Entering his first season as coach of the Central Crossing High School boys basketball team, Anthony Mangette looked to his two seniors to help make the transition go smoothly.
Cody Hall and Kyle Hall, fraternal twins and 6-foot-4 post players, have provided that assistance.
"When we had team selection (in November), I asked them if they could help out because we have a bunch of young post players that we're going to need to tutor and (I asked them to) take them under their wings a little bit," Mangette said. "They both agreed to do that and they've been very instrumental (in the players' development). They've been positive role models."
Even though the Hall brothers aren't starters, they have been valuable contributors off the bench, Mangette said.
"They are very entertaining," he said. "They work very hard and they have goals of trying to make our program successful and to be a part of that building process, and they add humor to it. They kind of look at the sunny side of situations and sometimes we really need that."
The Comets were 2-15 overall and 0-9 in the OCC-Central Division before playing Upper Arlington on Jan. 29. Through 17 games, Cody's best offensive performance came in a 94-69 loss to Westland on Jan. 11, when he had 10 points.
"We're not giving up, but the season isn't going the way I thought it would," Cody said. "We turn the ball over a lot. That's what hurts us the most."
Central Crossing entered its game against UA on a nine-game losing streak.
"We thought we'd be a lot better than we are," Kyle said. "We'd like to get a few more wins."
Through 17 games, junior guard Marc Russell was averaging a team-high 8.5 points and sophomore post player Matt Dwane was averaging 7.6.
Sophomore guard Andrew Russell scored a season-high 17 points in a 77-45 loss to Grove City on Jan. 22. The Comets lost to Hilliard Davidson 50-32 in a league contest three days later.
"We got off to a good start (against Davidson). We were up 8-1 and were feeling really good," Mangette said. "We looked good, we were spreading the ball around, had nice balance on the floor both offensively and defensively, and then we just hit the wall.
"Hilliard Davidson kind of ran away from us. We were in the game at the half and turned the ball a little too much in the third (quarter). We have to do a better job of playing four-quarter games."
Grove City facing busy OCC schedule
Grove City will be playing three OCC-Ohio contests in the next five days, starting with a home game Friday, Feb. 1, against defending Division I state champion Pickerington Central.
The Greyhounds lost to the Tigers 74-64 on Dec. 21. Senior guard Brandon Bapst had a team-high 22 points and senior guard Christian Meister scored 12. Forward Jae'Sean Tate led Central with 21 points and guard Connor Kern scored 14.
Grove City then will play Groveport on Saturday, Feb. 2, at home before traveling to Gahanna on Tuesday, Feb. 5.
The Greyhounds had been scheduled to play Groveport on Jan. 25, but the game was postponed because of bad weather. They defeated the Cruisers 72-44 on Dec. 14 behind 15 points from Bapst and 11 from senior forward Devonta Thomas and senior guard Bryton Wise.
Guard Tyrone Cherry led the Cruisers with 15 points.
Grove City defeated Gahanna 63-60 on Jan. 4 behind 18 points from Bapst and 17 from Meister. Guard Ronnie Stokes Jr. led the Lions with 22 points and forward Javon Bess scored 21.
Grove City was 9-7 overall and 5-3 in the OCC-Ohio before playing Newark on Jan. 29.
"Pickerington Central and Gahanna are both outstanding, well-coached teams with tremendous athletes," coach Greg Waits said. "We will have to be at our best. We are looking forward to both games. Our kids are playing extremely well now as a group."