Watterson Roundup: Eagles bowlers stay focused on overall picture

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group

Focusing on improvement following a season in which it won six matches, the Watterson boys bowling team has tried to look at the overall perspective when assessing where it stands. 

The Eagles didn’t get their season started until Dec. 22 after the first several matches were postponed because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. 

The next match for Watterson then wasn’t held until mid-January. Also, their schedule continues to be in flux because seven teams that are in the COHSBC-D Division are from the City League, which postponed the beginning of winter sports until at least the final week of January. 

Still, simply competing has made the season feel like a success to junior Jack Kish, whose team was 0-5 overall, 0-1 in the COHSBC-D and 0-2 in the CCL after losing to St. Charles 1,916-1,454 on Jan. 19.  

“It’s a lot more than just winning and losing,” Kish said. “It’s about being together with our team. Even though we have to wear masks (while we compete), we’re very thankful we can have a season. We like being together as a team and I think everyone’s very thankful.” 

Kish, who first took up the sport as a freshman, was averaging a team-best 176.5 through his first six games. He did not compete against St. Charles because of another commitment but averaged 202.5 during a 2,001-1,519 loss to Ready on Jan. 14. 

“I’ve been bowling for three years and it’s definitely been a journey,” Kish said. “Honestly (I wanted to compete because) it would be an easy varsity letter. I didn’t play any sports in the winter and I just thought I’d give it a go. Now it’s a lot more than just getting a varsity letter. 

“Me and Quinn Brown have been real encouragers trying to guide the team. Peter Assaf has been helpful in leading the new bowlers in the fundamentals and mechanics. Overall, our team tries to lead the younger bowlers and show a love for the sport.” 

Assaf was averaging 166.4 and Brown was averaging 124.8 through five matches. They join Kish and Blake Tippett in the junior class. 

Sophomores J.D. McMonagle, Ronan Ott and Michael Zesch and freshman Emerson Choi also have contributed. 

“Our boys team is great at supporting each other during the good and bad times,” first-year coach Kelly Bishop said. “They’ve been off to a rough start this season, but we’re hoping to finish strong. They’ve adjusted to the craziness of this season with ease, which I hope they continue going into sectionals. 

“A standout boys bowler the past couple weeks is definitely Peter Assaf. He shot his second-ever 200 game in our match against Hamilton Township (on Jan. 12) at Wayne Webb’s (Columbus Bowl). His excitement was truly awesome to see from a coaching standpoint.” 

The girls team was 1-0 in the COHSBC-D and 1-0 in the CCL after beating Ready 1,509-1,396 on Jan. 14. It was 2-2 overall after losing to Worthington Christian 1,729-1,497 on Jan. 15. 

Through four matches, seniors Christina Rose (167.6) and Rachel Reuter (143.5) and junior Joy Packard (127.1) were leading in average. 

Other contributors have included senior Hannah Ashmore and sophomores Katie Whitsett and Natalie Zesch. 

“The girls team has a great connection, which is great to see with half of the team being new bowlers this year,” Bishop said. “They’re carried by their two senior captains, Rachel Reuter and Christina Rose. The girls have handled the craziness of the season with smiles on their faces. Our three senior girls bowlers are happy to just be participating in something since their senior year is nothing like how they imagined.” 

Daniel Davis and Watterson moved to 10-6 with a 2-2 performance in the Pioneer Classic, which concluded Jan. 17. Included was a 5-4 win over Wheeling (West Virginia) Linsly, a game in which the Eagles trailed 4-0.

Hockey team 

moving forward 

During its second game in the Blue Division of the Pioneer Classic, the hockey team fell behind Wheeling (West Virginia) Linsly 4-0 in the first period Jan. 16 at Chiller North. 

The Eagles managed to come all the way back to win 5-4. 

“It’s been exciting to watch how the team has progressed,” coach Jay Graham said. “We’ve played some good teams. We hung with a tough Springboro team and lost 4-2 (on Jan. 15 in the Pioneer Classic). Linsly was a state finalist in West Virginia last year and we were losing 4-0 in the first period, called a timeout and that refocused us. We emphasized we were giving them too much room and that we needed to tighten up the neutral zone. We won the next period 2-0, the last period 2-0 and then won in a shootout. It was one of the more memorable games I’ve had in my 25 years coaching. To come back from something that was so clearly one-sided was really good to see. It showed a lot of character and a lot of pride. That was something we emphasized. We have to be a team that plays with pride.” 

Watterson lost 8-2 to eventual bracket champion Dublin Jerome on Jan. 16 but then defeated Columbus Academy 9-0 on Jan. 17 to close out the Pioneer Classic at 2-2. 

The Eagles improved to 10-6 overall with the win over the Vikings and were 6-3 in the CHC-Blue after beating Worthington Kilbourne 8-4 on Jan. 9. They resumed league action Jan. 22 against Olentangy Berlin.

Through 16 games, sophomore forward Brandon Trout had 20 goals and 16 assists, senior defenseman Adam Pavliga had eight goals and 12 assists, sophomore forward D.J. Colombo had 15 goals and 10 assists, senior forward Hayden Storts had eight goals and seven assists, senior defenseman Nick Colombo had seven goals and seven assists and junior forward Luke Simone had nine goals and two assists. 

Graham also has been pleased with the growth he’s seen from sophomore goalie Andrew Burri, as well as from a defense that also has featured junior Marie Grassi and sophomore Brandon Feaver. 

“Brandon Trout has been exceptional all year,” Graham said. “He’s a difference-maker and can get through teams. They send a lot of focus on him. He’s been someone who’s one of the best players on the ice and brings a lot of spark offensively. 

“(The Pioneer Classic) was the best weekend of the season for Andrew Burri in net. I was really proud of the way the defense stepped up after the first 10 minutes against Linsly and it carried over to the next two games. Adam Pavliga is a top-notch defenseman.” 

Junior forward Kiley Graham scored 13 points to help Watterson defeat DeSales 61-39 on Jan. 14 in its CCL opener.

Girls basketball team 

building strong résumé 

The girls basketball team had a five-game winning streak snapped with a 36-34 loss Jan. 16 to Hilliard Davidson but bounced back with a 40-35 victory Jan. 18 over Dublin Scioto in the MLK Prep Shootout at Pickerington Central. 

The Eagles improved to 6-2 overall with that victory as senior guard Kilyn McGuff scored 24 points. 

On Jan. 14, Watterson won 61-39 over DeSales in its CCL opener as McGuff had 30 points, senior guard Danielle Grim scored 15 and junior forward Kiley Graham added 13. 

The Eagles, who return to CCL action Jan. 28 at Ready, will find out their postseason drawing Jan. 31. The Division I district tournament is set to begin Feb. 16. 

julrey@thisweeknews.com 

@UlreyThisWeek