The Westerville South
boys basketball team quickly is becoming more than just the little engine that could.
Competing last Saturday at the Ohio Play By Play Classic at Capital University, the diminutive Wildcats — whose tallest key player is 6-foot-2 — earned a 60-55 victory over Life Center Academy (Burling, N.J.) and 6-foot-8 senior LaQuinton Ross.
The Ohio State signee, who is ranked No. 7 among MaxPreps' Top 100 in the 2011 class, was held to 16 points after entering the game averaging 21 points and 11 rebounds.
South senior Traevon Jackson
, a Wisconsin signee, finished with just 10 points but spent most of the game defending Ross as his team won its 39th consecutive regular-season game.
Life Center Academy's John Johnson, a Pittsburgh signee, finished with 17 points as his team fell to 12-5 overall.
Westerville South outscored Life Center Academy 17-5 during the second quarter and led the entire second half.
"It wasn't (Jackson's) offense that made him special, it was his defense," Westerville South coach Ed Calo said. "The offense goes through (Ross) every play and I thought Traevon did a phenomenal job."
Jackson averages 17 points, six rebounds and more than four assists to lead a balanced approach that the Wildcats have used to help them overcome their lack of size. Senior guard Ben Jones
made two 3-pointers and scored a team-high 12 points against Life Center Academy, and junior guard Isiah Rogers
(11 points), senior guard Demarkeo Lyshe
(10 points) and junior guard Stephen O'Daniel
(nine points) also contributed.
"You always try to look for what the soul of the team is, and we have a collective soul," Calo said. "Our kids share the basketball. I think it's a special team because our kids know their roles.
"(The Play By Play Classic was) just another opportunity for us to learn a little more about ourselves. We played a very good team and held them to 19 points in the first half. I thought our defense was outstanding. Our kids executed."ST. EDWARD WRESTLERS TOP GRAHAM
In a matchup of teams ranked among the top five in the nation, the St. Edward (Lakewood)
wrestling team edged Graham Local (St. Paris) 27-25 on Saturday. Eagles sophomore Anthony Stanley (103 pounds) defeated Chase Crabtree 5-3 on an overtime takedown in the final match. Both teams won seven matches, but St. Edward won the final three.ROBINSON WINS 500TH GAMEMaumee Valley Country Day (Toledo)
boys basketball coach Jim Robinson earned his 500th career victory when his team beat Bettsville 64-43 on Jan. 18. The Hawks improved to 8-0 on the season with a 60-39 victory over Cardinal Stritch (Oregon) last Friday. Robinson, who is 0-10 in district finals, has coached at 10 high schools over the last 38 yearsTOP PERFORMERS* Stevie Taylor, Lincoln (Gahanna) boys basketball:
During a 68-43 victory over Chillicothe last Saturday in the Ohio Play By Play Classic, the senior guard poured in 28 points and earned team MVP honors. Taylor is an Ohio University-signee.* Jalen Robinson, Northland boys basketball:
Another standout performer at the Ohio Play By Play Classic. Robinson, a 6-foot-8 post player who committed to West Virginia as a sophomore but de-committed during the offseason, finished with 25 points and was named the Vikings' MVP after leading them to a 77-69 victory over St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron).* Ameryst Alston, Canton McKinley girls basketball: Junior Ameryst Alston made 14 of 16 shots from the floor and finished with a career-high 32 points as her team beat Lake (Uniontown) 82-24. The Bulldogs, who are first in the Division I state poll, improved to 13-0 with the win.COMING THIS WEEK* St. Ignatius (Cleveland) vs. Walsh Jesuit (Cuyahoga Falls), hockey:
The St. Ignatius ice hockey team will face one of its toughest remaining regular-season tests when it plays Walsh Jesuit at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Kent State University. In the state poll released Jan. 19, St. Ignatius was ranked second and Walsh Jesuit was among those schools receiving votes.* Jimmy Wood Invitational, wrestling: New Lexington
will look to defend its title as the host school for the Jimmy Wood Invitational tournament, which will be held Saturday. St. Edward also is among the field of expected competitors after it finished fifth (188 points) at the 20-team event last year behind champion New Lexington (344).* Pickerington North at Reynoldsburg, girls basketball:
The Reynoldsburg girls basketball team will play host to North (Pickerington) in a key OCC-Ohio Division game Friday. The Raiders were sixth in the Division I state poll released Jan. 19 and are 14-1, while the Panthers are 11-4 overall. Reynoldsburg beat North 52-38 on Dec. 17.RECRUITING NEWS
Brookhaven (Columbus) girls basketball player Jasmine Johnson
verbally committed to play for Wright State on Sunday, according to coach Reggie Lee. Johnson, who is averaging 9.2 points and made second-team all-City League-North Division last season, is a 5-7 junior guard. BRIEFLYLincoln (Gahanna)
senior boys soccer player Wil Trapp recently was named the 2010 high school boys soccer National Player of the Year by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. Trapp was first-team all-state the past two seasons and was the Division I state Player of the Year last season. An Akron recruit who also is a member of the U.S. U-18 men's national team, Trapp scored 19 goals as a senior and helped lead the Lions to a regional runner-up finish. … According to ThisWeekSPORTS.com, McKenzie Hufford has stepped down as Upper Arlington (Columbus) field hockey coach. She led the Bears to a 42-24-6 mark in four seasons, including a 10-8 finish last fall.Jarrod Ulrey covers Central and Northern Ohio for MaxPreps.com. He covers prep sports for
ThisWeekSPORTS.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.