DeSales Roundup: 'Efficient' Desmond Watson closes in on Stallions' scoring record
Even as he fully anticipated a stellar season from Desmond Watson, DeSales boys basketball coach Pat Murphy still finds himself in awe of what the 6-foot-4 senior forward has accomplished – and what might be still to come.
It is not just that Watson averaged 25.5 points through 19 games and climbed into second-place on the program’s all-time scoring list, but rather that he did so as a marked man by opposing defenses.
“For him to average 25 a night when every one of our opponents is scheming to stop him, I’m literally shocked,” Murphy said. “I just can’t believe he’s getting 25 a night when I know we’re going against these well-coached teams with good players and everything else. He is really efficient right now. His stats are super efficient. He is taking care of the ball. He’s doing everything for us.
“I don’t want to say it’s been a surprise because we know how good he is.”
DeSales was 12-7 before playing Linden-McKinley on Feb. 20. Seeded second in the Division II district tournament, the Stallions will play host to 15th-seeded Centennial or 16th-seeded Horizon Science on Feb. 26 in a second-round game.
Murphy’s comment on efficiency hit home with Watson, a Davidson recruit who has heard the same message from his future college coaches. Through 19 games, Watson was shooting 55.5 percent from 2-point range and 34.7 percent on 3-pointers, and averaged 6.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.6 steals.
“You can take a lot of shots but the thing is making them and I like to make the shots I take. That’s what efficiency means to me,” Watson said. “You have to know when to shoot and when not to shoot. It’s a ‘we’ shot, not a ‘me’ shot.”
Watson, who had fallen short of 20 points just once this season through 19 games and scored at least 30 three times, had 1,543 career points before Feb. 20. He passed 1971 graduate Steve Fields into second place during a 51-33 win at Hartley on Feb. 2 and now has his sights set on Nick Kellogg, a 2010 graduate who finished with 1,654 points.
“It means a lot,” Watson said. “I am ready for (defensive attention) but it’s a team thing. My team has helped me out a lot.”
Centennial and Horizon Science played their first-round game Feb. 23.
The second-round winner will play ninth-seeded Columbus South, 10th-seeded Granville or 18th-seeded Licking Valley in a district semifinal March 3 at the home of the better seed. District finals are March 6.
DeSales defeated Granville 65-42 on Feb. 10.
A lighter schedule the past few weeks, one which included four scheduled games from Feb. 10-20, gave the Stallions a chance to practice and focus on themselves after 14 games in 30 days from Jan. 6-Feb. 5.
“We hadn’t had a practice that wasn’t been a pre-game practice in probably four weeks,” Murphy said. “We have to keep getting healthy and cleaning things up, but I’m proud of our guys. …
“It’s been a different year. We’ve been taking it day-by-day for a long time. I never dreamed we’d get all those games in. We’re (12-7) against I think the toughest schedule in the district and one of the toughest schedules in the state in Division II. We’ll be ready (for the postseason).”
returns to state
While her boys teammates prepared for the postseason, girls wrestler Rebekah Oladokun celebrated winning the 137-pound championship in the inaugural girls district tournament Feb. 14 at Olentangy Orange.
Oladokun went 3-0, defeating Orange’s Alicia Coleman by forfeit in the final as the top four finishers in each weight class advanced to state Feb. 20 and 21 at Hilliard Davidson. Oladokun, who was sixth at state at 143 last year, had wrestled only three matches against girls this season entering state, according to assistant coach Ryan Munday.
“That can get discouraging, but she’s excited,” Munday said.
The rest of the Stallions, who finished 2-1 in the CCL with a 40-39 win over Watterson on Feb. 11 at Hartley, will participate in a Division II sectional tournament Feb. 26 and 27 at Licking Valley.
The top four finishers in each weight class advance to district March 5 and 6 at Wilmington.
“We want to go in healthy. We’ve done all we can with the limitations this year but it’s been a battle,” Munday said. “Our big four (Owen Eagan at 120, Zack Lopez at 126, Aidan Rush at 132 and Max Shulaw at 195), we expect big things out of them. I think we could sneak somebody else through to district; it just depends on our draw at sectional and how we push through that. We could definitely get more than four guys to district. Our main four, we expect them at district and we expect all four of them to get through to state, too.”
finish title sweep
The boys and girls bowling teams both finished the regular season as COHSBC-D Division champions, and the girls also captured the CCL title.
Both teams went 5-0 in the COHSBC-D, and the girls were 6-0 in the CCL. They finished the regular season 7-3 and 8-1 overall, respectively.
The girls participated in a Division I sectional tournament Feb. 18 at HP Lanes, one day before the boys sectional at the same facility. The top 16 teams and top 16 individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to district Feb. 22 at HP Lanes.
At district, the top four girls teams and top four individuals not on qualifying teams and top three boys teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to their respective state tournaments March 5 and 6 at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl.