Grove City High School boys basketball coach Greg Waits believes his team still had an opportunity to beat seventh-seeded Dublin Coffman in the second round of the Division I district tournament despite committing 19 turnovers and playing without its leading scorer.
The 16th-seeded Greyhounds lost 48-42 on Feb. 27 to finish 15-9 overall. Senior guard Brenden Mathews had a team-high 15 points.
"It was a very competitive game," Waits said. "Dublin did a great job defensively, played us really dominant, and we didn't shoot the ball very well."
Grove City played without 6-foot-4 senior guard Brandon Bapst, a Malone University signee who suffered a concussion in practice Feb. 24. He averaged a team-high 13.4 points.
"It was very unfortunate I was injured the last game of the season, but it doesn't change the amazing season we had as a team and reaching our goal of being OCC-Ohio champs," Bapst said. "We have great memories to take with us as we move into the next phase of our lives. I am very thankful for my coaches, teammates and all the Grove City fans for their awesome support this year."
Grove City, which defeated 33rd-seeded Hilliard Davidson 76-51 in the first round Feb. 22, went 10-4 in the OCC-Ohio Division and tied Newark, Pickerington Central and Reynoldsburg for the league championship. Gahanna (9-5) placed fifth, followed by Pickerington North (4-10), Groveport (2-12) and Lancaster (1-13).
The league title is the Greyhounds' first since 2009.
Grove City loses eight seniors, including Bapst and guards Tyler Hale and Christian Meister.
Bapst was named first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district. Meister, who averaged 10.1 points, was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district, and Hale was special mention all-league.
"We had a great group of kids," Waits said. "This group of kids won't be together ever again, so it was kind of tough on all of us because they didn't want it to end."
Among those expected to return are junior guards Tyler Dunn, Scottie Luchini and Ben Myers and sophomore guards Ryan Grooms and Nick Bapst.
Dunn was honorable mention all-league.
Comets finish with two wins
First-year Central Crossing coach Anthony Mangette is trying to change the culture of the program, and he knows it will take time.
The 41st-seeded Comets finished 2-20 overall, losing to top-seeded Northland 104-50 in the second round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 27 after having a first-round bye. The Vikings were ranked first in the final state poll.
Central Crossing went 0-14 in the OCC-Central to place eighth, behind Olentangy Liberty (13-1), Coffman (12-2), Westland (9-5), Thomas Worthington (8-6), Upper Arlington (8-6), Marysville (4-10) and Davidson (2-12).
The Comets' victories came against Hilliard Bradley (45-44 in their opener Nov. 30) and Gahanna Christian (50-43 on Dec. 29).
"It was a long season," Mangette said. "There are a lot of things that need to get better, and it's not going to be a one-season event. It's going to be a long process."
The Comets, who lost their final 15 games, lose two seniors in post players Cody Hall and Kyle Hall, who are twins.
Expected to return are juniors Brock Casey (guard), Dwight Diggs (post player), Tony Hood (post player), Mario Melucci (guard), Liban Mohamed (guard), Marc Russell (guard) and Louis Quinn (guard) and sophomores Danny Concepcion (guard), Matt Dwane (post player) and Andrew Russell (guard).
Marc Russell, who had a team-high 14 points against Northland, averaged 9.0 points and was honorable mention all-league. Dwane averaged a team-high 9.1 points.
"Our experience level next season is going to be significantly better than it was this year," Mangette said.