The Worthington Kilbourne girls basketball team has buried last year's disappointing finish of 10-13 overall and 5-9 in the OCC-Cardinal Division.
In her first season as coach, Stephanie Jones had led the Wolves to a record of 13-5 overall before playing Logan on Jan. 29. They are 9-2 in the OCC-Cardinal -- one game behind first-place Hilliard Bradley -- with three games to play and the Division I district tournament draw approaching Sunday, Feb. 2.
While the team as a whole has played well to reach this point, 5-foot-7 sophomore guard Lauren Scott and 5-8 senior guard/forward Jackie Wolford have been at the forefront of the turnaround.
Scott was averaging a team-high 16.3 points and shooting 33 percent from 3-point range through 15 games.
"Lauren is a tremendous student-athlete," Jones said. "Her work ethic is through the roof. She does not settle for being outworked. Lauren shows a lot of grit in every practice and every game. She is an exciting player to coach and watch."
Scott has had numerous double-digit scoring games and several highlight-worthy performances, including a 24-point effort in a 57-46 win over Dublin Scioto on Jan. 3 and a 28-point outing in a 47-35 win over Hilliard Darby on Jan. 24.
Scott credits several factors for her scoring ability, including the offensive scheme. She said the Wolves are moving the ball a lot better this year.
"In general, we've kind of looked to push the ball more," she said. "We're playing a faster style of basketball, and I think when everybody's buying into that, nobody can stop us. So we just have to commit to that and I think it's been working."
She also credits having a year of experience under her belt, in addition to the extra work she and her teammates contributed during the offseason.
"I think it's been a mixture of both," she said. "The faster pace obviously lends to transition points, which looks good in the stat book. But obviously, I think you have to put in work in the offseason to make that kind of jump. So I think I really did work hard, and hopefully it's showing. But as a team I think we really did as well."
Jones said she expected this kind of season from Scott.
"Lauren spends a lot of time in the offseason working on her game, so I knew she was going to take her game to the next level from her freshman year," Jones said. "Lauren's game improves weekly both offensively and defensively. Her grit and toughness will not settle for anything other than greatness. Her offensive and defensive game will continue to grow because of that."
While Scott has lent a lot on the scoring front, Wolford has provided experience and leadership.
Jones said Wolford also has grown into an all-around player. In particular, she said Wolford has become more of an offensive threat and has demonstrated an ability to hit mid-range jump shots and shots from 3-point range, and is one of the most vocal players on the floor.
"In the last couple weeks Jackie has really stepped up her game," Jones said. "All in all, Jackie has taken her game to the next level both offensively and defensively."
Wolford also has carved out a role as a leader.
"?Jackie is a tremendous leader on and off the court," Jones said. "She is a three-sport athlete, involved in the community and a fantastic student. Her leadership qualities extend way outside of the basketball team. She is the type of leader that all coaches hope to have in their program. She is our glue that holds the team together."
While Scott and Wolford have been key cogs for the Wolves this season, Jones also highlighted the contributions of other players, including 5-8 sophomore guard Celeste Sloma and 5-5 junior point guard Amya Harris.
"(Harris) has taken her overall game to the next level this year," Jones said. "She pushes the tempo, she attacks, she plays defense, she rebounds and she finds her teammates on the offensive end. Amya has played a big role in our success so far this season."
Sloma has as well.
"Celeste is a smart player and plays great defense for us," Jones said. "We talk a lot about turning defensive stops into points on the offensive end and Celeste creates many of those opportunities for us."
Schupp delivers for boys basketball team
Junior Ian Schupp scored a career-high 25 points to lead the boys basketball team to a 45-38 victory over Darby on Jan. 24.
Schupp's performance included going 11-for-13 from the free-throw line.
The Wolves snapped a three-game losing streak that saw them fall 49-29 to Bradley on Jan. 21, 57-48 to Dublin Jerome on Jan. 17 and 66-35 to Thomas on Jan. 10.
Before the loss to Thomas, the Wolves had won five in a row.
Kilbourne is 9-7 overall and 4-6 in the OCC-Cardinal.
Swimmers compete in league meet
The girls swimming and diving team placed fourth in the OCC-Cardinal meet Jan. 26 at Kenyon College, while the boys team turned in some solid performances.
The girls scored 273 points to finish behind Jerome (499), Olentangy Berlin (361) and Delaware (315) and ahead of Thomas (185), Bradley (157), Darby (145) and Scioto (54).
Nanami Campbell placed second in the 200-yard freestyle (2 minutes, 0.5 of a second) and 100 free (54.85). Paige Delma was second in the 200 individual medley (2:13.8) and 100 breaststroke (1:09.49), and Lauren Richner was second in the 50 free (25.24).
Evie DeCarlo placed third in the 100 breast (1:09.81).
The 200 free relay of Delma, Campbell, Richner and DeCarlo was second (1:42.82), and the 200 medley relay of Richner, Delma, Campbell and DeCarlo finished third (1:53.37).
The boys scored 168 points to place seventh behind Jerome (543.5), Darby (328), Berlin (257), Thomas (240), Delaware (180) and Scioto (179.5) and ahead of Bradley (69).
The 200 medley relay of Christopher Richner, John Cuozzo, Aaron Chen and Connor O'Brien finished fifth (1:49.94) and Michael Richardson placed fourth in diving (270.35).
Below are the coming schedules for the Kilbourne boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, gymnastics, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 31 -- At Dublin Scioto. The Wolves defeated the Irish 56-45 on Jan. 3
*Feb. 4 -- At Delaware. The Wolves lost to the Pacers 59-51 on Dec. 20.
*Jan. 31 -- Home vs. Scioto. The Wolves defeated the Irish 57-46 on Jan. 3.
*Feb. 4 -- Home vs. Delaware. The Wolves defeated the Pacers 58-49 on Dec. 20.
*Jan. 30 -- Delaware at Capri Lanes
*Jan. 31 -- Thomas at Capri Lanes
Feb. 4 -- Big Walnut at Capri Lanes
Feb. 1 -- Win the Day Invitational at Cincinnati Anderson
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 31 -- Kilbourne and Watterson at home
*Jan. 30 -- Home vs. Olentangy Berlin