The Central Crossing High School boys basketball team enters the season with what third-year coach Mike Cavey believes are realistic goals.

The Central Crossing High School boys basketball team enters the season with what third-year coach Mike Cavey believes are realistic goals.

Those goals, according to Cavey, include finishing at least .500 in the OCC-Central Division for the first time and winning the program's first district tournament game.

The Comets should receive an early test on their progress. They begin the season by facing four league opponents, including defending co-champions Dublin Coffman (in the opener Tuesday, Dec. 6, at home) and Upper Arlington (on Dec. 20 at home).

"It's tough because three of our first four games are against teams that are probably the top three teams in our league," said Cavey, whose team also plays at Hilliard Davidson on Dec. 16. "We have a young team. It would be nice to have a few games under your belt before you went straight into league play, but it is what it is. The good thing is we're improved this year and playing some of these teams that might have the old mindset when they play us, hopefully we'll be able to catch them off-guard."

Last season, Central Crossing finished 4-17 overall after losing to fifth-seeded Pickerington North 62-47 in the first round of the Division I district tournament. The Comets went 2-12 in league play, tying Westland for seventh behind Coffman and UA (both 13-1), Thomas Worthington (9-5), Davidson (7-7) and Hilliard Darby and Worthington Kilbourne (both 5-9).

Central Crossing lost five players from last year's team to graduation. They included Ryan Kelley, who led the team in scoring at 10 points per game, and Clay Luebben, who averaged 9.7 points and 6.2 rebounds.

Luebben was special mention all-league and Kelley was honorable mention.

The Comets also lost junior point guard KyJuan Grace and 6-foot-5 junior forward/center Devan Williamson. They have transferred to Westland.

Central Crossing's top returning player should be 5-8 senior point guard Maurice Reed, who had the most starting experience last season.

Senior forward Ricky Morgan (6-2) received some starts last season.

"It's going to be a great year for our team," Morgan said. "We're looking real good. Our scrimmages are coming along good. We have a lot more teamwork and we're a lot more active this year. We're all playing real good together."

Also back is senior guard Devin Doudna (6-0), whom Cavey considers to be one of the best defenders on the team.

Sophomore guard Marc Russell (6-0) gained playing experience as a freshman and should contribute, and freshman center Matt Dwane (6-5) also should see playing time, according to Cavey.

Junior guard Tory Clark (6-1) has returned after playing in the program as a freshman but opting not to play last season.

Rounding out the team are senior guards Monte McBride (5-9), Mohamed Mohamed (6-2) and Wil Schoen (6-0), junior centers and twins Cody Hall (6-5) and Kyle Hall (6-5) and sophomore guard Mario Melucci (6-2).

"I like the team unity," Cavey said. "Our kids seem to be bonding. They seem to like each other. We're further along offensively I feel than we've ever been. The kids have really picked what we're trying to do offensively."