In his first season coaching the Columbus Academy boys basketball team in 2012-13, Jeff Warstler's 10-year-old son, Carter, shot baskets in the auxiliary gym during home games instead of watching his father guide the Vikings.
That dedication helped lead Carter, now a senior, to a standout prep career in which he has excelled on both ends of the floor for Academy.
"We would get home and he would ask me, 'Did you win?' " Jeff said. "When I took the job, I thought how many guys actually get the opportunity to coach their son. (Former athletics director) Dominic (Facciolla) and I talked about that pretty clearly at that time. It's been really special. I'm not a super emotional guy, but it's starting to get to me a little bit.
"By the time he is done, he'll be over 90 varsity games that he's played, and I got to coach all of those. He's been a warrior for four years. He's been a heck of a basketball player for us."
Carter, a 6-foot guard, credits his father for helping to ignite his passion for the game and his development in the sport.
"I never really thought about having my dad as a coach, but it's coming to an end," he said. "I never really had to think about it ending until now. We're a month away from it and it's really starting to hit me."
Led by Carter, the Vikings are preparing for what they hope is a long run in the Division III postseason, which begins Feb. 25.
Academy improved to 7-10 overall with a 59-57 win over Hudson Western Reserve Academy on Feb. 1 at home. Carter scored 19 points and Daniel Farber added 12.
The Vikings fell to 3-6 in the MSL-Ohio Division with a 61-45 loss to visiting Wellington on Jan. 31. Tanner Compton led with 15 points.
Compton scored 22 points in a 53-41 loss to visiting Watkins Memorial on Jan. 29.
Through 16 games, Carter led the team in scoring, averaging 16.6 points.
He helped the Vikings reach a district final last season before losing to Harvest Prep 71-67 to finish 20-5 overall.
Academy won its first outright MSL-Ohio title since 2008, finishing 6-2 in the league. It shared the league title in 2012.
Carter, who was named second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district a year ago, joined the varsity team early in his freshman season.
Along with being a key contributor on offense, he is one of the team's top defenders.
"Defensively, he's been unbelievable for us," Jeff said.
Both said they always have had a strong father-son relationship on and off the court, but admit it has been tested at times.
"We've had our hard times here and there, but those are really small in comparison to what a pleasure and what a privilege it's been for me to have this opportunity," Jeff said.
"I've probably said things over time that I wouldn't say to other guys and he knows that."
Carter also was a standout on the football field for Academy. Last season, he was named first-team all-state and all-district in Division V and shared MSL-Ohio Back of the Year honors with Grandview's Luke Lachey. He finished with 54 catches for 611 yards and nine touchdowns and rushed for 324 yards and three scores on 37 carries.
While successful in football during his prep career, basketball is his passion.
"I've always loved basketball more," said Carter, who will play in college at Wooster, a Division III program.
Jeff expects to make the 90-minute drive to Wooster to watch several of his son's home games next season while also continuing to guide the Vikings.
"I'll be supporting and watching him whenever I can," Jeff said.
Girls basketball team drops close contest
The girls basketball team came up short in a 41-38 loss at Buckeye Valley on Feb. 1 to fall to 3-10 in MSL-Ohio play.
Sophie Spolter led the Vikings with 18 points, followed by Kayla McClendon with 12.
Claudia Warstler scored 10 points in a 35-21 win over visiting Harvest Prep on Jan. 30.
McClendon scored 21 points and Spolter added 16 in an 81-42 loss to Whitehall on Jan. 28 at home.
The Vikings were 7-11 overall before playing Patriot Prep on Feb. 4.
Academy is seeded 14th for the Division III district tournament and will open against eighth-seeded North Union or 15th-seeded Fredericktown in the second round Feb. 22.
Bowling teams compete in league tournament
The boys and girls bowling teams competed in the MSL-Ohio tournament Feb. 1 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
The girls finished fifth (2,323) of six teams in pool play behind first-place Worthington Christian (3,193). Evelyn Olexio (378 series), Gianna Bates (371) and Kaitlyn Turley (355) led Academy and earned honorable mention all-league honors.
Buckeye Valley went on to defeat Whitehall 3-0 in the best-of-five Baker series final.
The boys finished sixth (2,884) of six teams behind first-place Whitehall (3,547). Vincent White (417) and Donovan Simpson (393) were honorable mention all-league.
Worthington Christian defeated Buckeye Valley 3-2 in the Baker series final.
Below are the coming schedules for the Academy boys basketball, girls basketball, hockey, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Feb. 8 -- At Whitehall. The Vikings defeated the Rams 55-54 on Jan. 7.
*Feb. 11 -- Home vs Buckeye Valley. The Vikings lost to the Barons 61-47 on Jan. 11.
*Feb. 7 -- Home vs. Worthington Christian. The Vikings lost to the Warriors 60-44 on Jan. 4.
Feb. 11 -- At Northridge
*Feb. 7 -- Watterson at Chiller Easton
*Feb. 9 -- Cincinnati St. Xavier at Chiller Easton
SWIMMING & DIVING
Feb. 8 -- Division II sectional at home. Winner of each swimming event and 27 at-large qualifiers in each event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectional sites advance to district Feb. 12 at Ohio State. There is no diving at sectional.
Feb. 8 -- Sixth-seeded Zoarville Tuscarawas Valley in Division III, Region 21 team dual tournament at Mapleton. Winner faces third-seeded Marion Pleasant in quarterfinal. Semifinals and final will be later that day. Regional champion advances to state Feb. 16 at Ohio State. The Vikings are seeded 11th.
Feb. 12 -- Home vs. Caledonia River Valley, Grandview and Morral Ridgedale