Westland Roundup: Girls basketball team learning lessons

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group
Westland girls basketball coach Nina Napolitano talks to her team during a 54-15 loss at Westerville Central on Jan. 8. Napolitano said the struggling Cougars will continue to work on the fundamentals.

Despite her team trailing by a large margin late in the game, Westland girls basketball coach Nina Napolitano remained active on the bench, guiding her players in the closing seconds of a 54-15 loss at Westerville Central on Jan. 8. 

“There’s no reason to stop coaching,” said Napolitano, who is in her second season. “The more they learn about basketball, the more they learn in game situations, the better they’ll be and the more we’ll grow. These kinds of losses are challenging and hard, but I’m hoping we learn from them and we get better.” 

The Cougars entered the week of Jan. 4 looking to earn their first win of the season with games against the Warhawks and Central Crossing. 

Instead, they struggled while Central and the Comets earned their first wins. 

Hannah Kershaw led Westland against Central, scoring eight points. 

Westland lost junior guard Taylor Bronson for the season when she broke her left wrist during a 45-30 loss to Central Crossing on Jan. 5. 

The Cougars, who were 0-4 overall and 0-2 in the OCC-Ohio Division before playing Pickerington North on Jan. 12, play host to New Albany on Jan. 20. 

“We’re going to get back to work and work on fundamentals,” Napolitano said. “We’re going to continue to work on passing (and) ball-handling. That’s what we need to do to get better.” 

Westland’s David Ivan Medina faces off with Groveport’s Jace Nincehelser in a 145-pound match Jan. 7. The Cougars lost to the visiting Cruisers 36-30.

Wrestling team

enjoys busy day 

Competing with just seven athletes, the wrestling team received valuable mat time in the five-team Central Crossing duals Jan. 9. 

Westland finished 1-3 with the win coming against Logan, 42-18. 

“This was a good day,” coach Brent Allerding said. “Most people got four matches. You just have to take matches when you can get them. There was definitely some good competition. We got punched in the mouth a little bit early on, but we finished strong.” 

Trent Jude (120 pounds), Bryson Palmer (126), Jakob Hurley (160) and Jacob Mullens (195) each had pins to lead the Cougars past Logan. 

“The top kids look good,” Allerding said. “Their minds are where they need to be.” 

Westland lost to Central Crossing 46-28, Grove City 54-27 and Mount Orab Western Brown 36-17. 

“We’ll be able to win duals if there’s double forfeits, but we’re definitely more of a tournament team,” Allerding said. “We’re given up too many weight classes for the duals.” 

The Cougars lost to Groveport 36-30 on Jan. 7. Westland was scheduled to open OCC-Ohio action against Gahanna that day, but that match was postponed as the Lions paused their season because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. 

Tyler Jude (106), Palmer (132), Hurley (152) and Mullens (195) won by pin against Groveport. 

Westland visits New Albany on Jan. 21. 

Boys basketball team

falls to Warhawks 

The boys basketball team lost 86-59 to visiting Westerville Central on Jan. 8. 

Drew Panning led the Cougars with 17 points. Michael Dingess scored 14 and Sohn McGee added 12. 

Derrick Bogay, who missed the first four games because of COVID-19 concerns, returned to the team and scored seven points. 

"Having Derrick back is a big boost," coach Rob Hayes said.

Westland, which was 0-5 overall before playing Patriot Prep on Jan. 13 and 0-3 in the OCC-Ohio before playing Grove City on Jan. 15, visits Groveport on Jan. 19.

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank