When the Grandview Heights High School boys basketball team earned a breakthrough 63-59 win over Harvest Prep on Dec. 16, coach Ray Corbett wasn't sure if his team would be able to match that level of effort and intensity again.

When the Grandview Heights High School boys basketball team earned a breakthrough 63-59 win over Harvest Prep on Dec. 16, coach Ray Corbett wasn't sure if his team would be able to match that level of effort and intensity again.

Over the next three months, however, it seemed the intensity never slipped, continuing through a 78-72 overtime loss to Piketon in a Division III regional final last Saturday.

"The effort was outstanding," Corbett said. "The only thing we didn't do (last Saturday) was finish. And we had a couple opportunities to do it and we just didn't get the job done. But there were eight or nine things that took place in the last 2:30, and if any of those things go in our favor, we're playing in the final four."

The Bobcats weren't able to catch the break they needed as Piketon closed a 10-point gap in the last two and a half minutes. In overtime, Grandview went cold from the field as Piketon pulled away.

Dan Tyler led Grandview with 20 points, and Casey Rouch and Johnathan Ray had 10.

Among the out-of-the-ordinary events from the end of regulation was a 3-pointer with 2:02 left by Piketon's Jared Vulgamore, who entered averaging 3.0 points with a total of one 3-pointer on seven attempts. Piketon coach Jeff Lisath said he knew someone on his team would need to step up like Vulgamore did in order for his team to get past Grandview.

"Even though we were down 10, I was telling the guys to remain positive," Lisath said. "Jared came in and gave us the spark we needed."

The Bobcats finished 21-4 to tie the program record for wins, set in 1998-99 when the team also went 21-4. The Bobcats reached a regional final for the third time, and just the second time as a Division III team. Grandview reached a Division IV state semifinal in 1997-98.

Grandview also won a share of the MSL-Cardinal Division title for the first time, going 12-2 to tie Harvest Prep and Fisher Catholic for first ahead of West Jefferson (7-7), Licking Heights (6-8), Liberty Union (5-9), Millersport (1-13) and Berne Union (1-13). The last league title came in 1999, when Grandview won the BAC.

"It was absolutely amazing," said Ray, a senior. "(The season) was something I know I'm never going to forget. I'm just glad that I was part of it."

The Bobcats will lose six seniors, all of whom made significant contributions. Rouch, a starting forward, led the team at 13.9 points per game, followed by Tyler, a starting guard, at 13.0. Garrett Griffin started at guard and was third on the team at 8.0 points per game. Bryan Riggs started in the post and played a key role defensively, particularly in a 45-25 win over Fisher Catholic on Feb. 10.

Ray saw significant action at guard, often as a starter, and had 10 points in the regional final.

Steven Daniel-Hamberg missed much of the season with an injury but returned to contribute in the postseason as a backup in the post.

"What's going to be missed in my mind is the passion that a number of these seniors have for the game," Corbett said. "A lot of guys come around and they enjoy the game, but it's sort of a social event. But these guys, they're probably in the back yard playing right now. That's what makes it enjoyable. When guys enjoy it as much as I enjoy it and our coaching staff enjoys it, then you know it means something to them when they go out there and lay it on the line."

Four key players are expected to return. Junior Ben Sheets started at guard this season, and juniors David Geygan and David Satterthwaite saw significant time at guard as well.

Junior Jay Wells contributed in the post and will be relied on heavily in that position next season.

Junior guard Ryan Myerholtz and freshman guard Oliver Rouch split time between junior varsity and varsity.

At a glance

•Record: 21-4 overall, 12-2 (first) in MSL-Cardinal

•Seniors lost: Steven Daniel-Hamberg, Garrett Griffin, Johnathan Ray, Bryan Riggs, Casey Rouch and Dan Tyler

•Key returnees: David Geygan, David Satterthwaite, Ben Sheets and Jay Wells