Although his team continues to have a difficult time earning wins, Central Crossing High School boys basketball coach Anthony Mangette remains upbeat.
"We're getting better," he said. "The players are taking to coaching. I've showed the players on film the things that we're doing well and that we'll need to do better. I'm very proud of our progress so far. It's slow, but yet it's progress."
On Dec. 29, Central Crossing defeated Gahanna Christian 50-43 in the Warrior Classic at Harvest Prep for its second win of the season. Matt Dwane scored 11 points, and Danny Concepcion and Marc Russell each scored 10.
Central Crossing's first win under Mangette was a 45-44 victory over Hilliard Bradley in his first game as coach Nov. 30.
Last season, the Comets went 0-21.
"Coach is working us hard and fundamentals have picked up," junior guard Mario Melucci said. "We're more of a fundamentally sound team now."
Central Crossing was competitive in a 51-48 loss at home against Groveport on Dec. 28. Dwane scored 14 points and Concepcion had 10.
The Comets were looking to bounce back from a 72-47 loss to Thomas Worthington on Jan. 4 when they played Marysville on Jan. 8. Central Crossing was 2-7 overall and 0-5 in the OCC-Central Division.
Dwane led Central Crossing with 13 points against Thomas.
"It's unreal how tough this league is," Mangette said. "The top of the OCC-Central Division (has) just phenomenally good teams. It's going to make every night tough. Every night is struggle."
The Comets visit Westland on Friday, Jan. 11. The Cougars, who were 6-2 overall and 3-2 in the league before playing Upper Arlington on Jan. 8, swept last year's series with Central Crossing, winning 70-34 and 52-46.
"The kids will probably play into the rivalry thing. I get that, and Westland is a good team," Mangette said. "I know the kids are going to want to win, I know Westland's kids are going to want to win, but it's really about execution. We're still trying to learn how to play at that high level."
Grove City outlasts Gahanna for league win
Grove City earned its second OCC-Ohio win by defeating visiting Gahanna 63-60 on Jan. 4. The Greyhounds led 50-39 after three quarters and held off a late Gahanna rally.
Brandon Bapst led the way with 18 points and 14 rebounds.
"It was a great win for us," said coach Greg Waits, whose team was 5-6 overall and 2-3 in the OCC-Ohio before playing Lancaster on Jan. 8. "Whether it's Gahanna, whether it's someone else in our league, whenever you win a game in our conference it's a good win anytime."
Grove City visits Pickerington North on Friday, Jan. 11. Last season, the Greyhounds defeated North 71-59 and 60-47.
The Greyhounds entered the Lancaster game seeking their first winning streak since defeating Groveport 72-44 on Dec. 14 and Teays Valley 70-45 on Dec. 15.
"We have a great group of kids that show up every day, work hard and do what we ask them to do," Waits said. "All of our games, we've been right there. We've just been a play or two (away), a hustle point away, something away from getting over the top and winning a bunch of those games. We're one of the best 5-6 teams around."