Coach Ray Corbett was cautiously optimistic as he began his 27th season leading the Grandview Heights High School boys basketball program.
The Bobcats return seven players who made starts last season for a team that finished 16-6 overall after losing to Ready 45-42 in the second round of the Division III district tournament.
"We have a lot of kids back who started for us, and I like the potential of this group," said Corbett, whose team opened Dec. 3 against Grove City Christian. "We still have work to do, but we have the makings of a nice group. We have decent depth and return kids with varsity experience, and the new kids are showing a lot of enthusiasm. This is a good group."
Junior forward Hunter Schmalz (6-foot-5) was honorable mention all-district and second-team all-MSL-Cardinal Division last season after averaging 8.8 points and 3.0 rebounds.
Also back are 6-3 senior forward Luke Miller (honorable mention all-league; 7.6 points, 6.1 rebounds), 6-3 senior forward Nick Schopis (4.3 points, 3.8 rebounds), senior Keenan Burson (5-9, guard), senior Nick Eaton (6-0, guard), senior Ben McCullough (5-9, guard) and senior Tim Murphy (6-2, forward). Other letterwinners include senior Sam Claypool (6-0, guard) and junior Marky Moore (5-10, guard).
"In the last few years, we played eight or nine kids, but I don't know if that's us this year," Corbett said. "We like to play a lot of players and force the other teams to play their bench because of the pace of the game. We want to be able to develop that again."
Rounding out the roster are juniors Ike Dunaway (6-0, guard), Spencer Hawk (6-4, forward) and Joe Pinney (5-9, guard).
"Right now, it may be early, but we need to have more consistency," Corbett said. "The kids are solid one day and they aren't the next. Maybe it has to do with having about a month of practices with no games, I'm not sure. Maybe when we start playing, the attention to detail will be there."
Grandview was second (12-2) in the MSL-Cardinal last season behind Licking Heights (13-1).
The Bobcats have moved to the MSL-Ohio, joining Bexley, Columbus Academy, London, Madison Plains, West Jefferson, Whitehall and Worthington Christian.
"Our expectation of the league is that it will be a step up," said Corbett, whose team opens league competition Saturday, Dec. 7, at Madison Plains. "We're going into a league with solid programs that have good basketball tradition. Each night, we're going to have to be ready to go out and play."
New coach working with six wrestlers
Marc Mattingly has taken over a wrestling program that currently has only six athletes, but that hasn't diminished his enthusiasm.
"It's my first head coaching position, and even though I have been away for a while, I have been looking for a reason to get back into the sport," said Mattingly, who was an assistant at Academy in 1995-96. "My wife, Chris, told me that if I could find the time to get back in it, I could coach. I'm glad to be back because once you start wrestling, you always love it."
Mattingly also 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.
He replaced Chad Davis, who resigned last month after two years with the program.
"I have lived in Grandview for 20 years, have four kids in Grandview schools and I have kept up with the program," said Mattingly, who works at NetJets. "I know (the Bobcats) have a good tradition and I would like to continue what coach (Andy) DiSabato had going here for so long."
The Bobcats return a state qualifier in sophomore Brendan Fitzgerald, who went 1-2 at 120 pounds in last year's Division III tournament and finished 37-8. Fitzgerald will compete at 132 or 138.
Also back are seniors Sam Callison (182) and A.J. Pinyerd (heavyweight). Pinyerd was a district qualifier and finished 29-12 a year ago, while Callison was 15-8 at 182.
Junior Ben Jump (132/138) is back after finishing 13-20 at 138, while returning sophomores Benton Bair (138/145) and Preston Roberson (195) round out the roster. Bair was 14-18 at 125 last season and Roberson was 2-13 at 195.
"The kids come to practice and they work hard," said Mattingly, whose team opens Saturday, Dec. 7, in the Madison Plains Invitational. "They have been putting in the time and doing the work needed to get better. They have a good work ethic."
Grandview finished third (2-2) in the MSL-Cardinal last season behind Liberty Union (4-0) and West Jefferson (3-1). The Bobcats now compete in the MSL-Ohio.
Girls basketball team wins first two games
The girls basketball team opened with a pair of victories, defeating Fisher Catholic 26-21 on Nov. 26 and Amanda-Clearcreek 40-11 on Dec. 2.
Freshman center Dareth Douglass led the Bobcats against Fisher Catholic with seven points and junior forward Morgan Taylor scored six. Junior guard Emma Bulla had five points and junior forward Grace Palmer scored four.
"Fisher (Catholic) played a 1-3-1 (zone defense) the entire game, so it was hard to get inside looks, but we did better with that in the second half," coach Michelle Chavanne said.
Grandview trailed 11-3 after one quarter.
"Our man(-to-man) defense really looked good throughout the game and we forced some bad shots," Chavanne said. "We kept (the Irish) shooting from the perimeter all game by having good help-side defense and we pressured the ball well."
Against the Aces, junior point guard Megan McCauley had 11 points and junior guard Ali Lachey and Palmer both scored eight.
The Bobcats opened MSL-Ohio play Dec. 4 against Madison Plains.