Notebook: Dublin Coffman boys basketball team learning from game situations

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Junior guard Ajay Sheldon was averaging 23 points through seven games for Coffman. The Shamrocks were 6-1 overall and 3-1 in the OCC-Central after beating Olentangy Orange 85-74 on Jan. 12.

In a season that didn’t start for his team until the final week of December, Dublin Coffman boys basketball coach Jamey Collins has put learning from each game as his players’ No. 1 priority. 

The Shamrocks faced one of their most rugged contests to date when they beat Reynoldsburg 66-61 on Jan. 5. 

Then on Jan. 8 against Upper Arlington, Coffman was held to one of its lowest point totals in a 63-57 loss. 

Those types of contests figure to help the Shamrocks improve during a season in which scheduling games could remain a fluid situation because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. 

“It’s been interesting,” Collins said. “You feel like in the middle of January you’d see more different types of defenses, but we really haven’t yet. It’s literally like every game is an experience. Reynoldsburg gave us a different look. It was a very physical game, very aggressive. We just kind of keep evolving.” 

Coffman was 6-1 overall and 3-1 in the OCC-Central Division after beating Olentangy Orange 85-74 on Jan. 12. The Shamrocks return to league action Jan. 22 at home against Olentangy Liberty, a team they beat 86-65 on Jan. 2 during the first round of conference play. 

“It’s been going pretty well,” senior wing player Nash Hostetler said. “We got off to a good start, we have good chemistry offensively and defensively we’re starting to click. We’ve gotten in a lot of work. Everybody is committing to the season. We all know the situation and we’ve still got to get it done with everybody staying productive.” 

Hostetler and junior guards Ajay Sheldon and Aidan Dring have led the offense. 

Sheldon averaged 10 points last season but was averaging 23 through seven games. He put together a 22-point, 11-assist, 10-rebound performance in a 77-48 victory over Mansfield Senior on Jan. 9 and had 34 points against Reynoldsburg. 

“We continue to get good enough shots to pull it out, play good defense down the stretch and make winning plays,” Sheldon said. “It’s been going well. I’ve got four guys around me who can really play and really score. They can all handle the ball and it makes it easy having those guys around you. I’ve just got to stay in the gym. You get extra shots after practice and everybody puts in the time.” 

Hostetler averaged 16 points through seven games, including scoring 31 against Liberty. 

Dring was averaging 12 points and sophomore guard Aiden Schmidt was averaging 11.5. 

"Nash has had some good games,” Collins said. “Really all these guys have. Aidan Dring has been a rock and been in double digits (nearly) every game for us. Those guys that got a little bit of experience last year have come through for us. They’ve really helped us out. For a shooter like (Hostetler), there’s a place for you (at the college level). 

“Nash had a senior (2020 graduate Keaton Turner) carrying the load (last year). So you have to learn, ‘How do I lead?’ With (Hostetler) and Ajay, all they had to do was shoot last year. Now they’re the focal point of defenses and they're just adjusting to that.” 

Senior Hayden Hale has been one of the top defensemen for Jerome, according to coach Pat Murphy.

•The Jerome hockey team is scheduled to play its only regular-season game against Coffman on Jan. 22 at Chiller Dublin. 

After losing 4-2 to Orange on Jan. 4 at Chiller Dublin, the Celtics were 3-6-1 overall and 3-4-1 in the CHC-Red. Their games scheduled for Jan. 7 against Liberty and Jan. 8 against Upper Arlington were postponed. 

Jerome lost 10-4 to UA on Dec. 28 and 5-2 to Liberty on Dec. 29. 

“We’ve got a lot of bugs to work out,” coach Pat Murphy said. “The lack of game time is a challenge because you’ve got to evaluate your players in practice, but the games make a difference, too. The first-year guys are getting better every day, but we’re still a little bit inexperienced and the game moves very fast. Some haven’t been able to adjust yet. As the games go by, we’ll get better.” 

Through 10 games, seniors Hayden Hale and Gavin Mlicki led the defense, according to Murphy, while senior forwards Anthony DiPaolo (3 goals, 2 assists), Evan Halligan (7 goals, 2 assists), Landon Hale (3 goals, 1 assist) and Jack Ryan (4 goals, 2 assists) were the leading scorers. 

“Our senior class has done a really good job,” Murphy said. “They’re working hard, they’re patient with the new guys and we’ll get better.” 

—Jarrod Ulrey 

Jerome gymnastics coach Kristen Willms has taken a big-picture perspective when reflecting on her team’s performance Jan. 9 in the McGee Invitational at Integrity Gymnastics in Plain City. 

The Celtics scored 137.125 to finish second during the eight-team second session behind Olentangy Berlin (137.225), despite having what they believed were major miscues. 

“Bars was where we lost it,” said Willms, whose team is scheduled to compete Jan. 23 in the Worthington Kilbourne Invitational. “We counted three falls on bars, so I guess the good thing is it was only our second meet of the season and there’s room for improvement. We can be so much better. We did well on vault, did well on beam, but we were still counting falls so there’s room for improvement.” 

During the 10-team opening session, the only teams to finish with better scores than Berlin and Jerome were champion Brunswick (144.275) and Hudson (139.6). 

In the second session, junior Raegan Ernst was first on vault (9.35), beam (9.4), floor exercise (9.45) and all-around (36.85).  

“Starting on bars was a little rough, but it was my first meet where I go from high bar to low bar because I’ve been struggling with that a little bit,” Ernst said. “I did the best beam routine of my high school career and my vaults were good.” 

Also in the all-around, senior Izzy Willms was fifth (34.55) and freshman Taylor Walker tied for ninth (33.05). 

—Jarrod Ulrey 

•For Scioto wrestling coach Adam Huddle, his main focus is preparing the Irish for the Division I postseason. 

Scioto has had a limited roster early in the season because of injuries and illnesses, but Huddle likes his team’s potential once they are at full strength. 

“I don’t care what point totals are right now, it’s all about getting matches,” Huddle said. “We’re just trying to get in as many matches as we can.” 

Key wrestlers have been Dylan Lee (113 pounds/120), Ty Wilson (113/120/126) Matthew Howard (170) and Johnathen Segura (138/145). 

Scioto was 5-7 overall and 1-1 in the OCC-Capital before facing league-foe Franklin Heights and Marion Harding on Jan. 14. 

The Irish lost to Canal Winchester 48-28 on Jan. 7. Segura (145, 3:55) won by pin and Le (120, 16-1) and Wilson (126, 19-4) won by technical fall.

Scioto visits Delaware on Jan. 21. 

“Delaware is very good and they have a full lineup,” Huddle said. 

—Frank DiRenna 

•The Scioto gymnastics team competed in the McGee Invitational, where the Irish finished eighth (104.2) of 10 teams in the first session behind first-place Brunswick (144.275). 

Elena Charria posted an all-around score of 31.9 to lead Scioto. Kaitlyn Bassingthwaite (30.5), Sara Sun (29.375) and Thatiyana Haley also competed. 

“Scioto had really good day,” Willms said. “We had some of our highest vault scores and Elena and Sara both put in some new changes to their bar routines. We have a few mistakes to clean up, but we’re definitely on the right track.” 

—Frank DiRenna

•The Coffman gymnastics team, which also is scheduled to compete in the Kilbourne Invitational, scored 134.5 to finish third in the second session of the McGee Invitational.

Sophomore Emily Yoshino was third on vault (9.0), second on floor (9.375) and second in the all-around (35.55). 

“This is my second meet of the season and it’s been going well,” Yoshino said. “I was going into the gym a lot in the offseason and growing new skills, but I upgraded a little bit on floor. Floor is always my best score.” 

Also in the all-around, freshman Avery Ragland was sixth (34.275). 

“Yoshino had a fall on bars and a fall on beam, so she’s in a really good spot to do really well,” Willms said. “With Coffman in general, we can definitely see a lot of improvement. Avery Ragland also had a fall on bars and a fall on beam, so there’s two points we can get to increase our score.” 

—Jarrod Ulrey

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