Michelle Chavanne saw the win total of her Grandview Heights High School girls basketball team increase by 10 games last season. Now the second-year coach wants to see her team increase its offensive production.
The Bobcats improved from 2-19 overall in 2011-12 to 12-12 last season. They have three two-year starters back and lost only one player from a year ago to graduation.
"We lost Connor Skeen to graduation, but everyone else is back," said Chavanne, whose team opened Nov. 26 against Fisher Catholic. "Three of our players -- juniors Ali Lachey, Megan McCauley and Grace Palmer -- started for the past two seasons, but all of the players we have back have a lot of varsity playing time."
The Bobcats reached a Division III district semifinal last season before losing to top-seeded Africentric 80-22. They finished sixth (3-9) in the MSL-Cardinal Division behind champion Liberty Union (11-1).
Grandview now competes in the MSL-Ohio with Bexley, Columbus Academy, London, Madison Plains, West Jefferson, Whitehall and Worthington Christian.
Palmer, a 5-foot-7 forward, led the Bobcats in scoring (7 points per game) and rebounding (8.1 per game) last season and was honorable mention all-district and all-league. McCauley, a 5-5 point guard, was second-team all-league after averaging 6.6 points, 3.4 steals and 2.5 assists. Lachey, a 5-9 guard, averaged 4.6 points and 4.3 rebounds.
Guards Emma Bulla (3.2 points per game) and Madison Osborne (2 ppg) and forwards Morgan Taylor (2.9 ppg, 3.4 rebounds) and Allison Voelker (3.1 ppg, 3.4 rebounds) -- all juniors -- also played major roles last season.
"All of our players have gotten better individually and they really look like they understand reversing the ball and being patient on offense," Chavanne said. "They understand the timing and when to attack the defense."
The Bobcats gave up only 35.6 points per game last season, but they scored only 33.7.
"We played great defensively last year, but you have to be able to score more than we did," said Chavanne, whose team plays its home opener Monday, Dec. 2, against Amanda-Clearcreek and opens league play Wednesday, Dec. 4, at Madison Plains. "We're working more on the fast break and in transition. Hopefully, we can stop opponents with our half-court defense and get some passing outlets.
"We have looked good scoring in scrimmages, but in the end we lack a pure shooter. Emma Bulla has looked good from the outside, but we'll have to see what we can do in games."
Grandview has no seniors.
The roster is rounded out by freshman Dareth Douglass, a 6-0 center "who runs the floor well and is athletic," Chavanne said. "Our juniors have the experience needed to help her transition into varsity basketball."
Experience to aid bowling teams
The boys and girls bowling teams return more experience than squads previously led by fifth-year coach Tony Thivener.
The boys return five letterwinners and the girls have four letterwinners back from a team that qualified for its first district tournament.
"The girls went to district last season and we expect them to do well because of that," Thivener said. "We have five guys back, and four of them have two or three years of experience.
"Because of that experience, I don't have to spend as much time working with the bowlers. They know the pacing and they know their marks. They know the little things, so now they just have been working to improve their games."
Seniors Hannah Jones, Sarah Kaltenecker, Kate Lewis and Josie Pommering competed at district last season, when the girls team finished 5-7 overall.
Rounding out the girls roster are senior Hanley Baird, junior Meredith Cox, sophomore Zoe Wenk and freshmen Emma Berlin and Maddie Taylor.
Senior Jacob Bottorf is a captain along with Jones. He returns to the boys team along with seniors Austin Lewis, Max Pierson and Jon Sterneker and junior Tristen Rose.
Also on the boys roster are junior Vinny Martina, sophomores Joey Gerrick and Jannick Hiltrop and freshmen Jake DeNiro, Alan Field, Ben Hecker and Jackson Spainhoward.
The boys team finished 10-6 overall last season and tied Watterson for fifth (10-5) in the 16-team Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-Central Division, which was won by Ready (14-1). The girls team finished eighth (3-7) of 11 teams behind champion Ready (10-0).
The Bobcats have moved to the COHSBC-South.
"We don't know what to expect because teams change from year to year, but we know Briggs usually has a good team and we see them when we (both) practice (at Columbus) Western (Bowl)," said Thivener, whose teams open Tuesday, Dec. 3, against Groveport at Columbus Western Bowl in a league match. "But I hate to change (leagues) because the kids have gotten to know the teams (from the COHSBC-Central) and made friends. Bowling is as much of a social sport as it is a competition. I guess you could look at this as a way for the kids to make even more friends."
Mattingly takes over wrestling program
Marc Mattingly was approved as wrestling coach by the school board Nov. 19.
He previously assisted his brother, Mike Mattingly, who is coach at Uniontown Lake. He is a graduate of Lake and Miami University and wrestled for both schools.
"Marc is a community member and he has some pretty good wrestling experience," athletics director Jim Hall said. "He's from northeast Ohio and the wrestling in that area is really top-notch."
Mattingly replaces two-year coach Chad Davis, who resigned last month.
Cantrell hired as softball coach
Also Nov. 19, the school board approved Michael Cantrell as softball coach.
Cantrell, a 2009 graduate of Mechanicsburg, replaces one-year coach Ron Cameron.
"Michael is young and brings lot of energy to the program," Hall said. "He has lot fast-pitch experience. We like that he plays fast-pitch and is not just someone who has converted from baseball."
Cantrell has been an assistant at Springfield Kenton Ridge, Marysville and Westerville North.