After the Grandview Heights High School high school boys basketball team beat Harvest Prep 63-59 on Dec. 13, coach Ray Corbett was unsure how his players would react to the praise and lofty expectations that were sure to follow.

After the Grandview Heights High School high school boys basketball team beat Harvest Prep 63-59 on Dec. 13, coach Ray Corbett was unsure how his players would react to the praise and lofty expectations that were sure to follow.

Six weeks later, it appears he has an answer.

The Bobcats won eight of their next nine and were 10-2 overall and 6-1 in the MSL-Cardinal Division before playing Berne Union last Tuesday. Among those wins was a 62-61 decision Jan. 19 over North Union, which was just outside the top 10 in the Division III state poll at the time.

"We are now a team where we're going to be getting people's best shots," said Corbett, whose team is first in the Division III area coaches poll. "We have been for the last couple weeks. I think they're getting used to it."

The Bobcats have won convincingly against the teams they were expected to beat, and they've also shown an ability to pull out games down the stretch against the tougher teams on their schedule. In games decided by five or fewer points, the Bobcats were 3-2 before last Tuesday.

Against North Union, Grandview rallied from eight points down with less than four minutes to play. The Bobcats tied the game with less than a minute left. With the game still tied and one second left on the clock, Bryan Riggs was fouled in the act of shooting. After hitting the first free throw, he intentionally missed the second to run the clock out.

"The fact that we could pull through that deficit on the road was huge for us," guard Dan Tyler said. "And it was coming off a big loss to Fisher Catholic."

Entering last Tuesday, a 57-54 loss to Fisher Catholic on Jan. 9 was the only blemish on Grandview's record since the opener, a 62-59 loss to Lucasville Valley on Dec. 6. Fisher Catholic, which is led by 6-foot-7, 230-pound center Luke Roesch, was 9-2 overall and 7-0 in the league before playing Millersport last Tuesday. Grandview will play at Fisher Catholic on Feb. 10, and Tyler and Corbett both said the key will be keeping Roesch in check. Roesch had 15 points in the first meeting.

Still, in order to keep their hopes alive for a conference title, the Bobcats also will have to win a rematch Saturday at Harvest Prep.

Entering its game against Liberty Union last Tuesday, Harvest Prep was 7-5 overall and 5-2 in the league. Harvest Prep was ranked fourth in Division IV in the area coaches poll released Jan. 16.

In that poll, Grandview was fourth in Division III. The Bobcats' success can be attributed primarily to depth and experience. Grandview has six seniors, compared to just three last season. Six players entered the year with significant varsity experience already.

The offensive balance, though, is what has separated this year's team from past Grandview squads. Seven players have scored at least nine points in a game and five averaged at least 7.5 points before last Tuesday. Tyler led the team at 12.8 points, followed by Casey Rouch (11.6), Garrett Griffin (8.2), Jonathan Ray (8.0) and Riggs (7.5).

"We're really working well together," Tyler said. "We've got a bunch of guys, all of whom can play. We trust everyone on the team with the ball, so that's really what's been our strength. It's our depth and our experience."

Corbett said the second half of the conference season should provide a much tougher test now that opposing teams have gotten a feel for what the Bobcats do. He said he's aware that this could wind up being a pretty special team, but the Bobcats won't get there without continuing to improve and adjust.

"I honestly think that if we can get better each day and get the kids to give us a good hour-and-a-half or two hours at practice, then come Friday night, we can become a pretty good basketball team," Corbett said. "We're not there yet."