Whitehall-Yearling Roundup: Rams boys basketball team learns valuable lessons

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group
Kaden Macklin was one of 10 seniors for Whitehall, which finished 12-11 overall and 6-3 in the MSL-Ohio. The Rams lost their postseason opener Feb. 26, falling 59-48 to Hilliard Davidson in the second round of the Division I district tournament.

With the season winding down for the Whitehall-Yearling boys basketball team, senior guard Teddy Brown remained engaged, diving for loose balls and directing the offense in the closing moments of a 59-48 loss to Hilliard Davidson in the second round of the Division I district tournament. 

“That’s how they raise us here, play to the buzzer,” said Brown, who led the Rams with 19 points in the Feb. 26 setback against the visiting and 25th-seeded Wildcats. “I’ve been raised like that my whole life. My dad told me to play to the buzzer.” 

Whitehall, which was seeded 17th and had a first-round bye, finished 12-11 overall.

“We couldn’t get over the hump,” coach Drew Williams said. “Games come down to free throws, layups and turnovers and can you get another rebound. We didn’t do it and they did. We shot (44) percent (8-for-18) from the free-throw line and they shot (81) percent (21-for-26). They made layups and we missed layups. It’s been symptomatic of us this year.” 

Brown averaged 12 points, four assists and two steals and was named second-team all-MSL-Ohio Division. 

Senior forward Kei’Von Wiggins averaged a team-high 15 points and shared the team lead in rebounding with senior forward Royal Sibley at six per contest. Sibley averaged 14 points and three assists. 

Wiggins was first-team all-league and Sibley was second-team all-league. 

Senior guard Kaden Macklin averaged eight points, two assists and two steals. 

“The (10) seniors have some bright opportunities coming up and we’re going to make sure that they cash in on that,” Williams said. “We connected as a family. We win as a group and we lose as a group. They’ve learned and they’re better for it.” 

Seeded second in the MSL-Ohio tournament, Whitehall lost to top-seeded Worthington Christian 58-48 on Feb. 12 in the final. 

Whitehall went 6-3 in the league to finish second behind the Warriors (8-0), who were the top seed in the Division III district tournament.

“We were good enough to beat anybody and we played poor enough that we could lose to anybody as well,” Williams said. “We got through 23 games in a pandemic. There’s a lot of abnormalities. The kids were consistent. They were here. We only had one COVID case.” 

Others eligible to return are juniors Nate Diaz (guard) and Ty Owens (guard), sophomores Ray Bagley (guard) and Elijah Hughes (forward) and freshmen Javon Austin (center) and Donald Milton (guard). 

“I’m a little hurt by the (final) loss, but I’m glad we came together as a team (this season),” Brown said. “We had some ifs and buts in the beginning of the season, but we came together. The big thing is we were able to play in this weird type of the year, this COVID year. We really appreciate being able to get that many games in.” 

Jordan leads wrestling 

team at sectional 

Junior Shea Jordan led the wrestling team in an 11-team Division I sectional Feb. 27 at Watkins Memorial, finishing third at 106 pounds to qualify for district. 

The district tournament was held March 6 and 7 at Hilliard Darby, with the top four finishers in each weight class advancing to state March 13 and 14 at Darby. 

Jordan beat Licking Heights’ Richard Storts 13-3 in the third-place match to finish 3-1 at sectional. 

Freshman Mikey Park was a district alternate after placing fifth at 113, while senior David Winegarner finished sixth at 195. 

“It wasn’t the end result we wanted for David to end his career. However, he’s always had a great attitude and we know he’ll do well in college,” coach Steve Pennington said. 

The Rams finished 11th (40) behind champion Westerville North (275). 

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

BOYS BASKETBALL

Record: 12-11 overall 

MSL-Ohio standings: Worthington Christian (8-0), Whitehall (6-3), Bexley and Buckeye Valley (5-4), Columbus Academy (3-5), Wellington (2-6), Grandview (1-8) 

Seniors lost: Jay'Saun Brown, Teddy Brown, Josiah Cartwright, De’Leon Jackson, Jaion Lowe, Kaden Macklin, Royal Sibley, Reggie Talbot, Kei’Von Wiggins and Jeremiah Williams 

Key returnees: Ray Bagley, Elijah Hughes and Donald Milton 

Postseason: Lost to Hilliard Davidson 59-48 in the second round of Division I district tournament