Notebook: Dublin Jerome Celtics boys basketball team asks bench to 'bring energy'

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Sophomore guard Lachlan MacDonald has provided an early season spark for Jerome, including making seven of nine 3-point attempts in a 60-47 victory over Hartley on Dec. 30.

Staying focused when they’re not in the game has been on the minds of Dublin Jerome boys basketball players more than ever before this winter. 

The Celtics, according to coach Richie Beard, understand that the atmosphere the bench creates could have a more direct impact on what happens during the game because attendance is limited.

“It’s a complete change of environment,” Beard said. “When you go on a run, there’s no student section cheering you on chanting ‘defense.’ That’s something we’ve really been getting after our guys about. You’ve got to bring energy. Watching college basketball games, they’ve got guys chanting ‘defense’ because there are no fans. (In some of our games) we’ve had guys chanting ‘defense,’ getting involved emotionally on the bench and that enthusiasm becomes infectious and brings energy for the other guys.” 

Sophomore guard Lachlan MacDonald, who made seven of nine 3-point attempts and finished with 21 points in a 60-47 victory over Hartley on Dec. 30, backs up that assertion. 

“If we keep the energy up, we can do real well,” MacDonald said. “We’ve just all got to play as a team, share the ball and we’ll all get our touches. Defense is where it starts at so you’ve got to keep the energy up on defense, get those steals, run the ball and play fast.” 

MacDonald, who began his freshman season on junior varsity but was a contributor during the second half of the season, has developed into one of the team’s top offensive threats alongside sophomore guard Ryan Nutter. 

Jerome improved to 3-3 overall with a 74-41 win Jan. 5 over Teays Valley. It split its first two OCC-Cardinal Division games, beating Olentangy Berlin 52-51 on Dec. 18 and falling to Thomas Worthington 61-46 on Dec. 19. 

Nutter averaged 11.5 points and MacDonald averaged 10 through six games, with junior forwards Matt Butler and C.C. Ezirim and sophomore guards Luke Kuhlman and Sasha Stavroff all averaging between five and eight points. 

“We only had one scrimmage and then everything got shut down, so there was a lot of rust, careless basketball and things you work out in scrimmages,” Beard said. “We return most of the guys from last year, but having (2020 graduate) Dan Lee last year kind of slowed everything down. He was that guy who could calm everyone’s nerves. We’ve got some other guys whose roles now are to be that guy. Without having scrimmages to coax us into those moments, we’ve had some growing pains with that.” 

Jaydon Pearson and Scioto are 2-1 overall and 1-1 in the OCC-Capital. The team’s season was paused after a player tested positive for COVID-19 on Jan. 4. The Irish are scheduled to return to practice Friday, Jan. 15.

•The Scioto boys basketball team’s season was paused after a player tested positive for COVID-19 on Jan. 4. 

The Irish are scheduled to return to practice Friday, Jan. 15, and resume contests Tuesday, Jan. 19, at Westerville South. 

“We’re trying to get back to playing,” coach Mike Moler said. “We’re just trying to take it one day at a time. You never know. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s getting any better.” 

Scioto, which is 2-1 overall and 1-1 in the OCC-Capital, beat Westland 64-30 on Dec. 30 in its last game. Tysen Boze led the Irish with 25 points and Jaydon Pearson added 17. 

“Tysen is playing well for us,” Moler said. “Jaydon Pearson is playing well. We’re not very deep. There’s a lot of new roles. Tysen played j.v. last year, and I’m pleased with how he’s stepped up and progressed the first couple of games playing varsity.” 

The Irish beat Franklin Heights 52-33 on Dec. 22 and lost to Canal Winchester 53-47 on Dec. 18. 

“You have to put everything in perspective, especially with this whole season,” Moler said. “Starting and stopping is not ideal. Wearing masks and not wearing masks, all that stuff. You just have to control what you can control.” 

—Frank DiRenna

•With a 54-34 victory over Hilliard Davidson on Jan. 5, the Coffman girls basketball improved to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the OCC-Central. 

In the Shamrocks’ 62-42 victory Jan. 2 over Olentangy Liberty to open league play, senior guard Kenzie Bicking made a program-record eight 3-pointers. 

Coffman lost 52-36 on Dec. 29 at Watterson in a matchup of 2020 Division I district runners-up. 

Sophomore wing player Tessa Grady and sophomore guard Jenna Kopyar averaged 13 points through six games to join Bicking as offensive leaders. 

Coffman continues league action Friday, Jan. 15, at Hilliard Bradley and is scheduled to play two games in the MLK Prep Shootout at Pickerington Central, with matchups Saturday, Jan. 16, against McArthur Vinton County and Monday, Jan. 18, against Fort Wayne (Indiana) Homestead. 

“(Watterson) was our third game, we fouled early, turned it over early and often and missed shots early and often,” coach Adam Banks said. “(We wanted to) take that game and try to learn as much as we can. We move the ball and we fight. We show a lot of energy and a lot of fight in practices.” 

—Jarrod Ulrey 

•The Scioto girls basketball team looked to bounce back from its first loss – a 53-48 setback to Delaware on Jan. 5 – when it played Big Walnut on Jan. 8. 

“I’m pretty happy,” said coach Jen Music, whose team was 4-1 overall and 2-1 in the OCC-Capital before facing the Golden Eagles. “We have a great group of kids that play hard. They compete, they’re good teammates and I couldn’t really ask for a better group. They have a chance every night that they go out there and see what we can do.” 

Against Delaware, Karleigh Rothe led Scioto with 14 points and Ashleigh Rothe had 13. 

“It was a tough loss,” Music said. “I knew it was going to be a tough game.” 

The Irish play host to Westerville North on Friday, Jan. 15, and face Watterson in the MLK Prep Shootout at Pickerington Central on Monday, Jan. 18. 

“Playing in something like that is a great opportunity for our kids,” Music said. “There’s a lot of exposure in an event like that.” 

Through five games, Ashleigh Rothe led the team in scoring (13.0), followed by Karleigh Rothe (10.8). Karleigh Rothe also was averaging a team-best 9.8 rebounds. 

—Frank DiRenna

•After falling 5-2 to Upper Arlington on Jan. 6 at Chiller Dublin, the Coffman hockey team was 3-5 overall and in the CHC-White. 

The Shamrocks were whistled for 11 penalties against UA, including a pair of game misconduct calls during what became a physical battle against one of the area’s top teams. 

There also were positives in that game as well as at other times so far this winter for Coffman, according to coach Jeff Kerr, whose team went 10-19-2 last season. 

Freshman forwards William Feit and Joe Shevetz have been key additions to a core that has been led by senior defenseman Gavin Schiefferle and junior defensemen Eliav Dayan and Camden Willis. 

Senior forwards Ervin Cui and Thiago Jeronimo scored against UA. 

“We allowed our emotions to take over the (UA) game,” Kerr said. “In this (sport) there’s a fine line between emotion and having too much emotion. Good emotion is where we usually are. 

“We’ve had some great moments. We’ve had some moments where we’re learning. We’ve got a bunch of new kids in there.” 

—Jarrod Ulrey 

•James Igneczi has been named Jerome girls soccer coach, pending school board approval. 

A 2001 Grafton Midview graduate, Igneczi coached the Norwalk girls team to a 69-43-10 record from 2008-14 and then served six seasons as the boys coach at Midview.  

In his final season at his alma mater, the Middies went 7-9-1 for their best finish of his tenure.  

Igneczi, who played for Ohio Northern and Baldwin Wallace, takes over a Jerome program that went 71-30-10 in six seasons under Kelly Giroux.  

The Celtics posted winning records in each of Giroux’s first five seasons before finishing 5-11 this fall. They were Division I district champions every season from 2016-18.  

“Coach Iggy went through an extensive interview process and was a unanimous pick of the interview committee,” athletics director Joe Bline said. “Throughout the process, (Igneczi’s) attention to detail and commitment to the student-athletes entrusted to him shone through.” 

—Jarrod Ulrey 

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