Heath Goolsby continues to see improvement from the Columbus School for Girls basketball team in his second season leading the program.
The Unicorns were 5-6 overall and 2-6 in the MSL-Ohio Division before playing Buckeye Valley on Jan. 14. According to Goolsby, the players have done a good job of maneuvering through a difficult schedule.
"I think going into the season that if you told me that we would be 5-5 after 10 games, I would be pleased, especially with our schedule and the new league that we're in where we play everyone twice," he said. "I think even though the CCL is a tough league, (the MSL-Ohio) can be pretty tough with teams like Worthington Christian and Whitehall and Buckeye Valley."
CSG lost to Worthington Christian 73-34 on Jan. 10 after falling to the Warriors 49-32 on Nov. 26.
"We improved from the first time we played Worthington Christian, but so have they," Goolsby said.
"It's hard to tell by the difference in the score. We only lost by 19 the first time, but we played well. A game like this is good because (the players) get to see the speed and we get to play the defense we want to play against the highest level within our league."
Senior post player Veronica Ross led the Unicorns with eight points and Ellen Monahan and Eva Nicolosi both scored seven. Emma Spangler and Lauren Sloan added six and five points, respectively.
"I think we have strong leadership and a lot of strength in numbers," Nicolosi said. "We have multiple ball-handlers and multiple (post players) who are talented. It's nice to have more people who can handle the ball.
"I think we are really strong on defense, mainly because we're very aggressive. We need to work on rebounding, but we're very good with communication."
Goolsby is pleased with the defensive effort put forth by his players.
"Our defense has always been our strong point," he said.
"I have stressed defense from the first day I got on the job because we want extra possessions. We don't have girls who play year-round like a lot of the programs we play. Because of that reason, we need extra shot attempts at the basket in order to compete night in and night out."
CSG just has 10 players, but that allows Goolsby to give his junior varsity players some playing time at the varsity level.
"This is one of the rare nights that we had a j.v. game for two quarters," Goolsby said following the loss to Worthington Christian on Jan. 10. "The girls get a chance to play some quality varsity minutes that they normally wouldn't play in any other year or on any other team.
"That helps the freshmen and sophomore girls who are playing four minutes at the varsity level. They are getting to see that varsity speed because the ball is moving so much faster than it does at the j.v. level."
While Goolsby is pleased with his team's defensive effort, he would like to see improved play on the offensive end of the court.
"I would like to improve our speed on offense," he said. "I like our speed, our effort and our intensity on defense, but we're trying to transfer that to the offensive side. I see it from one or two girls, but we play our best when all five are on the same page."
Funderburke sets mark at Northeast Classic
Nyah Funderburke of the swimming and diving team set the program record in the 100-yard backstroke in the Northeast Classic that concluded Jan. 11 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
The junior won the event in 55.16 seconds, breaking her own record of 55.38 set earlier in the day during the preliminaries.
She also was runner-up in the 100 butterfly (55.94) to help the Unicorns tie Watterson for seventh (118 points) behind champion New Albany (311.5) as 44 teams scored.
Funderburke also was on a pair of placing relays, teaming with Ava Fortney, Jordan Aurnou-Rhees and Olivia Morse on the runner-up 200 medley relay (1:46.64) and joining Riley Murphy, Julianne Aslaner and Fortney on the 16th-place 400 freestyle relay (3:44.74).
Also in the Northeast Classic, Aurnou-Rhees placed second in the 200 free (1:51.42) and third in the 100 fly (55.94) and was a member of the 11th-place 200 free relay (1:41.45) with Morse, Cosette Persall and Murphy, and Fortney finished 24th in both the 100 breaststroke (1:10.83) and 100 free (55.62).
Below are the coming schedules for the Columbus School for Girls basketball and swimming & diving teams:
*Jan. 18 -- At Whitehall. The Unicorns lost to the Rams 63-26 on Dec. 6.
Jan. 21 -- At New Hope Christian
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 17 -- Home vs. Thomas Worthington and Worthington Kilbourne
Jan. 18 -- Columbus Academy and Olentangy Liberty at St. Charles