Olentangy boys basketball coach John Feasel had something to learn when he took over the team before the 2016-17 season.
Will Elmore was a senior forward for the Braves that year, but addressing him in practice wasn't as easy as just saying his last name, considering that one of his younger brothers, Jake, was a freshman in the program at the time and the other, Luke, was in eighth grade but occasionally hung around the varsity.
"I kept calling them 'Elmore' and the three of them would look at me, so I called Will 'Elmore,' Jake 'Elwood' and Luke 'Elroy,'" Feasel said. "The oldest one earned (being called by) his (actual) name. They work their butts off. The only problem is they're tall, skinny kids. We need to get more muscle on them."
Will had a bulkier 6-foot-1 frame while Jake, who plays guard and is now a senior, is the same height and Luke, who is now a junior, is a rangy 6-2 guard who expects to grow another two inches.
The younger Elmore brothers are making their mark this season for the Braves, as Jake averaged 11.6 points through 19 games and Luke comes off the bench largely for his defense.
Olentangy is 8-12 overall and 2-7 in the OCC-Buckeye Division after beating host Orange 54-51 on Feb. 7.
Jake Elmore was second on the Braves in scoring behind Josiah Seymour (11.9) and just ahead of Ethan Smith (10.9) through 19 games. Jake scored a career-high 21 points in a memorable 112-106, four-overtime win at Briggs on Dec. 4 -- the most points in a game in program history -- and hit the game-winning 3-pointer with three seconds left Jan. 21 in a 48-47 win over Big Walnut.
"I haven't hit as many shots as I'd like to, but I'm working hard and getting more shots up," Jake said. "I had to step up and be one of our leading scorers and run the offense. As the season has progressed, everybody is here and healthy now, but I'm still one of the main scorers. I haven't had to carry the load as much. We've had a lot of people step up."
Luke Elmore had a total of 50 points on the season before Feb. 7, with almost half of those coming in separate 12-point outings Dec. 27 in a 70-56 loss to New York Fordham in the KSA Events Holiday Basketball Tournament at Walt Disney World and again two weeks later in a 67-53 loss to Liberty.
"My role is to mainly get good minutes, hit a couple shots and play good defense," Luke said. "I'm very lengthy and I can stop people inside. I get some blocks and I can make it hard on the ball-handler to find space. I've been growing at a pretty constant pace. My doctor said I should be 6-4. I don't know when that will happen, but it will eventually."
Will Elmore now is a junior at the University of Cincinnati, majoring in computer science.
"He did a ton of dirty work," Jake recalled. "We play in the driveway a lot. It gets heated. It makes us a lot better. Will pushes us around, but we get better from that."
Jake Elmore had a team-high 14 points in a 65-47 win at Hilliard Davidson on Feb. 4, a game in which Olentangy committed only three turnovers. Smith added 13 points and Seymour and Dylan Sigler scored 12 apiece.
Seeded 32nd in the 49-team Division I district tournament, the Braves took a first-round bye and will visit seventh-seeded Thomas Worthington or play host to 36th-seeded Marion Harding in the second round Feb. 28.
"We can shoot the ball a little bit," Feasel said. "We just have to be able to do it in a high-pressure game for 32 minutes."
Swimmers ready for district meet
Martina Peroni's runner-up finish in the 200-yard individual medley (2 minutes, 8.81 seconds) and third-place finish in the 500 freestyle (5:06.74) led the girls swimming team to 236 points and fourth place in a Division I sectional meet Feb. 8 at Kenyon College behind champion Dublin Coffman (398) as 11 teams scored.
Eight swimmers -- five girls and three boys -- earned at-large berths to the district meet Thursday, Feb. 13, at Ohio State.
The girls team got three other runner-up finishes, from Regan Blythe in the 50 free (24.98), Cameron Kuriger in the 100 butterfly (57.38) and the 400 free relay (3:39), at sectional.
The boys finished sixth (122) at sectional behind champion Dublin Jerome (420.5) as 12 teams scored.
Preston Kuriger placed second in the 100 backstroke (52.91) and fourth in the 100 free (47.55).
At district, the top two placers in each swimming event automatically advance to the state meet Feb. 21 and 22 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths will be awarded for each event based on times statewide.
The girls diving competition at district will coincide with the swimming events at Ohio State. The top four finishers will advance to state Feb. 20 at Branin Natatorium.
Hockey team preps for Blue Jackets Cup
The hockey team finished the regular season at 8-19-0-1 overall and 5-10-0-1 in the CHC-White with a 5-4 overtime loss to Coffman on Feb. 9 at Chiller Dublin, and the two teams will meet again Friday, Feb. 14, at Chiller North in a quarterfinal of the Blue Jackets Cup consolation tournament. Olentangy is seeded 13th and Coffman is 12th out of 18 teams.
Landon Johnson's 20 goals led Olentangy through 26 games, ahead of Charlie Ziliak (13 goals, 9 assists), Andrew Kieffer (12 goals, 15 assists, team-leading 27 points) and Nick Biehl (10 goals).
The Braves, who found out their postseason path during the district tournament draw Feb. 12, are 4-2-0-1 in their past seven games after a 14-game losing streak from Dec. 8-Jan. 18.
Athletes announce college decisions
Four student-athletes announced their college destinations Feb. 5.
Jake Coleman will play football at Dayton, Vik Hudson will play men's soccer at Lake Erie College, Trent Maddox will play football at Ashland and Bennett Zeitner will play men's golf at Marshall.
Below is the coming schedule for the Olentangy boys basketball and wrestling teams:
*Feb. 14 -- At Liberty. The Braves lost to the Patriots 67-53 on Jan. 10.
Feb. 18 -- Home vs. Centennial
*Feb. 13 -- Home vs. Orange