Boys Basketball: Will Cordle making point in return to Bexley

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
After spending his junior year in Texas, Will Cordle moved back to Bexley and became the starting quarterback in football and the starting point guard in basketball. Through nine games, he was averaging 8.6 points and a team-best 2.7 assists.

After one winter in Texas, Will Cordle longed to return to the chilly days and gray skies of central Ohio.

He and his family moved back to Bexley after spending his junior year in the Dallas area, and the Lions boys basketball and football programs have reaped the benefits.

Cordle became the starting quarterback on the football team and the point guard on the hardwood, making his homecoming everything he had hoped it would be.

“Texas has better weather, but Bexley is a better community,” he said. “We lived about 10 minutes away from Dallas, and I came off the bench as a shooting guard in basketball, which was the only sport I played. The school (Dallas Jesuit) was a lot like Bexley. That’s why we picked it.

“We liked it back here a lot better, so we moved back in July (2020). My parents (Whitney Estapa and J.R. Cordle) made a deal with me that if I came back, I had to go all out. That’s why I came back and played football.”

Cordle played football as a freshman but played basketball in his first two years at Bexley. As a sophomore, he came off the bench to average 4.2 points and shoot 19-for-55 from 3-point range (34.5 percent).

“Will was here as a (shooting guard) off the bench, but when (2020 graduate) Damian (Davis) was out five games with an injury that’s when he started playing the point,” said coach Todd Phillips, whose team was 6-3 overall and 3-1 in the MSL-Ohio Division before playing Whitehall on Jan. 30. 

“We all expected Will to be back (for his junior year) but his family moved to Texas. We got word that he was coming back and found that out about a month before school started, and it’s been great for us.”

Through nine games, Cordle was averaging 8.6 points and a team-best 2.7 assists. He 8-for-19 on 3-pointers (42.1 percent).

“I like the role (as a point guard) because I’m helping the team in as many ways as possible,” he said. “I like this role a lot better (than shooting guard). Any way to help the team succeed is great.

“As a shooting guard I was getting more shots, and my main role was getting more buckets. Now I want the team to get in its offense and get the ball to my teammates so they can score. After that, maybe I’ll score a bit.”

The Lions have had a balanced attack with Cordle at the controls. Four players – Henry Brandt (11.9), Chris Mitchell (10.1), Cordle and Cade Phillips (7.3) – averaged more than 7.0 points through nine games, and Bexley was scoring 54 points per contest.

“Both Will and Henry came in and filled the role left by Damian,” coach Phillips said. “They’ve both done a nice job.

“Running the point, Will has found that he might not score as much as he’d like, but he hasn’t grumbled. He takes care of the ball for us and has done a nice job of running the offense. You look at him and he doesn’t look like the prototypical point guard, but he’s got good body control, he takes care of the ball and he doesn’t try to do too much. He also provides a jolt because he’s a good outside shot.”

As the Lions’ quarterback last fall, Cordle completed 73 of 150 passes for 753 yards with six touchdowns and nine interceptions.

"Playing quarterback helped me to read defenses,” said Cordle, who currently is out of the lineup after recently being diagnosed with mononucleosis. “It also helps with me having to be a leader and keeping guys composed. You have to be a coach on the floor as a point guard, and I want to do that.”

The Lions did not win a league game last season, but had just one loss in four MSL-Ohio contests before facing Whitehall. They begin league tournament play Feb. 6.

“I’m so proud of where we’re at after not winning a lot last year,” said Cordle, who is deciding whether to play basketball in college. “Our team has really good chemistry and we put the ball in the hole. We play great defense and everyone plays their role well. We have great chemistry and camaraderie.”

shennen@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekHennen