The first meeting between the Central Crossing and Grove City high school boys basketball teams did not feature the intra-district intensity other communities have experienced in recent years.

The first meeting between the Central Crossing and Grove City high school boys basketball teams did not feature the intra-district intensity other communities have experienced in recent years.

Perhaps it was because Grove City entered the game with just one loss and Central Crossing was winless. Perhaps it was because the outcome was decided early as the Greyhounds went on an 18-2 first-quarter run. Perhaps it was because the crowds' thoughts were more on the start of winter break than the berth of a potential rivalry.

In what seemed more like a run-of-the-mill regular-season game, Grove City beat Central Crossing 92-52 last Saturday.

"We just treated it like any other game," Grove City senior guard Kyler Ferguson said. "The game that night is the biggest game of the year. We came out and treated it like that."

Regardless of the lopsided result, Grove City coach Greg Waits was pleased because the two South-Western City Schools programs were on the court and not in the stands.

"I'm glad for the South-Western City Schools that we're playing and not watching other teams play," Waits said. "That's what makes it special for us. We're getting to play."

Ferguson and two of his teammates, Heath Jones and Mike Mayers, put their senior season on the line by staying at Grove City when no fall sports were being played.

"This is my school and I had to stick with it," Jones said. "I felt like I made a good decision."

The contest against Central Crossing was Grove City's third non-conference game against a fellow South-Western City School team. Grove City beat Westland 83-59 on Dec. 4 and Franklin Heights 90-51 on Dec. 5. The Greyhounds will play a second game against both Franklin Heights and Westland, playing the former on Feb. 9 and the latter on Feb. 13.

Grove City needed to fill five of its six non-conference games after scheduled opponents bailed on the Greyhounds in fear that the SWCS levy would not pass last November.

"It's been good to play (other SWCS) schools," Mayers said. "You know they're going to play hard and they're going to give you everything they got. You can't take them lightly even if they may not have the best record. It's something different, but games are games. At this point, we're happy to be playing."

Not only is Grove City playing, but the Greyhounds are playing well. They were 5-1 overall and 2-1 in the OCC-Ohio Division before playing Newark last Tuesday and were averaging 82 points a game. High-pressure defense employed to force turnovers is leading to quick transition baskets. The same formula was used last year when the Greyhounds won a share of the OCC-Ohio title and a Division I district championship.

"(Playing up-tempo) is what they do," Central Crossing coach Mike Cavey said. "You try and stop it and when they hit their shots, they're tough to beat."

Central Crossing played Upper Arlington last Tuesday and Toledo Waite last Wednesday before a 12-day break. Senior guard Justin Burns has paced Central Crossing's offense, averaging 16.2 points before last Tuesday.

Although the Comets were 0-6 entering the game against UA, Cavey remains positive.

"We just got to keep getting better," he said. "We have a good group of young men. It's a building process. Every time out we get a little better."

As Central Crossing searches for wins, Grove City is not content with its strong start. The Greyhounds have a 13-day break that will give them time to focus on themselves in practice.

"In past years we've always played games over the break," Waits said. "This is going to give us an opportunity to work on things to help us get better. We got a long way to go. We're not nearly where we want to be. There is a lot of room for improvement."