Grove City High School boys basketball coach Greg Waits believes senior Brandon Bapst fits the mold of his ideal player -- someone who is hard working, dedicated and puts the team before individual accomplishments.
Bapst helped the Greyhounds take a 7-6 overall record and a three-game winning streak into their game Jan. 15 against Westland. Grove City is 4-3 in the OCC-Ohio Division entering its game Friday, Jan. 18, at Reynoldsburg.
"Brandon works his butt off and he's getting better and better every day," Waits said. "He's becoming a really good leader for our team. He's a great kid; he's a great person. He does a great job in the classroom. Everybody loves him. He works very hard at his game."
Through 13 games, Bapst was averaging a team-best 13.8 points, up two points from last season when he also averaged a team-best 7.0 rebounds and was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district in Division I.
Bapst attended elementary and middle school in South-Western City Schools, but he transferred to Grove City Christian before his freshman year when he feared a failed levy would force the cancellation of winter sports in 2009-10. Fall sports were canceled that school year, and even though they were reinstated for the winter season, Bapst remained at Grove City Christian.
He returned to Grove City for his sophomore year and has played on the basketball team since. A guard, he will play at NCAA Division II Malone University in Canton.
"I had five scholarship offers and I just decided that Canton was a little bit closer to home," Bapst said. "My parents would be able to make the games and I really like the coaching staff and the players up there. That was the difference for me, so when I really thought about it, it was an easy choice."
The Greyhounds will visit Reynoldsburg looking to avenge a 50-46 home loss to the Raiders on Dec. 7.
"We're playing together as a team, we understand our roles and we know that if we trust each other on defense we can pull out some wins against some good teams," Bapst said.
Reynoldsburg is 12-1 overall and 7-0 in the league, with the loss coming against Zanesville 43-41 on Jan. 5.
Grove City turned in a solid defensive effort in a 45-21 win at Pickerington North on Jan. 11. The Greyhounds outscored the Panthers 14-0 in the fourth quarter and guard Tyler Dunn scored 19 points.
"Obviously, we played pretty well defensively and Pick North plays great defense," Waits said. "Both teams struggled in the first quarter a lot (with) scoring, and it wasn't because teams couldn't shoot it. It was just great defense. That was probably the best performance we've ever had defensively. We shut them out in the fourth quarter and that was pretty impressive."
Guard Christian Meister scored 19 points, Bapst scored 17 and guard Brian Stith scored 10 in an 88-53 win at Lancaster on Jan. 8.
"I like the way our team is practicing, I like our attitude," Waits said. "The kids are really focused, they're leveled in, and right now we're doing the things that we were hoping we were going to be doing at the beginning of the year. It took us awhile to jell a little bit, but I think this team is coming into its own right now."
Central Crossing to face Liberty
Central Crossing entered its game against Franklin Heights on Jan. 15 at 2-10 overall and looking to end a four-game losing streak.
The Comets are 0-7 in the OCC-Central entering a game Friday, Jan. 18, at Olentangy Liberty.
Central Crossing lost to the Patriots 85-39 on Dec. 7.
The Comets lost to Marys-ville 86-58 on Jan. 8, Westland 94-69 on Jan. 11 and Walnut Ridge 73-33 on Jan. 12.
Against Marysville, post player Matt Dwane scored 15 points, guard Marc Russell scored 12 and post player Cody Hall scored 10.
Against Westland, Dwane scored 17 points and Hall and Russell each scored 10.