Defense has been a key component for the Grandview Heights High School girls basketball team in its surge in the MSL-Ohio Division.
The Bobcats had won seven consecutive games, including four in a row in the league, and were 11-4 overall before playing Wellington on Jan. 21. They are third in the MSL-Ohio at 6-3, behind Worthington Christian (9-1) and West Jefferson (6-2).
Grandview plays host to West Jefferson on Friday, Jan. 24. The Roughriders won the first meeting 54-44 on Dec. 10.
"I'm really looking forward to playing West Jefferson because we're playing a lot better than we were the first time we played," coach Michelle Chavanne said. "(The Roughriders) really have a balanced team. They have an offense with two (post players) and three guards and good backups. They don't have a bad matchup because they are all sound players."
The Bobcats have been able to shut down opponents in their last 10 games. Since losing to Madison Plains 46-41 on Dec. 12, they have not given up more than 37 points.
"We have done a good job of focusing on our opponent's top scorer and making them go to another option," Chavanne said. "Megan McCauley has been pivotal for us with five steals per game. She plays well in zone and man defense and she has quick hands."
But to shut down opposing offenses, a team needs to be sound as a defensive unit.
"We have been playing well in our man and zone defenses and I haven't really been worried about the matchups," Chavanne said. "If there is a breakdown (defensively), we have had players rotating to help out. We have been playing good help-side defense."
Grandview's offense also has been on the upswing, averaging 48 points in the four games before playing Wellington after five consecutive games of failing to reach 40.
On Jan. 14, Grandview defeated Madison Plains 47-37 as McCauley led with 10 points. Ali Lachey and Morgan Taylor both scored eight and Emma Bulla and Dareth Douglass added seven apiece.
Grace Palmer had 13 points in a 49-28 league win over London on Jan. 18. Douglass and McCauley both scored 10 and Allison Voelker added eight.
Boys basketball team continues torrid pace
The boys basketball team was 10-2 overall and 6-1 in the MSL-Ohio before playing Madison Plains on Jan. 21.
The Bobcats moved within one-half game of first-place Whitehall after defeating the Rams 56-53 on Jan. 17. Whitehall was 7-1 in the league before playing Columbus Academy on Jan. 21.
It was Grandview's third consecutive league victory by three points or fewer. The Bobcats defeated Bexley 67-65 on Jan. 11 and Worthington Christian 51-49 on Jan. 13.
"We're fortunate -- and I'm knocking on wood when I say that -- because we have made the shots when we needed to down the stretch," coach Ray Corbett said. "But maybe that has a lot to do with our having kids with experience. They have been in these situations before and that's helpful."
Hunter Schmalz led Grandview with 19 points against Whitehall and Ike Dunaway had 13. Nick Schopis scored 11 points and Luke Miller had seven.
"Our execution was better, but it's not where we want it to be," Corbett said. "We were able to get (defensive) stops and rebounds. Right now, that's a good combination.
"I thought we did a good job of keeping them to one (shot). We did our best to stop their penetration. Those were keys for us."
One night later, the Bobcats had 11 players score in a 66-38 win over Amanda-Clearcreek. Schmalz led with 20 points, Schopis had 10 and Sam Claypool and Miller both scored nine.
Grandview will get its chance to avenge its lone league loss Saturday, Jan. 25, at home against London. The Red Raiders won the first matchup 62-59 on Dec. 13.
Bowling teams pick up league victories
Before competing against Columbus West on Jan. 21, the boys bowling team was 4-6 overall and in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-South Division and the girls squad was 4-4 overall and in the league.
The boys defeated Columbus East 1,826-1,666 on Jan. 16 at HP Lanes. Jacob Bottorf was medalist with a 374 series that included a 203 high game. Max Pierson rolled a 350 series with a 172 game, and Austin Lewis had a 298 series with a 162 game.
The girls defeated East 1,516-1,283. Kate Lewis was medalist with a 306 series (160 high game), and Sarah Kaltenecker had a 298 series with a 172 game. Josie Pommering had a 262 series and Hannah Jones had a 257 series.
On Jan. 15, Kaltenecker was medalist with a 294 series as the girls defeated Independence 1,424-1,293. Emma Berlin had a personal-best 275 series.
Bottorf led the boys with a 392 series that included a 203 game in a 1,987-1,898 win over the 76ers.
Swim teams prep for league meet
The swimming and diving teams compete in the MSL meet Saturday, Jan. 25, at Columbus Academy.
Last season, the boys finished third (147) of 14 teams behind champion Granville (299) and the girls were fourth (112) of 16 teams behind champion Granville (421).
For the boys, the 200-yard freestyle relay of Tucker Rinehart, Zak Graham, Willy Kramer and Josh Smith finished second (1 minute, 37.17 seconds) and the 400 free relay of Smith, Peter Bonn, Kramer and Rinehart also was second (3:42.04).
The girls 400 free relay of Ellie MacLeod, Mary MacLeod, 2013 graduate Julie Menke and Hanley Baird was second (4:18.51) and the 200 free relay of Ellie MacLeod, Menke, Maddie Bills and Halli Bair was third (1:51.27).
Wrestling team defeats Red Devils
The wrestling team defeated Marion-Franklin 31-30 on Jan. 15.
Benton Bair (138 pounds), Sam Callison (170), Ben Jump (132) and A.J. Pinyerd (heavyweight) all won by pin and Brendan Fitzgerald (126) won by forfeit. Preston Robson (195) lost by pin.