The Whitehall-Yearling boys basketball team is moving closer to its first outright MSL-Ohio Division title since the 2015-16 season.
The Rams were 11-6 overall and 7-1 in the league before playing Grandview on Feb. 4. They entered the week in first place, ahead of Buckeye Valley and Worthington Christian (both 5-3) and Grandview and Wellington (both 5-4).
"This stretch right now is critical if we want to win the league," coach Drew Williams said. "I'm not interested in sharing. I want to win it outright, so our focus is one game at a time."
After the Grandview game, the Rams will have three league games remaining. They play host to Columbus Academy on Saturday, Feb. 8, looking to avenge a 55-54 loss on Jan. 7.
"With Academy, coach (Jeff Warstler) gets the best out of what he has," Williams said. "We lost to them, so enough said as far as that's concerned."
Whitehall then plays host to Worthington Christian on Tuesday, Feb. 11, looking for a season sweep of the Warriors after winning 48-40 on Jan. 11.
"Worthington Christian is one of the better teams in the league," Williams said. "That's a dangerous game."
The Rams close league play Feb. 14 at Buckeye Valley.
In 2015-16, Whitehall finished 13-1 in the league for its third consecutive championship. It shared the title with Grandview in the 2017-18 season at 8-2.
The Rams received a balanced scoring performance in an 89-67 win at Wellington on Jan. 29. Josiah Mobley scored 19 points, Royal Sibley had 16, Kei'Von Wiggins scored 13, Teddy Brown had 12 and Charles Miller added 10.
Mobley scored 23 points, Amir Dallas and Sibley each had 14 and Miller added 13 in a 102-48 win over visiting Toledo Scott on Feb. 1.
"We're trending in the right direction and the play is better," Williams said. "The efficiency is better. I really like what they're doing right now."
The Division I district tournament draw is Sunday, Feb. 9.
Girls basketball team earns key league win
The girls basketball team earned a key MSL-Ohio win by defeating host Worthington Christian 45-44 on Feb. 1.
The Rams, who avenged a 53-51 loss to the Warriors on Dec. 20, were 14-5 overall and first in the league at 11-1 before playing Bexley on Feb. 4.
Whitehall closes league play Friday, Feb. 7, against visiting Buckeye Valley.
In the rematch against Worthington Christian, which is 11-2 in the league, Whitehall erased a 16-7 deficit in the second quarter with an 18-0 run.
Worthington Christian rallied for a 32-31 lead early in the fourth before the Rams answered with a 10-0 run for a 41-32 lead with 4 minutes, 40 seconds remaining.
Jewel Watkins had a key offensive rebound and free throw in the final minute to help preserve the win.
Kiara Bagley and Kari Gullick each scored 13 points to lead Whitehall. It was a season high for Gullick.
The Rams are seeded third for the Division II district tournament and play host to 16th-seeded Linden-McKinley in the first round Feb. 17.
"This season has been great," coach Quentin Taylor said.
"There's still a lot of season left. One thing about me, we just don't look forward to the regular season. I have to make it in that (district) tournament."
Bowling teams compete in MSL-Ohio tourney
The boys and girls bowling teams competed in the MSL-Ohio tournament Feb. 1 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
The boys finished first (3,547) during pool play, ahead of Grandview (3,437), before losing to Buckeye Valley 3-1 in a best-of-five Baker series semifinal.
Worthington Christian defeated Buckeye Valley 3-2 in the final.
Elias Rozzelle (561 series) and Alexander Scott (527) earned first-team all-league honors, and Nathan McGrath (470) and David Sattler (463) were second-team all-league.
The girls finished fourth (2,633) in pool play, behind first-place Worthington Christian (3,193), but defeated the Warriors 3-1 in a semifinal.
Whitehall then lost to Buckeye Valley 3-0 in the final.
Jessica Gress (464) and Kamdon Pauley (454) were first-team all-league.
Below are the coming schedules for the Whitehall-Yearling boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling and wrestling teams:
*Feb. 8 -- Home vs. Columbus Academy. The Rams lost to the Vikings 55-54 on Jan. 7.
*Feb. 11 -- Home vs Worthington Christian. The Rams defeated the Warriors 48-40 on Jan. 11.
*Feb. 7 -- Home vs. Buckeye Valley. The Rams defeated the Barons 63-59 on Jan. 4.
Feb. 12 -- New Albany at Holiday Lanes
Feb. 13 -- At Mount Gilead with Sparta Highland