Maddy Young is soloing at the controls this season for a young Bexley girls basketball team.
The 5-foot-3 junior has been a steadying force at point guard for the Lions, who often feature a lineup of Young and a combination of freshmen and sophomores.
During the previous two seasons, Young was able to share point-guard responsibilities with 2019 graduate Maddy Vincent, but now she has the key role all to herself.
"This year, it's a different vibe," said Young, whose team was 4-8 overall and 3-3 in the MSL-Ohio Division before playing Columbus Academy on Jan. 14. "This year, I'm taking more responsibility bringing up the ball and handling the pressure. It's much more tiring only having one primary ball-handler.
"I think my job is to facilitate and distribute the ball and pretty much bring my team together. I have to be the glue. I need to be a vocal leader and set things up."
First-year coach Brycen Baugh said Young's play has had a "calming effect" on her teammates.
"She brings the ball down the court and gets us in our offense, and she's also our best shooter," he said. "She gets everyone in their comfort zone. They feel more comfortable with her on the floor."
The Lions found that out when Young rolled her right ankle early in the third quarter of a 53-36 league victory over Grandview on Dec. 14. She missed the next two games -- a 40-29 loss to Bloom-Carroll on Dec. 17 and a 32-19 league win over Columbus School for Girls on Dec. 20. That allowed sophomore Grace Heilman to work in more at the point.
"We really felt that in the two games she missed with a twisted ankle," Baugh said. "We weren't as cohesive and something was missing, and that was Maddy.
"She can bring the ball down court against pressure. We're in a little bit of a new offense, but she uses her experience to get the ball down court."
Young said it was the first time she had been sidelined by injury, but it gave her a new perspective on the game.
"I definitely learned how much of an impact I can not only make on the court but also on the bench," she said. "I kind of saw a different perspective on the bench. I became even more vocal.
"I have become more of a leader and more confident in myself. I was a little nervous going into games, but now I know what I'm doing and I'm more vocal on the court, too."
Through 11 games, Young was averaging a team-high 9.2 points along with 3.3 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.2 assists. She led the Lions in 3-point shooting at 31.9 percent (15-for-47) and with a free-throw percentage of 76.9 (10-for-13).
Young was in the starting lineup from the opening game of her freshman season and has continued to gain confidence and skills.
"Starting as a freshman is definitely nerve-racking," said Young, who was honorable mention all-district in Division II and second-team all-league last season after averaging 9.4 points, 3.4 assists and 1.4 steals. "It's a lot faster pace than I expected, but I got used to it pretty quickly from having to be in a lot of games."
Her experience benefits the Lions, especially when it comes to breaking full-court pressure.
"Maddy can get the ball (up the) court and get us set up in the multiple sets that we run," Baugh said. "She's not tall, and (opponents) like to trap her, but she is able to stay out of the trap zones and get the ball to her teammates."
Boys team beats Bloom-Carroll
The boys basketball team snapped a two-game losing streak by defeating Bloom-Carroll 47-33 on Jan. 10.
Damian Davis scored 21 points to lead Bexley, which improved to 3-10 overall. Chris Mitchell and Cade Phillips had nine points apiece.
The Lions dropped to 0-5 in the MSL-Ohio with a 54-33 loss to Grandview on Jan. 7. Davis had 10 points and Mitchell and Phillips both added nine.
Wrestling team splits home dual
The wrestling team won one dual and lost another at home Jan. 9.
The Lions defeated Hamilton Township 45-38, but lost to Hartley 54-15.
Blake Brenner (120 pounds) and Carter Brenner (138) both went 2-0, and Noah Lyons (160) and Anthony Samson (182/195) both went 1-1.
Below are the coming schedules for the Bexley boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 17 -- At Wellington
*Jan. 21 -- Home vs. Whitehall. The Lions lost to the Rams 57-37 on Dec. 7.
*Jan. 18 -- At Worthington Christian. The Lions lost to the Warriors 39-26 on Dec. 6.
*Jan. 21 -- At Columbus Academy
*Jan. 17 -- Marion-Franklin at Holiday Lanes
Jan. 19 -- 2020 Winter Shootout at HP Lanes
*Jan. 22 -- Northland at Holiday Lanes
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 17 -- Columbus Academy Invitational
Jan. 18 -- Bloom-Carroll, Centennial and Johnstown at Columbus School for Girls
Jan. 17-18 -- Licking Heights Invitational