Notebook: Hilliard Bradley Jaguars boys basketball team endures tough stretch after quarantine

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
Bradley's Peyton Murphy grabs a rebound against Upper Arlington's John Mollmann earlier this season. The Jaguars were 12-2 overall and 6-1 in the OCC-Central before facing Olentangy Liberty on Feb. 5.

In his 23 seasons as a head basketball coach, Hilliard Bradley’s Brett Norris has not seen a season with challenges like this one. 

Aside from the COVID-19 coronavirus protocols, the Jaguars missed two weeks to start the new year with a quarantine from playing a team that had tested positive for the virus. They then had only two practices before defeating Upper Arlington 58-29 on Jan. 19. 

After beating the Golden Bears 68-43 in a rematch Jan. 22, Bradley then lost back-to-back games for the first time December 2014 when it fell 56-55 to Dublin Jerome and 63-54 to Westerville South in a pair of OCC-Cardinal Division contests. 

This time, Bradley lost 44-35 to Pickerington North on Jan. 23 and 66-59 to Dublin Coffman on Jan. 26 in an OCC-Central contest.  

The loss to the Shamrocks snapped a streak of 61 consecutive league wins. The Jaguars' previous league loss was 64-45 to Westerville South on Jan. 22, 2016. 

“We dropped a couple there, and I can’t say enough about our guys’ resilience,” said Norris, whose team was 12-2 overall and 6-1 in the OCC-Central before facing Olentangy Liberty on Feb. 5. “We had some adversity, but I like the way we responded.” 

Bradley got back on track with league victories over Davidson on back-to-back nights, defeating the Wildcats 60-45 on Jan. 29 and 52-40 a day later. The Jaguars also beat Groveport 64-54 on Feb. 2. 

“We played six games in the last 13 days, and it’s been exhausting,” Norris said after the second win over Davidson. “I was thrilled with our response after (losses in our) last two games. 

“We’ve had to deal with things this year that I never would have thought would happen. The problem is we haven’t been able to practice enough. Since we have been back from quarantine, we haven’t had time to practice. Even when you practice you try to get them fresh.” 

Bradley had been winning by nearly 17 points per game, scoring 59.3 per contest and allowing 42.7 through 14 games. 

Keaton Norris led the Jaguars in both scoring (18.0) and assists (4.2). The senior guard had made 45.1 percent (37 of 82) of his 3-point shots and was shooting an 50.3 percent (86 of 171) overall from the field. He also was making 72.9 percent (43 of 59) of his free throws. 

Freshman Cade Norris was adding 14.5 points and a team-leading 6.7 rebounds to go with 2.2 assists. He had made 14 of 33 3-pointers (42.4 percent) and was 73 of 90 on free throws (81.1 percent). 

A.J. Mirgon was averaging 13.1 points and had made 27 of 33 free throws (81.8 percent), and Jake Bischoff was adding 5.9 points and Payton Murphy 5.3 rebounds. 

•Although a young Bradley wrestling team lost 43-30 to visiting Olentangy Orange on Feb. 3 in an OCC-Central dual, coach John Riggs said his team continues to improve despite obstacles presented by the pandemic. 

“We have young kids who were forced into some difficult situations,” said Riggs, whose team is 1-3 in the league. “They’ve continued to fight and get better, and we’re making progress. 

“We started in the 40s (in terms of roster size) and after quarantines and (Franklin County) going purple (in coronavirus alerts), we’re in the 20s now. You can’t fault them for (opting out). I understand there’s a risk element. The numbers are lower than they normally would be, so our kids are growing up under fire.” 

Ryan Brattina (170 pounds), Ross Hoydash (120), Julien Kleiv (106) and Owen Rawlins (138) won by pin against the Pioneers, and Caden Ellison (126) and Robert Snyder (heavyweight) earned victories by decision. 

–Scott Hennen 

•Will Mifsud and Zach Brandewie led the Darby boys bowling team though 13 matches.  

Mifsud had a 196.2 average and Brandewie was averaging 186.9 for the Panthers, who were 5-8 overall and 3-3 in the OCC-Cardinal before facing Newark on Feb. 5 and 3-7 in the COHSBC-B before playing Pickerington North on Feb. 9. 

Also contributing were Brian Chum (158.2 average) and Mason Will (157.4). 

For the girls team, Lyndsey Seagraves (159.7) was leading the way through 12 matches, followed by Emily Decker (140.7), Hailey Hunter (124.1) and Saturn Beard (123.7).  

The Panthers were 6-6 overall and 3-3 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Newark and 6-3 in the COHSBC-B before facing Pickerington North.  

The boys will compete in a Division I sectional Feb. 19 at HP Lanes and the girls will bowl Feb. 17 at the same location. 

Darby also is scheduled to play Teays Valley on Feb. 21 at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl.  

–Scott Hennen 

Davidson boys basketball coach Tim Congrove was looking for consistency as his team continued the second half of the season.  

After a 3-0 start, the Wildcats snapped a six-game losing streak with a 63-54 win over visiting Grove City on Feb. 2.  Ryan Paris scored a game-high 21 points and Jayden Nervis added 19 to lead Davidson.  

“We have to get some confidence back,” Congrove said. “We’re a very talented team. I told them we have every excuse in the world with being quarantined and having some injuries and some guys sitting out, but it doesn’t matter. We have too many talented players. We’re going to keep that positive mindset and keep moving forward and keep working to get better.”  

The Wildcats – who were 4-6 overall and 1-4 in the OCC-Central before playing Dublin Coffman on Feb. 5 – play host to Olentangy Liberty on Feb. 12 in a league contest. The Wildcats lost 64-60 to Liberty on Jan. 8.  

“We still need to get a lot better defensively and we have to clean up some execution things,” Congrove said. “We’re just looking to get better.”  

The Division I district tournament virtual seeding meeting was held Feb. 7, with the opening round scheduled to begin Feb. 23.  

–Frank DiRenna  

Ashley Barrington and Davidson are seeded 31st for the Division I district tournament. The Wildcats have a first-round bye and visit 10th-seeded Watkins Memorial in the second round Feb. 19.

•The Davidson girls basketball team also was looking for consistency after splitting a pair of OCC-Central contests with Olentangy Orange.  

After beating the Pioneers 55-33 on Jan. 22, the Wildcats lost the rematch 50-49 at home Feb. 1 despite leading 28-14 at halftime.  

“We had a good first half and had a big lead at the half, and then we had a terrible third quarter,” coach Joy Taylor said. “(The season) has been up and down. We’ve talked about when we get into a quarter where the other team is going on a run, what things we can do to get back on track.”  

Brianna O’Connor scored 11 points in the Feb. 1 loss to lead the Wildcats, who were 6-9 overall and 2-5 in the OCC-Central before playing Coffman on Feb. 5.  

The Wildcats visit Liberty on Feb. 12 looking to avenge a 59-35 setback Jan. 8.  

Through 15 games, O’Connor led the team in scoring (14.5) followed by Gwen Jenkins (7.0) and Kiersten Cashell (6.5). Grace Royer led in rebounding (5.7).  

Davidson, which is seeded 31st in the district tournament, has a first-round bye and will visit 10th-seeded Watkins Memorial in the second round Feb. 19.  

“They’re typically a good team,” Taylor said. “I’m not happy that we’ve had a lot of challenges this year, but I also think our team needs to play consistently. We’re going to have to play consistently for four quarters. This is the time of the year when it’s fun. It’s just a single game that you try to win and move on.”  

–Frank DiRenna 

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