Grove City High School boys basketball coach Greg Waits has long praised the competition level in the OCC-Ohio Division.'
Grove City High School boys basketball coach Greg Waits has long praised the competition level in the OCC-Ohio Division.
Waits' view was re-emphasized this season after his team tied Newark, Pickerington Central and Reynoldsburg for the league title at 10-4.
"Our kids are exited. We're excited that we were able to get a share of the OCC title and, in this conference, us getting a share of this is outstanding," Waits said.
"I'm so proud of the boys. This says an awful lot about our league. Our league is very tough top to bottom and you have to be ready every night or you're not going to win."
It is the Greyhounds' first league title since 2009, when they went on to win a district title and lost to eventual state champion Northland 70-64 in a regional semifinal.
Grove City, Newark, Pickerington Central and Rey-noldsburg finished ahead of Gahanna (9-5), Pickerington North (4-10), Groveport (2-12) and Lancaster (1-13).
Central is the defending Division I state champion.
The Greyhounds entered the final week of the regular season one game behind Newark and Central and in need of help from Gahanna to earn a share of the title.
The Lions defeated Newark 68-51 on Feb. 12 and Central 72-62, forcing the four-way tie.
Grove City defeated North 41-32 in its final league game Feb. 15. Senior guard Brandon Bapst led the Greyhounds with 18 points.
"We started out the season a little slow, but we never gave up on ourselves," Bapst said. "We knew how we could beat anybody in our league if we just played together as a team."
Although Waits and his players said they will cherish the league title, they quickly turned their focus to the Division I district tournament.
"We told them to celebrate it (last Friday night) and Saturday, but Sunday get ready to play (Hilliard) Davidson," Waits said. "It's a new season. ... Our first goal is to win the OCC title and we did. Our second goal is winning a Central District championship."
The Greyhounds, seeded 16th, play host to 33rd-seeded Davidson in a first-round game at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22.
Grove City is 14-8 overall and Davidson is 5-17. The teams met in a second-round game last season, with the Wildcats winning 54-50.
The winner plays seventh-seeded Dublin Coffman or 32nd-seeded Dublin Jerome in the second round at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27, at the home of the higher seed.
Coffman is 16-4 and Jerome is 7-13.
If the Greyhounds win twice, they'll play in a district semifinal March 6 at Pickerington North against fifth-seeded Dublin Scioto, 10th-seeded Pickerington Central or 14th-seeded Delaware.
"We feel real good about our draw," Waits said. "We have to play a tough Davidson team in the first round and then we'll go from there."Central Crossinghas first-round bye
Central Crossing will play top-seeded Northland or 42nd-seeded Hilliard Bradley in the second round of the district tournament at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27.
The Comets are seeded 41st and have a first-round bye. They'll either play at Northland or play host to Bradley.
Northland is 22-0 and finished first in the final state poll. Bradley was 1-20 before playing Jonathan Alder on Feb. 19.
The winner will play 12th-seeded Westerville South, 20th-seeded Walnut Ridge, 25th-seeded Pickerington North or 31st-seeded Groveport in a district semifinal March 6 at Marysville.
The Comets closed the regular season at 2-20 overall by losing to visiting Westland 78-64 on Feb. 15. Guard Andrew Russell scored 13 points and guard Marc Russell scored 11.
Central Crossing finished eighth in the OCC-Central at 0-14.