Westland Roundup: Derrick Bogay gets back to work with boys basketball team

Frank DiRenna
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Westland's Derrick Bogay (facing) celebrates with Sohn McGee after scoring off a turnover during a 52-51 win at Groveport on Jan. 19. Bogay recently returned to the Cougars after sitting out because of COVID-19 concerns.

As one of just three seniors in the program and the one with the most varsity experience, Derrick Bogay was viewed as a key leader for the Westland boys basketball team entering the preseason.

Because of COVID-19 concerns, Bogay decided to leave the program after two scrimmages. 

Upon the urging of his father, Derrick Sr., Bogay returned for the Cougars’ game against Westerville Central on Jan. 8 after missing the first four contests. 

“That was hard,” Bogay said of his decision to sit out. “That was just me getting better as a person. It was because of COVID. My dad just said wear the mask around the house, so that’s what I did.” 

Bogay, a 6-foot-3 forward, remained in contact with coach Rob Hayes, who provided support and guidance while Bogay was away from the team. 

“I told him this is how I feel and I left it because I didn’t want to pressure the situation,” Hayes said. “When I was told he was coming back, I was obviously excited, but we would have been working for him whether he came back or not because we love that kid.” 

Led by Bogay, Westland earned its first win of the season Jan. 19, beating Groveport 52-51. Bogay had 16 points, followed by Sohn McGee with 15 and Drew Panning with 14.

The Cougars were 1-7 overall and 0-4 in the OCC-Ohio Division before playing Gahanna on Jan. 22. They play host to Central Crossing on Jan. 26 and resume league action Jan. 29 against visiting Pickerington North. 

With Bogay providing a spark, the Cougars led by as many as five points in the first half of a 73-50 loss at Grove City on Jan. 15. 

McGee led Westland with 19 points. 

Bogay, who is in his third season with the program, takes pride in his defense and rebounding. 

“We should have played better defense (against Grove City), especially me,” Bogay said. “I need to be the defender that I think I should be and get to my full potential. That’s just something I need to work on. ... The first thing I go into every game is thinking about defense, stopping my man, stopping my guy.” 

Panning scored 13 points,Noah Reynolds had 11 and Bogay added nine in a 54-49 loss at Patriot Prep on Jan. 13. 

Bogay said providing leadership is another key to his contributions. 

“I still have to do better,” he said. “I have to push more. I have to be tougher on my guys and they have to be tougher on me, too, if I make a mistake.” 

Hayes has been impressed with how Bogay has accepted his roles as his career progressed.

“Derrick is a really tough kid,” Hayes said. “He’s long, he’s strong and he can move pretty well, and he loves the challenge of guarding the (opponent’s) best player. He loves that challenge and I trust him, and he’s going to keep getting better at it. 

“He’s a kid that is growing still. He should be a junior. He started school early. He could still be a very good player in the future. He has such a great attitude.” 

Bogay credits Hayes for his development in the sport. 

“He’s shown me how to be more disciplined and telling me the right things to do,” Bogay said. “He’s told me where to score because I get tunnel vision really quick and that’s not good. He tells me to calm down and don’t rush. He’s helped me a lot.” 

Westland senior Bryson Palmer earned his 100th career win Jan. 14. The Cougars were 0-1 in the OCC-Ohio before facing New Albany on Jan. 21.

Palmer reaches

wrestling milestone 

Senior wrestler Bryson Palmer recorded his 100th career win with a pin of Pickerington North’s Drennen Landenberger in 3 minutes, 17 seconds at 126 pounds on Jan. 14. 

“One-hundred wins has definitely taken a lot of hard work and determination and I’m extremely happy I finally achieved it,” Palmer said. “However, I don’t plan on stopping there. It’s a great milestone to reach and I want to continue putting in the work and see just how much further it can take me.” 

Palmer and Jakob Hurley each qualified for the Division I state tournament last season, but it was canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. 

Westland lost to host North 36-25 in an OCC-Ohio match. 

“Reaching (100) wins is a big accomplishment,” coach Brent Allerding said. “We are proud of the work he’s put in and sacrifices he’s made to earn such high accomplishments.” 

The Cougars finished sixth (153) in the seven-team Licking Heights Invitational on Jan. 16 behind champion Mount Vernon (278.5). 

Tyler Jude (106) and Hurley (152) won titles. Trent Jude (113), Palmer (126) and Jacob Mullens (195) finished second, and Colby Lightfoot (138) and David Ivan Medina (145) were fourth. 

Westland was 0-1 in the OCC-Ohio before facing New Albany on Jan. 21. The Cougars will face Westerville Central on Jan. 28 at home. 

Swimming teams

open season 

After canceling several meets because of the pandemic, the boys and girls swimming and diving teams opened the season Jan. 14 against Central Crossing, Teays Valley and Chillicothe Zane Trace at the Pickaway County YMCA. 

“Though we finished last due to lack of numbers, the kids did well and won a couple of events,” coach Robert Boggs said. 

Joy Puhlman won the 200-yard freestyle (2:46.17) and Brenna Gilliam won the 100 free (1:13.36) to lead the girls team. 

“The kids were really excited to finally get to compete after so much uncertainty,” Boggs said. “They are working hard, showing up at 5:30 a.m. to get their laps in and work on technique. I can also see that they crave the social aspect and camaraderie that comes with swimming after being somewhat isolated from friends during COVID.” 

Westland has three meets remaining before competing in a Division I sectional. 

“Our goals are to just keep lowering times, stay healthy and finish in a better spot than last year,” Boggs said.

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank