With the Division I district tournament approaching, Grove City High School boys basketball coach Greg Waits believes it's significant that his team has yet to reach its potential.
The Greyhounds were 12-5 overall and 6-4 in the OCC-Ohio Division before playing Gahanna on Feb. 4.
The tournament draw is Sunday, Feb. 9, and the tournament begins Feb. 21.
"We haven't played our best basketball yet and that's a good thing because we always tell our kids that we want to be playing our best basketball at the end," Waits said. "We're playing pretty well right now, but we certainly haven't played our best game yet and the best is yet to come for this group."
Waits was disappointed with his team's execution in a 77-72 league loss at Pickerington Central on Jan. 31. The Greyhounds committed 18 turnovers.
"We turned the ball over way too much," Waits said. "We told our kids we had to have 10 or less turnovers in that game to have a chance to win the game and we had 18 and we ended up getting beat by five points."
Central opened a 51-42 lead after three quarters on its way to holding on to first place in the league at 9-1.
The Tigers played without Ohio State signee Jae'Sean Tate, who was out with a shoulder injury. Connor Kern led Central with 25 points.
Nick Bapst led a balanced attack for Grove City with 20 points, followed by Tyler Dunn with 16, Drew Bapst with 15 and Scottie Luchini with 11.
The Greyhounds bounced back to defeat host Groveport 73-62 in a league game Feb. 1. The game had been postponed Jan. 24 because of bad weather.
Grove City again received a balanced effort, as Ryan Grooms led with 15 points, Nick Bapst scored 14, Dunn had 13 and Luchini added 12.
"We pushed the ball a lot better than we did (against Central)," Dunn said. "Our team defense was definitely a lot better, too."
Before Feb. 4, Newark was second in the league at 8-2, followed by Gahanna at 8-3 and Grove City.
With Tate expected to miss action, Dunn believes the league title still is up for grabs.
Last season, the Greyhounds went 10-4 in the league to tie Central, Newark and Reynoldsburg for the title.
"The team is getting ready for the tournament, but we still have to focus on our regular season," Dunn said. "We still have a chance to take the OCC, so that's another big focus."
Grove City girls draw Bradley in opener
The Grove City girls team is seeded 28th in the Division I district tournament and will play at 12th-seeded Hilliard Bradley in the first round Feb. 17.
The Greyhounds were 9-10 overall and 2-9 in the OCC-Ohio before playing Gahanna on Feb. 4. They avenged a 62-53 loss at Pickerington Central on Dec. 20 by defeating the Tigers 70-69 on Jan. 31 at home on Kayla Mitchell's go-ahead free throw with 12 seconds remaining.
Jen Draper led Grove City with 17 points. Gina Conti had 12 points and seven rebounds.
Katrina Williams made seven 3-pointers and scored 28 points for the Tigers, but was limited to three points in the final quarter.
Comets boys coach sees improvement
Central Crossing boys coach Anthony Mangette believes his team is taking steps forward as the regular season winds down.
The Comets were 2-15 overall and 0-11 in the OCC-Central before playing Thomas Worthington on Feb. 4.
Central Crossing lost at home to league-leading Upper Arlington 60-48 on Jan. 28. The Comets led 26-25 at halftime, but were outscored 20-8 in the third quarter.
Marc Russell led Central Crossing with 17 points and Andrew Russell had 10.
"The (UA) game was a step forward," Mangette said. "We played well in the first half to have a halftime lead. UA, however, is very well coached and their team is very disciplined. They were more precise in their offensive execution in the third quarter and out-toughed us."
Central Crossing lost at home to Dublin Coffman 88-36 on Jan. 31 as Andrew Russell scored 11 points.
Central Crossing girls seeded 38th in tourney
The Central Crossing girls team is seeded 38th in the Division I district tournament and will play at second-seeded Upper Arlington in the first round Feb. 17.
The Comets lost to the Golden Bears, who lead the OCC-Central, 41-27 on Dec. 16 and 44-31 on Jan. 28.
Michaela Dorsey led Central Crossing in the rematch with a game-high 18 points.
The Comets lost at Coffman 56-27 on Jan. 31 as Dorsey scored eight points.
"Shooting percentage in the first half of each game was the difference," coach Neil Hohman said of the losses to UA and Coffman. "At UA, we shot the ball well and converted some buckets to put us in a good position. Coffman came out and made some shots and we did not shoot as well and they jumped on us early. Our girls competed and put forth the effort needed."
Central Crossing was 4-15 overall and 1-11 in the OCC-Central before playing Thomas on Feb. 4.