The Granville High School girls basketball team seemingly has adopted at least a few of first-year coach Sue Borchers' personality traits.

The Granville High School girls basketball team seemingly has adopted at least a few of first-year coach Sue Borchers' personality traits.

"I think so," guard Marie Mock said after a 53-44 victory at MSL-Ohio Division-rival Heath last Tuesday. "Her personality is so contagious. If she's fired up and we're not, well, she'll find a way to get us there."

One such example came against the Bulldogs, who had won the first-round game 57-44 on Dec. 5 to give the Blue Aces their only league setback entering last Saturday's game with Bexley. Several players said Borchers gave an animated pep talk in the locker room as Granville trailed 21-15 at halftime. The team then had a 15-4 run to open the third quarter to take a 30-25 advantage. It did not trail again.

"I was more fired up at halftime in these two games (with Heath) than in any other games we've played," said Borchers, whose team was 9-2 overall and was tied with Newark Catholic for first in the MSL-Ohio at 8-1 after a53-35 victory against Whitehall last Thursday. "I got in their faces and told them I can't want it more than they do."

Borchers coached the eighth-grade team the past three seasons, and she also assisted with the field hockey team last fall. Borchers, who teaches health and physical education at the middle school, expected immediate success even though the Blue Aces went 9-34 in two seasons under former coach Laura Reding and had won only 20 games combined the past four years.

Posting a winning record would have represented a major step forward. Having won nine games with nine to play in the regular season surprised almost everyone aside from Borchers and perhaps a handful of players.

"From the first day I was hired, I told the girls what I wanted and expected of them," Borchers said. "I kept saying, 'We're not here to please but to compete.'"
The Blue Aces appear hungry for more. They play play host to Licking Heights on Tuesday before resuming league play Friday at Lakewood .

"No way we're satisfied," forward Lacie Buckey said. "We're playing with a lot of confidence right now. Our coach has believed in us from day one and we believe in our abilities, too."

There's little question the Blue Aces have improved dramatically since last season, and last Tuesday's victory also serves to showcase the improvements they've made since the early weeks of this season. Along the way there have been dominant wins over defending league-champion Bexley (66-44 on Dec. 12) and contender Licking Valley (65-38 on Jan. 6). A 63-57 victory Jan. 10 over the Green Wave now has the team thinking in terms of a MSL-Ohio title.

Buckey, who scored 13 of her 17 points against Heath in the second half, was averaging a team-best 10.3 points through 10 games. Haley Snider was averaging 8.8 points and Hannah Combe was at 8.2. Combe made eight of 10 free throws during the fourth quarter to help keep the Bulldogs at bay.

"As much as anything else I think we've learned to finish," Mock said. "Coach keeps telling us, 'Never let up. Never stop playing hard.'"

Buckey's bank shot from near the left baseline as the second-quarter horn sounded drew a heated dispute from Heath coach Doug Griffin, who contended that the ball left her hand too late. Borchers gathered her players and raced to the locker room even before the points were added to the scoreboard, and she again demonstrated a cool demeanor when a foul call went against the Blue Aces as the Bulldogs were trying to rally in the final minutes.

She turned to the fans complaining loudly while sitting behind the Granville bench, raising and lowering her arms as if to ask them to quiet down and show better sportsmanship.

"That's coach all day long," Mock said. "She really, really wants to win but she wants to do it the right way."