Whitehall-Yearling Roundup: Rams boys basketball team set sights on MSL title, postseason success
Whitehall-Yearling boys basketball coach Drew Williams has witnessed several positive aspects as his team continues its pursuit of another MSL-Ohio Division title and prepares for the Division I postseason.
The Rams led Groveport for most of the game before pulling away in overtime for an 80-65 win in the One Westerville Martin Luther King Jr. Basketball Classic on Jan. 18 at Westerville North.
“First of all, we just want to play,” Williams said. “Secondly, I was going after anybody that was considered to be upper echelon and we’ve been able to do that. We’ve been able to hold our own. Even in some of the games that we’ve lost, we’ve been very competitive. That builds character.”
Whitehall led by as many as 13 in the third quarter. Led by Kei’Von Wiggins, the Rams outscored Groveport 15-0 in overtime.
“This gives us a chance to compete in a pandemic, so I don’t get too upset about it,” Williams said of losing the lead. “I’m happy they won. They’re a great group of kids and they got a chance to compete, so I don’t complain about it.”
Wiggins scored a game-high 24 points, including seven in overtime.
Teddy Brown added 23 points and Royal Sibley had 19.
“We just tried to stay together, stay connected and stick to the game plan, and do what we had to do to get the (win),” Sibley said. “We attacked the basket (in overtime), something we should have been doing the whole game and we played better defense.”
Whitehall was 8-5 overall and 2-0 in the MSL-Ohio Division before playing Grandview on Jan. 21. Last season, the Rams shared the league championship with Worthington Christian at 9-3.
The win against Groveport was Whitehall’s second consecutive victory at North as they beat the Warriors 75-56 on Jan. 15.
Brown scored 24 points, Sibley had 17 and Wiggins added 10.
“Our first couple of games were rough, but we’re starting to click now,” Sibley said. “I like playing the top teams in the area. It makes us better.”
The Rams improved to 4-0 in games decided in overtime by beating Pickerington North 53-51 on Jan. 19 at home.
Brown and Wiggins each scored 15 points.
Whitehall has its sights on a league title, with a key game at home against Worthington Christian on Jan. 29.
The Warriors were ranked second in the Division III state poll released Jan. 18.
The Rams also have league contests with Bexley on Jan. 30 and Buckeye Valley on Feb. 3.
A league tournament at the end of the regular season will help determine a champion.
“We can give teams matchup problems and plus at any given time, I can put five guys on the floor who can handle the ball,” Williams said.
Girls basketball team
turns in strong efforts
Girls basketball coach Quentin Taylor also has been pleased with his team’s performances despite a losing record through nine games.
Whitehall was 4-5 overall and 2-1 in the MSL-Ohio before playing Worthington Christian on Jan. 22.
“I have to give my girls props for coming to fight and once we get in that (district) tournament, my goal is to be the lowest seeded Division II team to win the district,” Taylor said. “We’re going to do it.”
The Rams bounced back from a 48-41 loss to Division I Westerville North on Jan. 18 to beat Columbus Academy 45-41 on Jan. 19.
Jewel Watkins led Whitehall with 17 points followed by Ry’Yair Smith with 10.
The Rams gave North a challenge before the Warriors pulled away as part of the One Westerville Martin Luther King Jr. Basketball Classic.
Watkins scored 18 points and Charjae Brock added 15 to lead Whitehall. Brock missed most of the fourth quarter with an injury to her right knee, and Taylor said she could miss approximately two weeks.
“That was a great high school basketball game,” Taylor said. “It’s learning woes for us right now. It’s a whole new team. These girls are playing Division I teams to the end.”
The wrestling team has received strong performances from several individuals.
Whitehall, which lost 45-24 to Licking Heights on Jan. 14, was 1-6 overall and 1-1 in the MSL-Ohio before facing Grandview on Jan. 20.
Damion Black won by pin in 1 minute, 27 seconds at 120 pounds against Licking Heights.
Before facing Grandview, Black was 4-2, Shea Jordan (106) and Mikey Park (113) were each 4-3 and Burton Solomon (195/220) was 3-3.
“We’re improving each week, and it’s showing our true talent,” coach Steve Pennington said. “I do believe we’ll peak at the right time, sectionals. The kids are working hard and seem to be having fun, so the learning is coming a little easier now. We’re looking forward to the rest of the season.”