Through five games, the Grove City boys High School basketball team showed it could score.

Through five games, the Grove City boys High School basketball team showed it could score.

Twice the Greyhounds totaled 94 points, and last Friday they beat Lancaster 75-53. Coach Greg Waits knows the success on offense begins with success on defense.

"We're pressuring passing lanes, getting deflections, and those deflections turn to steals and steals turn into easy two-on-one or three-on-one baskets for us," Waits said. "Our defense is giving us a chance to get it going offensively."

Grove City's transition from a zone to man-to-man defense has worked out well.

"With all the guards we have, all the kids are pretty much equal," Waits said.

"Getting out and pressuring people and getting after it is more suited to our team this year. It may change next year, but you do the best with the particular team you have that particular year. I'm sold on (man-to-man) and as a program we're sold on it."

The players also have bought into the change in defensive philosophy.

"They know the harder we play on the defensive end, the easier things are on the offensive end," Waits said. "They love playing defense. It sounds crazy, but it's true."

That love for defense started in practice.

After five games, opponents were averaging 62.5 points, with only one team surpassing 70. The result of the high-powered offense and stingy defense began with a simple mantra that Waits and his coaching staff stress to the players before practice and before, during and after games.

"Defend, rebound, run and share the ball," Waits said.

Sharing the ball is not a problem. The Greyhounds have had at least nine players score.

Ryan Cosgray leads Grove City at 25.3 points per game followed by Jon Smith at 19.0 and Heath Jones at 11.3.

"We all grew up playing basketball together," guard Aaron Murfin said. "No one looks to be the star."

"Our kids would rather make a nice pass for an assist than score a point," Waits said. "That's the fun thing about these kids. Bottom line is they want to go out, play hard and win."

Waits has established a hard-working atmosphere in practice, so hard in fact that players find themselves in such good shape, the game is easy.

"Ever since the summer, coach had us go so fast and work our butts so hard the games are fun," Murfin said.

"The games seem easy."

Grove City is in good shape with three wins to start out the OCC-Ohio Division schedule. If Grove City is to keep this pace up for the remainder of the season, it will begin with those intense, up-tempo practices.

"It's a long ride yet but the way we practice, our coaches do a great job getting the kids playing hard in practice," Waits said. "If our practices are any indication, we're looking forward to the rest of the season."

At a glance

Below are recent results and coming schedules for the Central Crossing and Grove City boys basketball teams:

CENTRAL CROSSING

Dec. 16 -- Home vs. Jonathan Alder postponed. No makeup date had been announced.

*Last Friday -- Lost to Hilliard Davidson 60-49. Max McDonald scored 12 points.

Last Saturday -- Defeated Groveport 69-68 (OT). Bryce Barnes led with 23 points and Blake Barnes added 17. ShaJuan Grace had 16.

*Last Tuesday -- Played Upper Arlington

Tuesday -- Home vs.Columbus West

Of note: The Comets were 3-2 overall and 1-2 in the OCC-Central before last Tuesday.

*OCC-Central game

GROVE CITY

*Last Friday -- Def. Lancaster 75-53. Ryan Cosgray scored 29 points and Jon Smith added 21.

*Last Tuesday -- Played Newark

Tuesday -- Home vs. Cincinnati Oak Hills

Of note: The Greyhounds were 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the OCC-Ohio before last Tuesday.

*OCC-Ohio game