As the Central Crossing High School boys basketball team watched Dublin Coffman pull away in the second half on their OCC-Central Division game on Jan. 21, coach Mike Cavey focused on his bench, looking for a combination that might help end his squad's recent struggles.

As the Central Crossing High School boys basketball team watched Dublin Coffman pull away in the second half on their OCC-Central Division game on Jan. 21, coach Mike Cavey focused on his bench, looking for a combination that might help end his squad's recent struggles.

The visiting Shamrocks went on to win 52-30, sending the Comets to their fourth loss in their last five games. The contest marked Central Crossing's lowest offensive output of the season.

"If somebody would have told me that Dublin Coffman was going to score 52 points, I would say we're going to be in the game," Cavey said. "We've struggled shooting the ball all year. There have been some games where we at least put a quarter or two together where we shoot it well, but throughout the year we've just struggled."

Against Coffman, Central Crossing shot 25.7 percent from the field and was shooting 38.5 percent through 13 games.

Central Crossing's leading scorers - Clay Luebben (6 points), Jeff Davis (2) and Ryan Kelley (0) - combined for just eight points against Coffman.

"The past couple of games some of the guys that we've really been counting on just haven't given us what we need from them, what they're capable of doing," Cavey said. "We gave some younger kids some playing time. We were able to see what some other guys can do because we were just searching for something that was going to spark us offensively."

Guard Marc Russell, who began the season on junior varsity, received some playing time in the fourth quarter, and the freshman responded with six points.

"We're really excited about what he's going to be able to do," Cavey said. "He's going to be a really good one for us in the next couple of years."

Cavey said he will continue to experiment with different combinations as the regular season winds down.

Central Crossing travels to Hilliard Davidson on Friday, Jan. 28, for an OCC-Central game. The Wildcats beat the Comets 56-44 on Dec. 17.

"We're going to have our work cut for us, but if we have the right team effort and our kids decide this is the game they want to get up for, then obviously this is a game that we feel we can get."

Luebben was leading the team in scoring through 13 games, averaging 11.4 points. Davis and Kelley both were averaging 9.5 points.

Davis and Kelley were the team's top rebounders through 13 games, averaging 5.5 and 5.2 rebounds, respectively.

"We're a lot better than what we were last year, but we still have a little bit more progress to go," Luebben said.

Grove City entered the week looking to end its recent struggles, as the Greyhounds had lost five of their previous six games before playing Groveport in an OCC-Ohio game on Jan. 25.

Four of the five losses were by seven points or fewer.

The Greyhounds will look for a regular-season sweep of Lancaster when the teams meet on Friday, Jan. 28, in a league game at Grove City. The Greyhounds beat the Golden Gales 53-46 on Dec. 17.

"Lancaster does the right things," coach Greg Waits said. "They play hard. They're playing a lot harder than what they have in the past and they're a team that is getting better every week. They're a team that you know you have to be ready for. If you're not ready for them, they will sneak up and beat you."

Waits said his team's main goal remains the same as it prepares for the Division I district tournament.

"All the losses are tough, but we're proud of our kids," he said. "We keep battling every day, keep getting a little better and we're playing with more energy every game. Our goal is to continue to get a little better every day and be playing our best basketball at the end going into the tournament. We're not quite there yet, but we're getting there."

In a 65-60 loss to Reynoldsburg on Jan. 21, the Greyhounds let a second-half lead slip away.

Grove City led 34-27 in the third quarter and 48-43 heading into the fourth before the Raiders rallied. Sophomore Brandon Bapst led the Greyhounds with 15 points and senior Bobby Brown scored 11.

Waits also was pleased with the efforts of junior point guard Jimmy Gravett and senior forward Zach Layne-Wolfe against Reynoldsburg.

"Our point guard, Jimmy Gravett, did an outstanding job for us," Waits said. "Bobby Brown and Zach Layne-Wolfe combined for 19 rebounds, so those two kids did a great job on the boards and Jimmy did a great job running our offense. Jimmy brings a lot of energy to our team. We love everything he does."

Senior Jake Green led the team in scoring through 13 games, averaging 11.7 points, followed by Brown (9.6).

AT A GLANCE

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

CENTRAL CROSSING

*Jan. 21 - Lost to Dublin Coffman 52-30

*Jan. 25 - Played Hilliard Darby

*Jan. 28 - At Hilliard Davidson

Feb. 1 - Home vs. Hilliard Bradley

Of note: The Comets were 4-9 overall and 2-6 in the OCC-Central before Jan. 25.

*OCC-Central game

GROVE CITY

*Jan. 21 - Lost to Reynoldsburg 65-60

*Jan. 25 - Played Groveport

*Jan. 28 - Home vs. Lancaster

Of note: The Greyhounds were 5-8 overall and 3-5 in the OCC-Ohio before Jan. 25.

*OCC-Ohio game