Grove City Christian boys basketball coach Chris Timlin is encouraged by his players' desire to improve.
Last season, the Eagles finished 4-17 overall and went 2-10 in the MOCAL to place sixth, behind Fairfield Christian (12-0), Tree of Life (9-3), Delaware Christian (7-5), Gahanna Christian (7-5) and Granville Christian (5-7) and ahead of Madison Christian (0-12).
They concluded last season with a 55-49 loss to Fairfield Christian in the first round of the Division IV district tournament.
Grove City Christian is 2-1 overall and 1-0 in the MOCAL heading into a game Friday, Dec. 21, at Delaware Christian.
"They want to get better," said Timlin, who is in his third season. "They do a good job watching film. They do a good job in practice. They want to learn how to execute at a higher level. I'm looking forward to seeing how everything gets going as we move along."
Grove City Christian returned four players in senior Derek Vaughn (6-foot-1, forward) and juniors Ben Aulick (6-1, guard), Tyler Elgin (6-2, guard) and Michael Howard (6-2, guard).
Last season, Vaughn averaged a team-high 16.7 points and 8.3 rebounds and was named second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district. Howard averaged 8.7 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists and was honorable mention all-league.
Rounding out the team are sophomores Josh Harkness (6-1, forward), Alex Poling (6-0, forward), Casey Stauffer (5-8, guard), Tristan Taylor (5-10, guard) and Aaron Whitaker (5-10, guard).
According to Timlin, Taylor is being counted on to be a key contributor after scoring 20 or more points in seven games last season on junior varsity. He had a game-high 20 points in the Eagles' opener, a 55-53 win over Tree of Life on Nov. 30.
Vaughn added 17 points against the Trojans.
"That was fantastic," Timlin said. "The respect that I have for those two guys (Tree of Life co-coaches Joe Arndt and Jim Morgan) and what they've done over at Tree -- it's the first time in school history that we beat them. The kids knew that. It was a significant win. Very few teams have an opportunity to do something very significant during the opener and (we) did. It was a good win and the guys were ecstatic. That's a pretty big monkey in terms of trying to get it off their back."
Grove City Christian lost to Berne Union 58-54 on Dec. 10 but rebounded to defeat Patriot Prep Academy 69-49 on Dec. 13. Berne Union is in Division III.
According to Vaughn, the Eagles are looking to break the program record for victories in a season. The mark was set in the 2009-10 season, when Grove City Christian finished 12-8.
"That's definitely a goal," Vaughn said. "That's probably our main goal. This team deserves it. We worked really hard in the offseason. We've all bonded together. There's no individuals. It's all a team and we're all focused on that goal."
Girls basketball team earns two early wins
The girls basketball team has lost four games in a row after winning its first two.
The Eagles opened Nov. 27 with a 40-37 win over Columbus Academy and defeated Wellington 49-25 on Nov. 30.
Baily Graves had 18 points and Lisa Zeller scored 12 against Academy and Graves had 23 points and Zeller scored 10 against Wellington.
The Eagles dropped to 2-4 overall with a 70-29 loss to Worthington Christian on Dec. 15. Zeller had 13 points against the Warriors.