, and that's turning the ball over," coach Vince Lombardo said.
Watterson entered the season with a group of players expected to take on key ball-handling roles who had limited varsity experience, including Greene and fellow classmates Jake Hoying, Noah Gruver and Nick Malagreca.
Boone had 19 points and Gruver scored 10 but the Eagles committed 22 turnovers in a 44-37 league loss to Ready on Jan. 3.
Boone is averaging 12 points and senior wing player Mike Bruzzese is averaging 10.5.
Senior wing player Chris Crane, senior forward Mason Graney, senior guard Sam Intihar, junior forward Noah Grayem and sophomore post player Gilbert Oduro also have filled key roles.
Watterson beat Mansfield St. Peter's 62-25 on Jan. 4 as Boone and Bruzzese both scored 10 points. It's the lowest point total the Eagles have allowed this season.
"Guys are starting to play some really tough defense," Lombardo said. "We're getting better in a number of areas, but until we conquer this turnover bug, winning's going to be tough.
"We don't score easily and we have to really do a good job of working the basketball to get good looks and maximize our possessions. That's where the turnovers are really hurting us."
Below are the coming schedules for the Watterson boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, hockey, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 17 -- Home vs. DeSales. The Eagles lost to the Stallions 63-50 on Dec. 6.
Jan. 18 -- At Olentangy Orange
*Jan. 16 -- Home vs. DeSales
Jan. 18 -- Cleveland St. Joseph at Hartley in Battle at the Hawks Nest
*Jan. 17 -- DeSales at Capri Lanes. The boys lost to the Stallions 1,873-1,517 and the girls beat the Stallions 1,750-1,493 on Dec. 13.
*Jan. 21 -- Eastmoor Academy at Sawmill Lanes
*Jan. 22 -- Mifflin at HP Lanes
Jan. 17-20 -- TBA in Big Bear Tournament in Ann Arbor, Mich.
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 17 -- DeSales and Canal Winchester at Mount Carmel Fitness & Health
Jan. 21 -- At Columbus Academy
*Jan. 16 -- At Columbus Academy
Jan. 18 -- Ron Thomas Sr. Invitational at Jonathan Alder
Jan. 22 -- At Whetstone