As a senior captain, Marc Russell has been looked upon to provide leadership for a struggling Central Crossing High School boys basketball team.
The Comets were 2-17 overall before playing Jonathan Alder on Feb. 11 and are 0-13 in the OCC-Central Division.
Despite the disappointing season, Russell has remained upbeat while providing guidance for the underclassmen.
"That's something I'm trying to do as a senior," he said. "We only have a couple games left now, but I want to make sure these guys go into next year with something to build on. We have some fun games coming up and with Brock (Casey) and I being the only seniors left now it's a big part of what we're trying to do, just keep these guys going and show them how to work hard."
Seniors Luke Duncan (hand) and Dwight Diggs (knee) and sophomore Noah Stephens (back) were lost for the season with injuries.
"None of the seniors have given up," coach Anthony Mangette said. "They're very positive individuals. They have a focus of trying to finish this season out. These seniors really want to set a mark."
Central Crossing is seeded 43rd of 45 teams in the Division I district tournament and plays at fifth-seeded Newark in the first round Feb. 21.
The Comets wrap up their league schedule Friday, Feb. 14, at Westland. Central Crossing lost to the Cougars 71-62 on Jan. 10, a game in which Mangette said his team was competitive.
The Comets lost at home to Marysville 69-47 on Feb. 7. Anthony Thompson scored 12 points and Russell added 10.
Through 19 games, Russell was averaging team highs of 12.2 points and three assists. He has been able to play the last two seasons with his brother, Andrew, a junior.
"With all the adversity we've had to go through the past couple of years, it's really helped having him there every day," Marc said of his brother. "He's my best friend and he handles some things better than I do, and it really helps both of us to have each other there keeping the other one in check when they need it."
Marc plans to play baseball at Cedarville University. Last spring, he helped the baseball team set a program record for wins while finishing 18-10.
Grove City boys earn 12th seed
The Grove City boys team is seeded 12th in the Division I district tournament and has a first-round bye. The Greyhounds play host to 23rd-seeded Franklin Heights or 31st-seeded Mount Vernon in the second round Feb. 28.
Grove City was 13-6 overall and 7-5 in the OCC-Ohio before playing Newark on Feb. 11.
"We want to play our best basketball at the end. It's key for us to continue getting better every day. The big thing for us is just being consistent every single night, every day in practice," coach Greg Waits said.
After losing to Gahanna 74-57 on Feb. 4 at home, the Greyhounds won at Lancaster 84-59 on Feb. 7. Nick Bapst scored 19 points, Drew Bapst had 16 and Kyle Laffin added 12.
Against Gahanna, Nick Bapst scored a game-high 28 points and Tyler Dunn added 12.
Grove City girls look to gain momentum
The Grove City girls team had won two of its last three games before playing Groveport on Feb. 12.
The Greyhounds were 10-11 overall and 3-10 in the OCC-Ohio.
They defeated Lancaster 54-43 on Feb. 7 at home, avenging a 46-44 loss to the Golden Gales on Jan. 8. Jen Draper scored 17 points and Gina Conti added 16 in the rematch.
Grove City lost at Gahanna 45-41 on Feb. 4. The Greyhounds trailed 28-17 at halftime, but outscored the Lions 21-4 in the third quarter. Gahanna, however, finished the game on a 13-5 run.
"The Gahanna game we were 9-for-20 from the free-throw line, which is totally unlike us because we usually shoot pretty well from the free-throw line," coach Dale Corbett said. "If we would have hit a few of them, we would have won that thing."
Gahanna tied Newark for second (10-4) in the league behind Reynoldsburg (12-2). Pickerington Central was 9-4 before playing Pickerington North on Feb. 11.
The Greyhounds defeated Central 70-69 on Jan. 31.
Grove City is seeded 28th in the Division I district tournament and plays at 12th-seeded Hilliard Bradley on Monday, Feb. 17, in the first round. The winner plays 17th-seeded Westerville South on Feb. 20 at the home of the higher seed.
"Bradley is real good, but I thought it was a good matchup for us," Corbett said. "They're kind of methodical, very much like an OCC team."
Central Crossing girls to face UA in tourney
The Central Crossing girls team is 4-17 overall and finished 1-13 in the OCC-Central.
The 38th-seeded Comets visit second-seeded Upper Arlington in the first round of the Division I district tournament Monday, Feb. 17.
The Golden Bears won the OCC-Central title at 13-1 and beat the Comets twice, 41-27 on Dec. 16 and 44-31 on Jan. 28.
"It is a whole new season," coach Neil Hohman said. "Teams have to be well prepared and play good basketball to move forward. Our girls are looking forward to the challenge and we will be ready to go."
The winner plays 36th-seeded Thomas Worthington on Feb. 20 at the home of the higher seed.