Notebook: Westerville South Wildcats boys basketball team hopes to overcome fourth pause
Westerville South boys basketball coach Ed Calo allowed his team to briefly celebrate his latest achievement before refocusing on the remainder of the season.
That was made more difficult, however, by the Wildcats’ fourth pause because of COVID-19.
After beating host Westerville North 55-37 on Jan. 29 for Calo’s 500th career win, South’s game the following day at Canal Winchester was postponed.
“He’s looking at 501,” senior guard Peter Pedrozo said of Calo’s mindset. “We’re just trying to get better every day and get a (win) every time we have game time. We’re preparing for every game. ... He’s not one to get into the accolades. He acknowledges them, but he’s just focused on teaching young kids to grow and to get better. That’s all he cares about.”
The Wildcats can return to practice Feb. 14.
“It’s very annoying just trying to finish out our senior season, and all this start and stopping, especially with the way we play,” Pedrozo said. “It’s fast-paced, a lot of running. These starts and stops get you out of shape and gets you out of the flow. Basketball is all about momentum and when you just cut it off, it’s like you’re starting a new season.”
South is 6-2 overall and 5-2 in the OCC-Capital Division.
The Division I district tournament draw was held Feb. 7. First-round games are scheduled for Feb. 23.
“It’s obviously going to hurt us that we won’t be able to practice and teams are still getting games and they’re still practicing together,” Pedrozo said. “We can’t use that as an excuse. Some people blame losses on referees or the other team got lucky, we can’t say we were locked down. That’s not a valid excuse. We just have to be tougher. We have to take advantage of the situation and work hard.”
•The North wrestling team won its second consecutive league championship by defeating host Delaware 44-21 on Feb. 4 in an OCC-Capital dual.
The Warriors finished 7-0 in the league, with Delaware placing second (6-1). Last season, they won the OCC-Buckeye championship.
It was North’s ninth league title overall and the fifth for coach David Grant.
Nico Candido (182 pounds) and Gabe Ohle (120) pinned their opponents, and Connor Euton (152) and Jake Gooding (126) won by technical fall.
Nate Morse (145) and Edwin White (132) won by major decision, and Mitchell Gillam (220) won by decision. Evan Butcher (113) and Christian Hunt (106) won by forfeit.
The Warriors next compete in a Division I sectional tournament Feb. 27 at Watkins Memorial.
•The South wrestling team expects a strong showing in the postseason.
The Wildcats will compete in an 11-team Division I sectional Feb. 27 at Marysville. The top four finishers in each weight class advance to district March 6 and 7 at Hilliard Darby.
South has been led by David Javier (120), Fuanyi Fobellah (138) and Tyler O’Reilly (heavyweight).
Javier was 6-7 on the season and 101-13 for his career before the Wildcats’ quad at Olentangy Berlin on Feb. 6. Fobellah was 13-0 this season, and O’Reilly was 12-3.
Javier wrestled at Class A Elkin in North Carolina as a freshman and Westerville Central last season. He and Fobellah qualified for state last winter before the tournament was canceled because of the pandemic.
“If David can get to 113 (pounds), he might have a chance (to return to state),” coach George Crooks said. “He’s coming from a different school. He was comfortable at Central, did really well there, so he’s just starting to become part of our team. I’d love for Fuanyi to get back (to state). He has a really good chance. He still has to win those tough matches.
“It’s not easy getting to the state tournament. That’s what makes it so special.”
Ethan Stofel (182) was 7-3, Orlando Lizama (132) was 7-4 and Nikita Kitaev (113) was 7-5 before Feb. 6.
The Wildcats were 3-8 overall. They are 1-2 in the OCC-Capital.
•Central wrestling coach Jerry McSwords has been pleased with his team’s progress.
The Warhawks were 11-9 overall before facing Olentangy on Feb. 4 and are 2-2 in the OCC-Ohio. They close their league schedule Feb. 11 against visiting New Albany and compete in an 11-team Division I sectional Feb. 27 at Newark.
“We are making progress every week and have some standout performances from our seniors on the team,” McSwords said. “Gary Steele, Tate Sterling, Logan Moore and Josiah Mair all have been leading by example and fighting in every match that we have. C.J. Spinosi (182) is shaking some rust off after not wrestling last year, but is constantly improving.”
Moore (170) was 22-3, Mair (220) was 21-4, Steele (152) was 19-3 and Sterling (160) was 16-9 before Feb. 4.
“My coaching staff is doing a great job with the kids and most importantly we are enjoying our time together with the kids and their parents at these events,” McSwords said.
•The North swimming and diving teams had numerous double-winners in a sweep of Gahanna on Jan. 29.
Gabe Charles, Colin Hudnell and Hayden Yeager all won two individual events to lead the boys past the Lions 110-48.
Charles won the 100-yard freestyle (52.83 seconds) and 200 free (1:54.12), and Hudnell was first in the 50 free (23.97) and 500 free (5:19.72). Yeager won the 100 breaststroke (1:05.66) and 100 butterfly (56.76).
Madelyn Bosler, Kayla Simashkevich and Allie Thompson were double-winners for the girls, who defeated Gahanna 121-47.
Bosler won the 100 breast (1:11.6) and 200 individual medley (2:21.84), and Thompson was first in the 50 free (26.43) and 100 free (57.1). Simashkevich won the 200 free (2:08.77) and 500 free (5:44.64).
Also placing first were Annika Colvin (100 backstroke, 1:04.83) and Jayci Kacsandi (100 fly, 1:06.28).
North competes in a Division I sectional Feb. 12 and 13 at Westerville Community Center. There are no automatic berths to the district meet Feb. 21 at Bowling Green. The top 24 in individual events and the top 16 relays advance based on sectional times.
•The Central girls basketball team will look for continued improvement as it closes out the season.
The Warhawks were 2-16 overall and 1-6 in the OCC-Ohio before playing Gahanna on Feb. 5.
Central defeated Westland 54-15 on Jan. 8 and Central Crossing 52-26 on Jan. 26.
“We’re starting to see the girls play in situations getting into the fourth quarter, so that’s good to see with such a young team,” coach Jermaine Hester said. “The girls are ... starting to learn how to play together, jell as a team and compete. That’s all we’re asking them to do at this stage of the season.”
Through 18 games, freshman Kate Yaussy was averaging a team-high 12.4 points and was tied with Avery Vukmanic for the team lead in rebounding at 3.8 per game.
Central is seeded 40th in the Division I district tournament and will visit third-seeded Reynoldsburg in the first round Feb. 16. The winner plays 36th-seeded Eastmoor Academy on Feb. 19.