“The girls had a little bit more of a belief that they could battle with the big teams,” he said.
It’s been the culmination of hard work for the Irish (4-2, 2-2 OHC South), who’ve steadily improved since winning two games in Peterson’s first season. Last season the Irish won six regular season games, the most at Central in seven years.
Now the Irish believe they’re ready to compete in the OHC South for the foreseeable future. They believe they can reach 12 to 15 victories this winter.
“From the beginning of the season, that’s what we’ve been talking about,” Peterson said. “We really believe that we can go for the title this year with the squad we have. Most teams have one to two players on the court you have to watch for. We believe we have five players on the court that have to be accounted for.”
The key has been preparation in practice for the young Irish, who start one junior and have no seniors on the roster due to injuries.
“We’re really paying attention to the details,” Peterson said. “The girls showed (Saturday) they’re learning how to win.”
The Irish are led by sophomore guard Abbigail Peterson, who ranks among the OHC leaders in both scoring (16.8 points) and steals (5.2) per game. Freshman post player Mallory Mullen is scoring 11.7 points per game, while also leading the OHC in rebounding at 11.7 boards per game.
The Irish travel to Madison Plains at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
Tough slate: After falling to Centerville 70-34 on Dec. 12, Springfield (4-2, 1-2 Greater Western Ohio Conference National East Division) hosts two conference games against National West Division leaders Northmont (Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.) and Lebanon (Saturday, 11:30 a.m.).
The Thunderbolts are 4-4 after beating Fairborn 71-50 on Monday night. Lebanon is 5-3 and beat Beavercreek 44-37 last week.
Springfield sophomore guard Mickayla Perdue is leading the 20-team GWOC in both scoring (18.7 ppg) and steals (5.7 per game). Wildcats sophomore teammate Jada Bass is also tops in the conference at 5.5 assists per game and senior Trinity Morton-Nooks is also first in blocks (2.8 per game).
Champaign Showdown: OHC North Division leaders will face off on Saturday night in what could be a battle of unbeaten league teams when West Liberty-Salem (4-3, 2-0) travels to Mechanicsburg (4-3, 3-0 OHC North).
The Indians have won three straight after starting the season 1-3. Mechanicsburg hosts Fairbanks on Thursday.
The Tigers, who the title last year, started the season 0-3, but have won four straight, including back-to-back win over powerhouse programs Fort Loramie and Anna. They end the year with four tough OHC road games at West Jefferson (5-2, 3-2 OHC) on Thursday, Mechanicsburg on Saturday and at Catholic Central on Dec. 29.
Hot streak: After starting the season 0-2, Tecumseh has won four straight, averaging 87.3 points per game, while allowing 33.3 points per game.
The Arrows travel to Shawnee (4-3, 0-2) at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Entering Wednesday’s games, every team in the Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail Division had a winning record.