At 6-foot-5, Kristen Mesler provides a strong presence inside for the Grove City High School girls basketball team.

At 6-foot-5, Kristen Mesler provides a strong presence inside for the Grove City High School girls basketball team.

However, both Mesler and coach Dale Corbett believe the junior center has room to grow as a player.

"I have been told that I'm not aggressive enough; I'm too nice on the court," said Mesler, who was averaging 6.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.8 blocks through 15 games. "You can always be more aggressive."

Mesler, who began playing basketball competitively in the fourth grade, played junior varsity as a freshman before splitting time between varsity and j.v. last season.

She has been in the starting lineup this year and has made improvements to her game as the season has progressed - much like her team, which was 4-11 overall and 1-8 in the OCC-Ohio Division before playing Groveport on Jan. 24.

"She's really a late maturing player in basketball," Corbett said of Mesler. "The first time she really got serious about basketball was last year. Before that, it was something to do - you're 6-foot tall, so maybe you ought to play.

"But she really started putting some time in last year and she is 100 percent better than what she was a year ago. Her ceiling is really high as far as getting better and she's just scratching the surface."

Mesler had 16 points, 14 rebounds and seven blocks in a 64-62 win over Groveport on Dec. 9. She had 16 points, 16 rebounds and six blocks in a 62-48 win over Licking Heights on Dec. 22.

Mesler works on her game when she isn't studying or playing trumpet in the school band. She first joined a school band in sixth grade.

"The band at Grove City is obviously one of the best in the state of Ohio if not the nation, and it's very time consuming," Corbett said. "For somebody who can do a major sport and also be in the band and keep her grades the way she does, it's a juggling act."

Mesler credits Corbett and band director George Edge for providing support in her activities.

"I can generally find time to do both," Mesler said. "Both my band director and my basketball coach are pretty lenient season-wise about which way I can go."

Grove City earned its fourth win of the season by beating Marion-Franklin 58-56 in the Erwin Crenshaw Classic on Jan. 14 at Westland. It was the Greyhounds' second win this season over Marion-Franklin, which they also defeated 67-43 in the opener Nov. 29.

Grove City played the rematch without sophomore forward Megan Darst, who had another school commitment. Mesler missed the second half with an illness, and junior guard Miranda Frase sustained a head injury in the first half.

Frase returned against Reynoldsburg on Jan. 20 and scored eight points as the Greyhounds lost 81-35 to the Raiders, the top-ranked team in last week's Division I state poll.

Pickerington North, another OCC-Ohio team, was ranked second in the state.

"We're still making a lot of progress," Corbett said after the Reynoldsburg game. "Even though we got beat up pretty good, they're No. 1 in the state for a reason. We competed, but it's a tough league to be rebuilding in. What we do like is everybody is still coming out and playing hard and having fun, and we are improving."

•Central Crossing was looking to bounce back from its second loss of the season when it played Hilliard Darby on Jan. 24 in an OCC-Central game.

The Comets lost a league game to Dublin Coffman 40-34 on Jan. 20.

Central Crossing had defeated Coffman 43-40 on Dec. 6.

In the rematch, Coffman outscored Central Crossing 12-2 in the fourth quarter.

"We just didn't put any balls in the basket in the fourth quarter," coach Neil Hohman said. "We played as hard as we could. If we could have just made a couple more shots the outcome could have been different."

Olivia Davis led the Comets with 13 points.

Coffman entered the week leading the league at 8-1, while Central Crossing and Upper Arlington were tied for second at 7-2. All three teams played Jan. 24.

"I think we're still one of the top teams in our OCC division," Hohman said. "We have (four) league games left (beginning Friday, Jan. 27, at Hilliard Davidson), so it's going to be a tough road the rest of the year. We have a lot of good teams to play yet."