Whetstone Roundup: Boys basketball team motivated to improve

Stephen Borgna
ThisWeek group
Sophomore guard Alejandro Soto and the Whetstone boys basketball team are hoping to improve on last season's finish of 6-17 overall and 5-9 in the City League-North Division. Coach Dean Washington said the Braves must improve their defense and ball movement.

According to second-year coach Dean Washington, the Whetstone boys basketball team is motivated to develop its skills and build chemistry.

If those things happen, the Braves should take a step forward this winter.

Washington said his team can compete in the City League-North Division with better defensive play and improved ball movement. He led the Braves to a 6-17 record a year ago — their highest win total since the 2015-16 season when they also finished 6-17.

“I’ll tell you what, the one thing I think that we are, we’re not a bad shooting team," said Washington, who previously guided the Northland girls and Marion-Franklin boys to City titles. "What we don’t have is a lot of team chemistry in terms of trying to share the basketball. We have smart kids, but we don’t have a high basketball IQ."

Whetstone is projected to be led by its three seniors in guards Caleb Brigle and Alex Hurd and forward Zach Casto.

Brigle earned second-team all-league honors last season and led the Braves with a scoring average of 17.8 points per game. 

Other key players include junior guard Micah McGonagle and sophomore guards Jaqualen Beard-Cook and Alejandro Soto. 

Rounding out the roster are juniors Jasiri Gibson (guard), Mike Johnson (forward), Jasper Janson-Tidd (guard), Micheal Newell-Dimoff (forward) and Ismael Obas (forward), sophomore Patrick Knotsman (forward/center) and freshmen Shaiman Diawara (guard/forward) and Gabe Clark (forward/center). 

Whetstone finished sixth (5-9) in the City-North last season, ahead of East (3-11) and International (0-14) and behind champion Linden-McKinley (12-2). The Braves entered the Division I district tournament as the 48th seed and lost 91-42 at third-seeded South in the second round following a first-round bye. 

Columbus City Schools has suspended athletics and extracurricular activities until at least Dec. 18 because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, but Washington still knows what his team needs to work on.

“We’ve got to be team-oriented and have that chemistry to have any chance of success," he said. "And that starts at the top and that’s something we’ve been harping on, sharing the basketball and moving the basketball.”

sborgna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSteve

BOYS BASKETBALL 

•Coach: Dean Washington, second season

•Top players: Jaqualen Beard-Cook, Caleb Brigle, Zach Casto, Alex Hurd, Micah McGonagle and Alejandro Soto

•Key losses: Jaden Arledge, C.J. Brown, Louis Schirmer and Alex Timmons

•Last season: 6-17 overall

•2019-20 City-League North standings: Linden-McKinley (12-2), Beechcroft (11-3), Northland (10-4), Mifflin (8-6), Centennial (7-7), Whetstone (5-9), East (3-11), International (0-14)

•Postseason: Lost to South 91-42 in second round of Division I district tournament