Girls Basketball: Bexley looking to build on ‘learning’ season
The Bexley girls basketball team suffered growing pains last season while relying on talented but inexperienced freshman and sophomore classes.
Now those players have returned as veterans determined to help the Lions improve on last winter’s 11-12 record, which also included a third-place finish (10-4) in the MSL-Ohio Division behind Whitehall (13-1) and Worthington Christian (12-2).
“Last year there was a lot of learning because we had a lot of people with little varsity experience,” said senior guard Maddy Young, whose team has had its games suspended through Dec. 18 because of the COVID-19 coronavius pandemic but can continue to practice. “This year we can get into the swing of things a lot quicker.”
Young, a four-year starter, was honorable mention all-district and first-team all-league last year after averaging a team-high 11.1 points. She is one of five players back who started at one time or another.
That group also includes junior guards Regan Comstock and Grace Heilman (4.3 points, 2.1 assists, 2.1 steals) and sophomore forwards Sofie Sheridan (honorable mention all-league; 5.1 points, 3.8 rebounds) and Sydnie Smith (6.5 points, 4.0 rebounds).
“It’s nice to have a pair of girls who can bring the ball down the court a lot like Maddy and Grace,” second-year coach Brycen Baugh said. “Maddy has taken a lot of shots in the offseason and had shot the ball well in the preseason. Grace is our best defender on the ball and she makes people uncomfortable with her defense.
“Regan started before she got sick midseason and had trouble working her way back. Both Sofie and Sydnie are good at finishing around the basket and both know how to play defense.”
Senior Aly Cox started the last two seasons and was a defensive standout at guard and forward, but she suffered a knee injury during soccer and will miss the season. Cox was honorable mention all-league a year ago.
Sophomore guard Mikayla Williams brings energy and quickness to the lineup, and sophomores Gigi Lewis and Molly O’Dell also are expected to see action in the backcourt.
Sophomore forwards Madison Ingram and Ellie Smith add depth in the post, with sophomores Lydia Baker (guard) and Maya Murray (forward) rounding out the roster.
“Coach has been stressing defense, and we’re a really good defensive team,” Young said. “We’ve put in a press this year, and we should get some steals from that. We’re really quick defensively.”
Bailey takes over
Rebecca Bailey has taken over the Columbus School for Girls program after coaching for the last three seasons at Licking Heights and the nine before that as an assistant at Thomas Worthington.
The Unicorns finished 12-11 overall and sixth (5-9) in the MSL-Ohio last winter under Heath Goolsby, who led the program for two seasons.
“This is the first time that I’ve been able to coach where I work,” said Bailey, who is assistant director for development at CSG. “To be able to see the players in the hallways and at lunch is great, and it feels like I’m a bigger part of the community. That’s important.
“As a new coach, you always start behind the 8-ball, but without having summer or fall workouts because of COVID-19 protocols makes it even more so. I’m impressed with how quickly they’re catching on.”
Three guards — senior Eva Nicolosi (honorable mention all-district, second-team all-league) and juniors Lauren Sloan (honorable mention all-league) and Emma Spangler — lead the returnees.
“Lauren, Emma and Eva have stepped up for us in a big way,” Bailey said. “Lauren has done a great job of running the point and distributing the ball, and also on defense. Emma and Eva are also playing well defensively.”
Guard Jordan Bauknight and forward Bella Sloan are the other seniors. Junior forward Tori Johnson, junior guard Makenna McCoy and sophomore guard Carmen Albrecht also should play key roles for the Unicorns, who have had all activities suspended until Dec. 7 because of the rise in coronavirus cases in central Ohio.
“We don’t have a lot of size,” Bailey said. “We’re learning a lot in the post, and we’re working a lot on posting up. We’re doing well in breakdown drills and now we need experience in the 5-on-5 setting.”
Sophomores Maya Carpenter (forward) and Jayden Clarett (guard) and freshmen Fabi Corso (guard), Yori O’Neal (forward) and Summer Williams (forward) round out the roster.
•Coach: Brycen Baugh, second season
•Top players: Regan Comstock, Grace Heilman, Sofie Sheridan, Sydnie Smith and Maddy Young
•Key losses: Aly Cox and Shyla Hutchins
•Last season: 11-12 overall
•2019-20 MSL-Ohio standings: Whitehall (13-1),Worthington Christian (12-2), Bexley (10-4), Buckeye Valley (7-7), Grandview (6-8), CSG (5-9), Columbus Academy (3-11), Wellington (0-14)
•2020 postseason: Lost to Sparta Highland 41-29 in first round of Division II district tournament
COLUMBUS SCHOOL FOR GIRLS
•Coach: Rebecca Bailey, first season
•Top players: Eva Nicolosi, Lauren Sloan and Emma Spangler
•Key losses: Ellen Monahan and Veronica Ross
•Last season: 12-11 overall
•2020 postseason: Lost to Lakewood 52-19 in first round of Division II district tournament