Notebook: Westerville North Warriors boys basketball team starts to find rhythm

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
North’s Semaj Council defends Canal Winchester’s Abdoulaye Diallo earlier this season. The Warriors had won four of five games before playing South on Jan. 29. They were 6-6 overall and 5-3 in the OCC-Capital.

The Westerville North boys basketball team finally has started to get in sync as the season moves toward the Division I district tournament.

The Warriors lost their first three games, but had won four of their last five before playing Westerville South on Jan. 29 in an OCC-Capital Division contest.

“I think we’ve gotten in a few practices, and we’d missed a lot of practice time early,” said coach Shan Trusley, whose team was 6-6 overall and 5-3 in the OCC-Capital before facing the Wildcats. “That repetition really helped.

"We’ve been shooting the ball at a high percentage and making more shots, and we’re handling the ball better. The kids are feeling more comfortable, and the game is starting to slow down for them. All of those things have helped us.”

Camden Ledford had 15 points, eight rebounds and five steals to lead North past Dublin Scioto 49-42 on Jan. 26 in OCC-Capital play. Caleb Iheukwu added 10 points and six rebounds, and Noah Lawrence had nine points and three assists.

“Noah and Cam have done a good job for us, but the other kids have really stepped up as well,” Trusley said. “Carter Reese, Caleb Iheukwu and Andrew Scurlock have added a lot. Things have really started to slow down for them, and they’ve been really good for us.”

The Warriors outscored host South 16-8 in the fourth quarter of a 69-66 league victory Jan. 23. Ledford was 3-for-5 on 3-point shots and scored 24 points. Iheukwu and Lawrence both had 16 points and Reese had nine points, all coming on 3s.

Trusley said the unsung hero was Scurlock, who scored only two points but turned in a lockdown defensive performance on South’s Jaiden Guice.

“I’m not sure if Andrew Scurlock scored against South, but his defense from the second quarter on was really, really good,” Trusley said. “Jaiden Guice had 11 in the first quarter and only had nine the rest of the game. That was a difference-maker for us. (Scurlock) does a lot of little things that don’t make it into the stat line.”

The Warriors are scheduled to play back-to-back OCC-Capital road games Feb. 5 against Big Walnut and Feb. 6 against Delaware. They play at New Albany on Feb. 9.

•The North boys and girls bowling teams were looking for their first victories before facing Olentangy on Jan. 28.

Both squads were 0-9 overall, 0-8 in the COHSBC-A and 0-4 in the OCC-Buckeye.

Sophia Soisson led the girls team through nine matches with an average of 184.3, which is tops for either North squad. Megan Holmes was averaging 149.3 and Marvet Hejazin was at 119.2.

Cole Wright (139.1) led the boys team, followed by Alex Workman (136.9) and Ronan LaRoche (132.3).

The Warriors were scheduled to close the regular season Feb. 1 against Westerville Central.

–Scott Hennen

Central's Taylor Hinder competes on vault during the Worthington Kilbourne Invitational on Jan. 23. Hinder led the Warhawks by finishing seventh in the all-around.

•The Central gymnastics team has had an abbreviated schedule because of COVID-19, but coach Shea Stammen hopes some late regular-season meets will help prepare the Warhawks for the postseason. 

Central competed in the 23rd annual Worthington Kilbourne Invitational on Jan. 23, finishing seventh (109.075) behind first-place Dublin Jerome (140.325). 

Central was second in its session behind Big Walnut (111.7). 

“It’s been a challenge this year, so every meet is a small victory,” Stammen said. “We don’t have much experience, but they just keep plugging away in practice and trying to up their start values and land some harder skills. We still have things to fix, but our scores are going up.” 

Taylor Hinder led the Warhawks by finishing seventh in the all-around (30.55) in session one, while Anna Priedeman was 11th (26.975) and Mal Lewis was 12th (26.7). 

The OCC-Central meet will be held Feb. 20 at Thomas Worthington. Central will then compete at district Feb. 27 at Kilbourne, with the top three teams advancing to the state team meet March 5 at Hilliard Bradley. The top eight finishers in each event and the all-around qualify for the individual state meet March 6, also at Bradley. 

–Frank DiRenna 

•The Central swimming and diving teams also have faced an abbreviated schedule, but coach Ron Staab remains optimistic as they prepare for the postseason. 

With the OCC league meets canceled, the Warhawks will prepare for a Division I sectional Feb. 12 (girls) and 13 (boys) at the Westerville Community Center.  

“It’s been a crazy up-and-down year, but we’re preparing for our championship season with much anticipation of getting as large a team as we can to the district meet, and also take some swimmers to the state meet,” Staab said.

–Frank DiRenna 

•The South boys bowling team remains in contention for COHSBC-A and OCC-Buckeye titles. 

The Wildcats were 5-2 overall and in the COHSBC-A before facing Marysville on Jan. 28 and 4-1 in the OCC-Buckeye. 

South lost to Olentangy Orange 2,203-2,118 on Jan. 27. Ethan Gary led the Wildcats with a 411 two-game series, followed by Dominic Candella (400). 

The girls team was 3-3 overall and in the COHSBC-A before playing Delaware on Feb. 3. South is 2-2 in the OCC-Buckeye. 

The Wildcats defeated Orange 1,964-1,591 as Taylor Hughes (374) and Jessica Applegate (361) led the way. 

–Frank DiRenna

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