Upper Arlington Roundup: Boys basketball squad welcomes extra prep time

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
Junior Nick Heath and the Upper Arlington boys basketball team are hoping to tip off their season Dec. 18 with an OCC-Central Division game at Olentangy Orange.

Upper Arlington boys basketball coach Tim Casey did not regard a three-week delay to the season as extra preparation time as much as his team regaining the time it lost during a difficult November.

Five days into the preseason, the Golden Bears entered a two-week quarantine related to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, and they did not return to the gym until Nov. 23 — two days before their originally scheduled opener at Watkins Memorial but three days after the district postponed all games until at least Dec. 18 to coincide with an OCC decision and Franklin County’s 28-day stay-at-home advisory.

“This is basically giving us back the time we lost,” said Casey, whose 20th season is scheduled to begin Dec. 18 with an OCC-Central Division game at Olentangy Orange. “The silver lining to being pushed back is that we have more time to prepare. In that respect, we’re in a better position for sure. We were going to play (Watkins Memorial) with just five days of practice, and we’ll play as many games as we can because we don’t know what the season will bring.”

UA returns its top scorer in 6-foot-3 junior guard Quinn Corna from last season’s team that went 14-9 overall and 8-2 in the league to tie Dublin Coffman and Marysville for first place. Corna averaged 13.5 points and 2.6 rebounds.

Also back is 5-10 junior guard Geoffrey Schoeny, who added 8.6 points, 2.8 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game but will miss the beginning of the season because of an injury.

Juniors Luke Eriksen (6-3, forward) and Nick Heath (6-3, forward/guard) also return. “Quinn’s a little bigger and a little stronger. His practice habits have really improved and he has an excellent approach,” Casey said. “(Heath) may be one of the best pure shooters I’ve ever coached and we’ve had some good ones like Max Martz, Dane Goodwin and Brian Sullivan (all of whom went on to play Division I college basketball). He values his work on the defensive end, too, but it hasn’t come as easily. He’ll get there.”

Rounding out the roster are seniors Tyler Grimm (6-4, forward), Coleman Kegler (6-1, guard) and Deno Tzagournis (5-10, guard), juniors Owen Gawel (5-10, guard), Dino Gesouras (5-9, guard), Drew Graves (6-4, forward), John Mollman (6-3, forward), Jack Purcell (5-10, guard) and Jacob Schneider (6-2, forward) and sophomore Joey Harder (5-10, guard).

Senior Magnus Entenmann, a 6-8 forward and post player who averaged 6.5 points and 3.1 rebounds, transferred to the International Sports Academy in suburban Cleveland in March.

“At times during the season, I think we’ll be pretty good,” Casey said. “We might have those stretches when we don’t play as well, but this is a hard-working group. They’re a resilient group. Overall, we’re still kind of untested, but we have a lot of potential and upside.”

Upper Arlington's Jake Badgeley battles Dublin Coffman's Seth Shumate during a match last season.  Badgeley, a junior, will compete at 195 pounds after qualifying for district a year ago.

Shanklin among leaders

for wrestling team

The wrestling team graduated three of its four Division I state qualifiers, but with one back in senior Jacob Shanklin in addition to senior Jake Thomas, 10th-year coach Matt Stout maintains high expectations.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a rebuilding year. It’s a reloading year,” Stout said. “We had a really good group of sophomores that didn’t get to wrestle varsity, so now they’ll get their action or at least be in the hunt for varsity.”

Shanklin (138/145 pounds) and Thomas (120) combined for 73 wins last year, as Shanklin went 39-10 and Thomas was 34-10. Shanklin finished third at 132 at district, but state was canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Thomas was a state alternate in 2019.

“Just the way the season ended last year, it was super exciting to qualify but then to have the (state) tournament canceled the day before was kind of annoying,” Shanklin said. “It put a damper on things but I kept on lifting and running, just basically trying to focus on getting a lot stronger. I’ve been stretching because I feel like that was one of my weak points, not being as flexible as I needed to be.”

Other returnees include senior Rafe Lynd (heavyweight) and juniors and district-qualifiers Jake Badgeley (195), Ayden Boothby (132) and Frankie Mulligan (126/132). Senior Isa DiBenedetto finished third at 116 in the inaugural girls state tournament and saw some varsity time at 113 last season.

According to Stout, other contributors will include seniors Jason Ferola (170) and Jed Fisher (160), juniors Mason Huber (182), Joe Saalman (145), George Sauter (152) and Garrett Widman (152), sophomores Collin Ansel (220), Ankit Gynawali (120), Daniel Jang (113), Vinnie Melragon (145), Michael Piccinnini (113), Luke Stricker (160) and Danny Toohey (138) and freshmen Gavin Cenci (106) and Andrew Myers (106).

UA also won the Region 6 team dual tournament and went 4-1 in the OCC-Central, second behind Coffman (5-0). While the Bears’ schedule was still being finalized entering the week, they begin league competition Jan. 7 at Hilliard Bradley.

“With this extra practice time, it’ll be probably a lot of higher intensity for a longer duration,” Shanklin said. “That will be better for conditioning and getting technique back down.”

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave

BOYS BASKETBALL

Coach: Tim Casey, 20th season

Top players: Quinn Corna, Owen Gawel, Nick Heath, John Mollman and Geoffrey Schoeny

Key losses: Max Buckley, Magnus Entenmann, Liam Keethler and Fred Wilkes

Last season: 14-9 overall

2019-20 OCC-Central standings: Dublin Coffman, Marysville and Upper Arlington (all 8-2), Central Crossing (4-6), Hilliard Davidson (2-8), Westland (0-10)

2020 postseason: Lost to Canal Winchester 60-55 in first round of Division I district tournament

WRESTLING

Coach: Matt Stout, 10th season

Top athletes: Ayden Boothby, Rafe Lynd, Frankie Mulligan, Jacob Shanklin and Jake Thomas

Key losses: Daniel Beam, Jesse Bowers, Mason McHugh, Miles Pearson, David Soghomonyan and Quentin Zimmer

2019-20 OCC-Central standings: Coffman (5-0), Upper Arlington (4-1), Marysville (3-2), Westland (2-3), Davidson (1-4), Central Crossing (0-5)

2020 postseason: First at sectional, seventh at district, lost in quarterfinal of state team tournament