The high school basketball regular season is nearing the halfway mark and the Jonathan Alder boys are right where coach Brent Cahill was hoping they’d be.
The Pioneers (7-2, 3-0 in Central Buckeye Conference) have lost two of their last three games, but considering the competition and how much his young team has grown since the beginning of the year, Cahill is more than happy with where his team sits right now.
“We’ve played well,” the coach said. “We’re young, I don’t think people realize how young we are until they watch us play. But what we have is good chemistry and guys that are working hard.”
Alder came out on the short end of a 48-41 contest against visiting Columbus South Wednesday, Jan. 3. South is one of the best teams in Central Ohio and one of the better squads across Ohio. So playing the Bulldogs tough and coming up short is nothing to be upset about.
“We put up a good fight,” Cahill said. “Their athleticism, depth and strength unfortunately caught up to us. It was one of those games where we played pretty well against a really good team.”
Alder was done in by a 16-5 scoring deficit in the second quarter.
Jacob Koenig led the team in scoring with 16 points, while Jaron Wheelbarger added nine and Henry Walker chipped in seven.
Although young, the Pioneers have more firepower offensively than they’ve had in years past and the squad is still playing its trademark defense.
“This is a very unselfish team,” the coach said. “If we can get stops we’re very good about scoring on the other end. We’ve got five or six guys capable of putting the ball in the basket. We do a good job of sharing the basketball.
“Our defense fuels our offense. We’re giving up 38 points per game or so and scoring 52. If we can continue to play defense like that it will help us transition into offense.”
Alder enters a key strength in the CBC portion of the schedule. It will host Tecumseh Friday, Jan. 5, will welcome in Bellefontaine Tuesday, Jan. 9 and will travel to Springfield Shawnee Friday, Jan. 12. All three games are scheduled to tip-off at 7:30 p.m.
“We’re 3-0 in league play with some big games coming up,” Cahill said. “If we can take them one at a time, peck away, hopefully we can stay in the race.”
JA looking to get back to league play
The Lady Pioneers (5-6 overall, 3-2 in CBC) stepped out of Central Buckeye Conference play for the holiday season and suffered a pair of losses.
The team played in a holiday tournament at Teays Valley High School and came away with a 70-54 loss to Canfield South Range and 76-71 defeat at hands of Vinton County.
In the first Dec. 29, a total of four players scored in double figures for the Pioneers, but no one scored more than 11 points.
Sydney Bourquin scored 11, while Emily Davis, Abby Jones and McKenna Huff all scored 10 points. Melissa Walbom (seven) and Corrine Parker (six) also contributed in the scoring.
The Pioneers played the undefeated Vinton County Vikings tough a day later, but couldn’t finish off the upset.
The team will be back in action Saturday, Jan. 6 with a CBC home game against St. Paris Graham, tip time is slated for 7:30 p.m.
London suffers first loss, MPHS remains winless
The Lady Red Raiders (9-1) suffered their first loss of the season Dec. 27 in the opening round of the McDonald’s Holiday Classic hosted by Greeneview High School.
London’s furious fourth quarter comeback came up just short as it fell to Greeneview 64-62.
Kaitlin Patterson (14 points), Hannah Coleman (12) and Karlie Alexander (11) led the way offensively. While Malorie Colwell (eight), Darcy Mitchell (eight) and Rachael Alexander (seven) all scored multiple baskets in the game.
London rebounded to down rival Madison-Plains 66-25 a couple days later in the tournament’s consolation game.
A total of 12 Red Raiders scored in the lopsided outcome. Rachael Alexander scored 14 points, while Patterson added 11 and Coleman chipped in nine.
Kerrigan Kelley paced the Golden Eagles (0-9) with nine points, Kati Powell chipped in six of her own.
London will jump back into Mid-State League Ohio Division play Friday, Jan. 5, with a home game against Grandview starting at 7 p.m. Madison-Plains High School will travel to Fairbanks for a Saturday, Jan. 6 Ohio Heritage Conference tilt.
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.