Notebook: St. Charles basketball team ready for tough race in CCL

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
Chase Walker secures a defensive rebound during St. Charles' 56-49 win against visiting Ready on Jan. 8. The Cardinals improved to 2-0 in the CCL. A day later, Walker scored 13 points in a 45-28 win at Fairfield Union.

The St. Charles basketball team won its first two CCL games, but first-year coach Michael Ryan said his squad can’t afford to get comfortable until all of the league contests have been played.

The Cardinals were 3-3 overall and 2-0 in the league after consecutive wins Jan. 8 and 9.

"The league is always up for grabs, especially in a year like this (with the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic),” Ryan said. “Who knows who’s able to go when, and guys are out with all these different things. You just have to show up and do your best. Scouting reports are almost out the door. Our first two league games (were) at home, and we know it’s going to be a battle the rest of the way.”

The Cardinals defeated Watterson 55-51 on Dec. 28 in their league opener before rallying to defeat Ready 56-49 on Jan. 8. The Silver Knights took a 9-2 lead before St. Charles settled down and played with an energized defensive effort.

“It took us a little bit to get ready and get into the action, and coach let us know about it,” said forward Ryan Utt, who scored 13 points against Ready. “We take pride in our defense, and we have to come out hot and play the entire game.”

Point guard Doogie James led the Cardinals with 18 points. He said his team was off to a good start in the league but had to continue to play at a high level.

“Our energy level has to be there, and we have to stay close on and off the court,” James said. “We have to keep going. We have six (CCL) games left and we have some big non-conference games coming up.”

Guard Andy Boateng said it wasn’t difficult to adjust to Ryan, who was an assistant for 10 years under former coach Jacob Daniel.

“We’ve known coach Ryan for a long time,” Boateng said. “He’s always been there for us and we love playing under his lead. He’s been stressing a new culture and improving ourselves on defense and offense and in all phases of the game.”

The Cardinals turned up the defensive pressure to defeat host Fairfield Union 45-28 on Jan. 9. James scored 16 points, forward Chase Walker had 13 and Utt added 11.

“Defense is what it’s about for us,” Ryan said. “We need to play hard and defend. We need to bring energy every game, and if we do, we can be tough to beat.”

The Cardinals are scheduled to resume CCL play Jan. 22 at Watterson before traveling to Findlay on Jan. 23. They had a league game against DeSales moved from Jan. 12 to Jan. 27 because of the coronavirus.

“Turnovers have been a problem for us and we have to clean that up,” Ryan said. “We’ve told our guys that they need to limit turnovers and get shots. You commit turnovers, then that leads to easy shots for the other team.”

•The St. Charles bowling team had competed in just two matches before a COHSBC-D and CCL contest against Hartley on Jan. 13.

The Cardinals were 0-2 overall and in both the COHSBC-D and CCL after losing to Hartley 1,839-1,569 on Jan. 6 and to Ready 2,227-1,942 on Jan. 8. They had matches postponed against Africentric on Jan. 4 and Walnut Ridge on Jan. 11 because City League athletics are on hold.

Teague O’Brien (182.0) and Nick Bastaja (174.5) led St. Charles in average but both had competed in only one match.

“It’s been hard to get a rhythm because of everything going on,” coach Dan Koeth said. “We played without Teague in our first match and Nick in our second. Not having two of your top guys didn’t help things. We practiced (Jan. 11) and we looked pretty good there, so that’s good.”

Other key performers for the Cardinals have been Michael Wagner (165.5), Max Taylor (153.3) and Cole Hankinson (147.0).

CSG's Eva Nicolosi (right) defends Worthington Christian's Briana Plummer on Jan. 11. The Unicorns lost 56-12 in what was only their second game of the season.

•The Columbus School for Girls basketball team played its second game Jan. 11, falling to Worthington Christian 56-12 in its MSL-Ohio opener.

Emma Spangler had five points and Lauren Sloan added four for the Unicorns, who were 1-1 before facing Whitehall on Jan. 13 in league play.

“We struggled offensively to find a rhythm and it showed that it was only the second game for us,” said coach Rebecca Bailey, whose team defeated Gilead Christian 44-10 on Dec. 15. “We hadn't played in a month.

“I can't say enough about their fight, though. They played hard for 32 minutes. We were excited to be back in action, and we’ll learn and grow from this game and we look forward to getting back out and competing.”

CSG plays home league games against Bexley on Jan. 22 and Grandview on Jan. 27.

•The Bexley girls basketball team had done a good job on the boards through five games, averaging 31.6 rebounds while limiting opponents to 25.4 per game. 

Sydnie Smith led the way with 6.8 per contest, followed by Sofia Sheridan (5.4) and Mikayla Williams (4.6). 

Maddy Young was averaging 11.6 points to go along with 3.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.2 steals for the Lions, who were 4-1 overall after defeating Hamilton Township 72-27 on Jan. 11. 

They were 2-0 in the MSL-Ohio before playing Worthington Christian on Jan. 13.

Grace Heilman (8.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.4 steals) has been another key player for the Lions, who have gotten balanced scoring from Sheridan (8.6 points), Regan Comstock (8.6), Smith (6.8) and Williams (6.8).

The Lions are scheduled to play MSL-Ohio contests Jan. 22 at home against CSG and Jan. 27 at Wellington. They also are scheduled to visit Bloom-Carroll on Jan. 25.

•The Bexley boys basketball team was 4-1 after defeating Columbus Academy 39-33 on Jan. 12 in its MSL-Ohio opener behind 13 points from Will Cordle.

That followed an 86-24 victory over Northside Christian on Jan. 9 as Henry Brandt scored 15 points and Cade Phillips added 12. 

Griffin Wagenbrenner scored nine points — all on 3-pointers — and Michael Agriesti and Josiah Old also scored nine apiece.

Brandt was averaging a team-high 12.3 points through four games, and Chris Mitchell was adding 8.3 points and a team-leading 7.8 rebounds. 

Phillips added 7.5 points and 1.3 steals per game, and Cordle was averaging 7.3 points and a team-best 2.5 assists.

Bexley, which continued league play against defending co-champion Worthington Christian on Jan. 15, will face visiting Grandview in an MSL-Ohio contest Jan. 23.

shennen@thisweeknews.com

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