Whetstone Roundup: Young girls basketball squad ready to learn

Stephen Borgna
ThisWeek group
Fourth-year coach Torrie Ruffin has a Whetstone girls basketball team that features no seniors. This season will focus on "understanding how (the game is) played (and) how to make the right decisions," she said.

Featuring a young roster that has no seniors, the Whetstone girls basketball team plans to focus mostly on the fundamentals this season. 

The Braves, who went 4-19 overall and finished seventh (2-12) in the City League-North Division behind champion Northland (14-0) a year ago, have three juniors, four sophomores and four freshmen on their roster. 

Fourth-year coach Torrie Ruffin said this season is going to be about learning the flow of the game and developing decision-making, ball-handling and shooting skills as the year progresses. 

The Braves, like other teams in Columbus City Schools, also are dealing with the district's suspension of activities through Dec. 17 because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

“I think we’re going to accomplish a lot of understanding of the game,” Ruffin said. “I think the girls are going to do a lot better at understanding how it’s played (and) how to make the right decisions." 

The Braves are projected to field a starting lineup of juniors Ellen Edwards (5-foot-9, forward/guard) and Vida Barzdukas (5-3, guard) and sophomores Nevaeh Davis (5-4, guard), Haley Harkins (5-5, guard) and Larrica Goble (5-7, forward/guard). 

Sophomore Elizabeth Swaray (5-2, guard) and freshman Ava Flowers (5-8, guard) are expected to be key players off the bench. 

Other players in the program are junior Caylan Nixon (5-7, center/forward) and freshmen Harmony Mills (5-6, center/forward), Sophia Nelson (5-7, forward) and Caitlin Hines (5-6, guard). 

Ruffin has a lot of teaching to do this season, and she has made her lesson plans.

“They’re going to do a whole lot of understanding how the flow of varsity goes and the speed and the pace," Ruffin said. "I’ll feel accomplished if by the end of the season they’re capable of slowing down the game, being able to understand the pace and make good decisions.” 

sborgna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSteve

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Coach: Torrie Ruffin, fourth season 

Top players: Vida Barzdukas, Nevaeh Davis, Ellen Edwards, Larrica Goble and Haley Harkins

Key losses: Lauren Armstrong, Rain Jones and Olivia Mullins

Last season: 4-19 overall

2019-20 City-North standings: Northland (14-0), Beechcroft (12-2), Centennial (10-4), Linden-McKinley (8-6), East and Mifflin (5-9), Whetstone (2-12), International (0-14)

Postseason: Lost to Pickerington Central 90-3 in second round of Division I district tournament