Big Walnut Roundup: Girls basketball team playing at faster pace
While the Big Walnut girls basketball team had many starting roles to fill, coach Jason Crawford knew his offense would undergo a transformation.
The Golden Eagles are thriving with pace and balance, playing at their fastest tempo ever under Crawford, who’s in his fourth season.
“Some of the things we’re learning about the girls is that we have multiple kids who can score, and we’ve got good overall team speed,” Crawford said. “So far, we’re really trying to get out in transition and play with a faster pace.”
That pace of play was evident in Big Walnut’s victories against Kenton (71-53 on Dec. 8) and Bellefontaine (66-22 on Nov. 21).
The Golden Eagles were 2-0 before beginning the OCC-Capital Division schedule against visiting Franklin Heights on Dec. 18 and at Delaware on Dec. 19.
The league schedule continues Tuesday, Dec. 22, at Worthington Kilbourne.
Big Walnut also has discovered that the faster-paced offense is putting a strain on its defense.
Last season, the Golden Eagles held opponents to an average of 31 points per game.
“It’s kind of that double-edged sword where we’re scoring quicker and faster than what we’re accustomed to, which is obviously giving the other team the ball more often,” Crawford said. “So, if we continue to play this style, we’re going to give up more points than we have in the past.”
Opposing defenses likely will have their eye on senior guard Abby Brown, who scored 23 points against Kenton and 25 against Bellefontaine.
“She’s really worked on her game and put a lot of time into it,” Crawford said. “She shoots the ball well from the perimeter, and the thing that kind of catches people off guard is she has the element this year of being able to get to the rim off the dribble more than she has in the past.”
Junior guard/forward Jordan Walters had 18 points against Kenton, and junior forward Andie Stewart had 14 against Bellefontaine.
Brown is among three senior starters with point guard Avery Maxeiner and guard Annie Thomas.
to continue success
Nine seniors are leading the boys and girls swimming and diving teams under sixth-year coach Becky Brigham.
The Golden Eagles opened the season Dec. 19 against Delaware.
Senior Braden Buckler was a member of the 400-yard freestyle relay — with juniors Braden Wagner, Nathan Wion and Christopher Lee — that finished 22nd (3 minutes, 38.11 seconds) in last season’s Division I district meet.
Buckler also was part of the 200 medley relay with sophomore Zander Murnieks and 2020 graduates John Grumney and Camden Andrian.
Other seniors returning include Charlie Jaeger, Ryan Long, Jatan Pokar and Cole Wecker.
Senior Jordan May is a returning district qualifier for the girls team. She was a member of the 28th-place 200 medley relay (2:09.81) with juniors Eva Lane and Sam Blackburn and sophomore Karli Murnieks.
Senior diver Mackenna Ames placed 19th (210.9 points) at district.
Other seniors returning for the girls team are Jamie May and Eliana Smith.
In the OCC-Capital, the girls finished second (363.5) behind New Albany, and the boys were second (490.5) behind New Albany (594.5).
The realigned OCC-Capital now includes Canal Winchester, Delaware, Dublin Scioto, Franklin Heights, Westerville North, Westerville South and Worthington Kilbourne.