Westerville Central rolls past host Olentangy Liberty

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Westerville Central 59, Olentangy Liberty 40
After being trounced by Pickerington High School North for the second
time this season, the Westerville Central High School girls basketball
team held an unscheduled team meeting. The Warhawks have responded with two impressive wins since, their latest a 59-40 win against host Olentangy Liberty on Tuesday. Central improves to 12-4 overall following the non-league game and the Patriots stand at 8-8.


COLUMBUS – After being trounced by Pickerington High School North for the second time this season, the Westerville Central High School girls basketball team held an unscheduled team meeting.

The Warhawks have responded with two impressive wins since, their latest a 59-40 win against host Olentangy Liberty on Tuesday.

Central improves to 12-4 overall following the non-league game and the Patriots stand at 8-8.

“It was rough,” Central senior Maxine Ohakim said of her team’s 69-28 loss at Pickerington North on Jan. 8. “We had a team meeting, we cleared a lot of things up. After that team meeting we had a game against Central Crossing (54-27 win last Friday) and that’s when we really came together as a team just like we did (on Tuesday), so that was good.”

The Warhawks will return to OCC-Central Division action on Friday when they visit Delaware Hayes. Central (5-2) is second in the division behind Pickerington North (7-0).

Liberty stands at 4-2 in the OCC-Capital and will travel to New Albany on Friday.

“After the Pickerington North game (Jan. 8), our biggest goal was to play together as a team,” Central coach Andy Jados said. “To be positive, to play together as a team and to win every game the rest of the season. We’ve kind of looked at each game that way. As far as us starting over we’re 2-0. Our next game is Delaware and we’re just trying to keep moving toward that goal and just keep winning each game.”

The Warhawks have dominated foes in their wins, winning by an average margin of 19.4 points.

Central has been outscored by an average margin of 27 points in losses to Pickerington North 70-41 and 69-28, Hilliard Davidson 62-50 and Dublin Scioto 79-53.

“Those three teams if you look at the district poll they’re second (North), fourth (Scioto) and ninth (Davidson),” Jados said. “Those are three of the top teams in the area. Obviously, we should have competed a little bit better, but those are our only losses. We didn’t handle adversity real well and things kind of snowballed on us a little bit, but hopefully we’ve been working on our mental approach to the game and to stay positive throughout all four quarters.

“You have to be good teammates to each other and support each other.”

Ohakim, the much-heralded transfer from DeSales, powered the Warhawks against Liberty with a game-high 20 points and 11 rebounds.

Ohakim, who is heading to Ohio University, dominated inside, helping the visitors build to their lead in the second half.

“When she gets the ball (inside) and she’s one on one, she’s very tough to stop with just one person and sometimes even two,” Jados said. “As a team, I thought we started to do a much better job screening for her, looking for her and getting the ball to her. She’s a heck of a player.”

Junior center Dara Toman added 12 points before fouling out in the fourth quarter.

Talisha Hodge, a transfer from Westerville South, scored nine points.

Kelly Westervelt chipped in with 10 rebounds.

Alexa Conners and Nikki Kontely led Liberty with seven points apiece.

Central never trailed and led by as many as 23 points late in the game.

Toman scored the game’s first four points and Hodge connected on a 3-pointer to help the Warhawks build an early 9-2 lead.

Kontely nailed a 3-pointer and Cassie Swafford scored inside to help the hosts close to within 13-9 after one quarter.

The Patriots pulled within 19-17 in the second quarter, but that would be the closest they would get.

Ohakim ignited an 8-0 spurt by scoring inside and the Warhawks led 27-20 at the half.

Ohakim scored on a nice pass from Jessica Wooden, another transfer from Westerville South, and Hodge hit two 3-pointers to help Central build a 41-25 advantage midway through the third quarter.

Ohakim’s pretty pass to Annie-Rae Dura inside helped the Warhawks build their largest lead of the game at 57-34 late in the game.

“We really started to play a lot better as a team in the second half,” Jados said. “We got the ball in the post, we started to slow down a little bit and kind of played our tempo instead of theirs. We could have played better, but I thought we had a pretty good second half and that’s a team that is very talented.”

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