Notebook: Balanced attack helps fuel Bexley Lions boys basketball team

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
Sydnie Smith (right) was averaging 7.0 points and a team-leading 6.5 rebounds for the Bexley girls basketball team through four games. Smith was one of six players averaging at least six points.

Though it has been a small sample size, the balanced offense of the Bexley boys basketball team has posed problems for opponents.

After relying on 2020 graduate Damian Davis as their go-to scorer last season, the Lions displayed an unselfish attack in winning their first two contests.

In a 60-55 season-opening win at Watkins Memorial on Dec. 30, the Lions had five players score in double figures as Henry Brandt, Tucker Harpe and Chris Mitchell all had 12 points and Will Cordle and Cade Phillips each added 11.

Davis, who is now playing at Bluffton University, led Bexley in scoring (18.2 points per game), assists (2.8), steals (1.2), free-throw shooting (112-for-153, 73.2 percent) and 3-point shooting (65-for-180, 36.1 percent) a year ago.

“We don’t have a Damian this year, but we have depth and guys who can score,” said coach Todd Phillips, whose team lost 49-28 to Logan Elm on Jan. 5 to fall to 2-1. “Any night, all five of our guys can be our leading scorer.”

The Lions defeated visiting Olentangy Berlin 62-45 on Jan. 2. Brandt scored 22 points, Mitchell had 11 and Harpe added 10.

“Henry really has played well for us,” coach Phillips said. “He missed last season with a knee injury and we also got (senior guard) Will Cordle back after his family lived in Texas for a year. We feel that those guys combine to help make up for what Damian did for us.”

The Lions were scheduled to play Northside Christian on Jan. 9 and to open MSL-Ohio Division play Jan. 12 against Columbus Academy.

Bexley also is scheduled to play league games at home against Worthington Christian on Friday, Jan. 15, and at Buckeye Valley on Wednesday, Jan. 20. The Lions are scheduled to visit Bloom-Carroll on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

“Our last scrimmage was Nov. 14 and we only practiced until we played Watkins (Memorial),” coach Phillips said. “We had such a long layoff. ... For us to come out with those wins was really exciting for us.

“We’ve shown balance, but the key for us is to guard people. We’re not going to out-talent teams. We guarded well against a good Division I, OCC team like Berlin that already had six wins. We’ll get balanced scoring but if we get stops (defensively), that’s how we’ll win games.”

•The Bexley girls basketball team also has relied on a balanced attack.

Through four contests, the Lions had only one player averaging in double figures but six were scoring at least six points per contest.

Maddy Young was averaging 11.8 points to go with 4.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.0 steals. The other top scorers were Grace Heilman (8.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.5 steals), Sofia Sheridan (8.8 points, 6.0 rebounds), Sydnie Smith (7.0 points, team-leading 6.5 rebounds), Regan Comstock (7.0 points) and Mikayla Williams (6.0 points, 4.5 rebounds).

Bexley was 3-1 after defeating Whitehall 53-50 on Jan. 5 in its MSL-Ohio opener.

The Lions were scheduled to play an MSL-Ohio contest Jan. 8 against Academy as well as league games at home against Buckeye Valley on Saturday, Jan. 16, and at Grandview on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

Brant Shepherd and St. Charles were 5-1 overall and 4-0 in the CHC heading into play Jan. 9. The Cardinals were coming off a two-week shutdown after being exposed to COVID-19 during a tournament in northeast Ohio.

•The St. Charles hockey team was 5-1 overall before a non-league game against Watterson on Jan. 9 and 4-0 in the CHC before a contest against Springboro on Jan. 10.

The Cardinals were coming off a two-week shutdown after being exposed to the COVID-19 coronavirus Dec. 27 and 28 in a tournament in Strongsville.

“It’s been a challenging year for the entire world, and we’ll roll with the punches,” coach Rob Sangster said. “We’re young and have good legs and we can really come out of this firing on all cylinders. Even though we had a two-week break in the middle of things, we’ll come back healthy without injuries.”

Through four CHC games, Alex Jimenez and Diego Pitones both had three goals. In goal, Tyson Cooper had a .933 save percentage and Grant Wolf was at .930.

“The guys are really gung-ho to play,” said Sangster, whose team is scheduled to travel to Brooklyn Recreation Center in suburban Cleveland to play Lakewood St. Edward on Saturday, Jan. 16, and Salem (Michigan) on Sunday, Jan. 17. “The kids have been playing well, including B.K. Shepherd, a senior forward. He’s been a good leader and has been a penalty-killer for us. He’s versatile and can be used all in situations.”

•The St. Charles basketball team was 1-3 overall and 1-0 in the CCL before playing Ready on Jan. 8. All three of the losses had come by three points or fewer.

The Cardinals defeated Watterson 55-51 on Dec. 28 before losing to Worthington Kilbourne 51-48 on Dec. 29, New Albany 50-48 on Jan. 2 and Gahanna 56-55 on Jan 4.

“The more experience our guys get and the more comfortable they get playing with each other, the better we’ll be,” coach Michael Ryan said. “Our goals have not changed since day one. The season is a marathon not a sprint, and we’re enjoying every moment we have together.”

Through four games, Doogie James was averaging 15.8 points, 4.0 assists and 4.0 steals, and Chase Walker was averaging 12.0 points and 6.6 rebounds.

St. Charles is scheduled to play host to Dublin Jerome on Monday, Jan. 18.

Columbus School for Girls swimming and diving coach Brian Botzman and his athletes are working through the obstacles posed by a season during a pandemic.

The Unicorns have had two meets – both virtual – but results from only one. Virtual meets have squads swimming at their own pool and then later combining the times online to account for places and scoring.

CSG opened Dec. 11 against Academy and Olentangy, but the results were unavailable from Academy.

“We were trying to swim against (the Vikings) and they had technical problems at their pool,” said Botzman, whose team is scheduled to compete virtually against Pickerington North on Friday, Jan. 15, Upper Arlington on Saturday, Jan. 16 and Watterson on Tuesday, Jan. 19. “That’s something we’ll have to work out before the (postseason). We can’t have that happen when the kids are trying to qualify for district or state.” 

The Unicorns lost 104-66 to Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown on Dec. 23. Nyah Funderburke won the 50-yard freestyle (24.64 seconds) and 100 butterfly (58.66), and Bethany Spangler was runner-up in the 100 free (56.92) and 200 individual medley (2:21.32).

•The CSG basketball team had played only one game before opening the MSL-Ohio schedule Jan. 11 against Worthington Christian.

The Unicorns won 44-10 over visiting Gilead Christian on Dec. 15 as Lauren Sloan (14 points) and Eva Nicolosi (nine points) led the way.

“We’ve been busy the last several weeks by hitting the weight room, conditioning and working on a lot of fundamentals,” coach Rebecca Bailey said. “We’ve also been continuing to jell as a new team both on and off the court, including doing a service project for Special Olympics Ohio.”

CSG is scheduled to play league games against Academy on Saturday, Jan. 16, and Wellington on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

shennen@thisweeknews.com

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