Senior guard Ben Whitaker senses a breakthrough for the Grove City Christian School boys basketball team.

Senior guard Ben Whitaker senses a breakthrough for the Grove City Christian School boys basketball team.

The Eagles, who lost five of six games to open the season, have shown improvement since 2012 began, including a pair of wins over MOCAL-foe Madison Christian.

"I feel like as the season is going on we're growing and we're learning our strengths and weaknesses, and we're finally starting to play together," Whitaker said. "The wins aren't coming, but at least we're playing the games tight."

Coach Chris Timlin expects to receive a gauge of his team's progress when it plays host Thursday, Feb. 2, to Fairfield Christian.

"Fairfield right now is probably one of the top three (Division IV) teams in the Central District and they probably have one of the top players in any division," Timlin said. "I'm sure (Steven) Carpenter could play with anybody. It doesn't matter what division you throw him in."

Fairfield Christian leads the MOCAL at 7-0, ahead of second-place Tree of Life (7-1).

Grove City Christian, which lost to Fairfield Christian 75-39 on Jan. 7, is 2-7 in the league and 3-11 overall.

Grove City Christian beat Madison Christian 65-58 on Jan. 5 and 62-60 in overtime on Jan. 27.

Grove City Christian also took Delaware Christian to two overtimes before losing 72-69 on Jan. 24. Delaware Christian won the first meeting 66-55 on Dec. 16.

After losing to Tree of Life 74-42 on Dec. 13, the Eagles played better in the rematch before losing 45-36 on Jan. 21.

"We had every opportunity in the world to take care of that game," Timlin said.

Grove City Christian's other win came against Marion Catholic, 70-62 on Dec. 17.

"The good news is I've been able to keep them motivated, which under these circumstances is commendable just because how close these games have been and it has been against good competition," Timlin said.

Junior Derek Vaughn leads the team in scoring average (15.1 points per game), followed by senior Casey Fisher (11.4) and Whitaker (9.8).

Vaughn leads in rebounding at 7.2 per game.

"I've been coaching high school basketball for nine years and I think this has been the most frustrating two-and-a-half-week stretch of basketball that I've ever been a part of," Timlin said. "I'm not frustrated because I'm angry with the kids. It's actually the exact opposite. I feel bad because they're doing everything that I'm asking them to do. We're just having problems finishing around the rim."

•The girls basketball team surpassed last season's win total when it beat Madison Christian 54-41 on Jan. 20.

Shelby Mayeran and Lisa Zeller each scored 19 points.

The Eagles are 5-13 overall and 3-8 in the league.

Last season, Grove City Christian was 4-16 overall and 2-8 in the league.

Grove City Christian fell short in its bid for a regular-season sweep of Gahanna Christian in a 57-46 loss Jan. 28.

Zeller scored 17 points and Mayeran added 12.

Grove City Christian defeated Gahanna Christian 54-46 on Jan. 3.

The Eagles play Friday, Feb. 3, at Granville Christian and Tuesday, Feb. 7, at home against Village Academy to close the regular season.

The Division IV district tournament draw is Sunday, Feb. 5.

"We are looking forward to our last two regular-season games," coach Elizabeth Morris said. "I look for the girls to play the best that they have all season in these last two games."