Tayler Pierce and Hannah Yochem have been their team's primary scoring threats since they started playing basketball together in the fourth grade. That hasn't changed in their freshman season with the Grandview Heights High School girls team.
Pierce, a 5-foot-8 guard, was averaging a team-high 16.4 points through 10 games and Yochem, a 5-7 point guard, was second at 9.6 points.
Despite claiming to be nervous when taking the court in the season opener, Pierce began her prep career with a 30-point performance in a 60-54 loss at Berne Union on Nov. 28.
"I was very nervous, but the upperclassmen helped us to get used to it," said Pierce, whose team was 6-4 overall before playing Patriot Prep on Jan. 10. "I try to do what I can out there. I'm not the best shooter, but I try to drive in to the basket to score."
That driving, slashing game comes naturally to Pierce, who also was the leading scorer for the girls soccer team last fall with 18 goals and five assists.
Yochem also said she needed to adjust her game to the prep level.
"The intensity is really different, especially playing against older girls who are stronger and have more experience," she said. "It's way different than middle school ball in so many ways. It wasn't this intense in middle school."
Fourth-year coach Brian O'Mara expected the two to contribute, but the speed of their acclimation has surprised him.
"They have good basketball IQs, they play on a good AAU team and they are unselfish with the ball," O'Mara said. "The thing I need to teach them is a balance between patience and aggression, and that's a very fine line.
"I want them to be aggressive when the opportunity presents itself, and I want them to be patient to avoid the turnovers. We all had to learn that when we were their age and they are coming along. I couldn't be happier with the way this season is coming along so far."
The Bobcats have played a tough schedule to date, including a pair of high-caliber Division II teams. They lost to London 64-51 on Jan. 5 to fall to 3-2 in the MSL-Ohio Division, but Yochem had 18 points and four 3-pointers and Pierce scored 17 points.
Grandview lost to Eastmoor Academy 63-38 on Nov. 30 as Pierce scored 16 points and Yochem added 14 with three 3s.
"I want the girls to play tough competition now, not wait for a season or two," O'Mara said. "We were down 26 points to Eastmoor in the first half and we were able to cut it to six in the third quarter. We don't have much depth, so that hurt us in the outcome, but these girls will put up a fight to stay in the game."
Yochem said the Eastmoor game showed her the areas in which she needs to improve.
"As a point guard, that really hit me," she said. "Eastmoor was really good and I learned so much from the game. The bigger schools will really put more pressure on me. I need to be able to see the floor more. I need to focus on the whole floor to find the open teammate."
O'Mara said his team likely has surprised a few opponents. The Bobcats went 15-9 last season, but lost point guard Lauren Collier (16.5 points) and forward Lizzie Van Deusen (13.1 points) to graduation.
"I think most teams in the league are shocked and they weren't expecting us to be doing as well as we have been," O'Mara said. "We're young and we need to continue to improve.
"We need Hannah to hit the weight room and Tayler needs to work on her left hand. If I get those two things, I'll be a happy guy."
Jump earns top honor at home wrestling meet
Hudson Jump won the 195-pound weight class to lead the wrestling team Jan. 6 in the Bobcat Invitational.
The junior went 4-0 with four pins and earned his second consecutive Most Valuable Wrestler honor in the event. He improved to 13-0 this season with 12 pins.
"It's always good to get to compete at home in front of your family and friends," said Jump, who will join his teammates in the Alliance Top Gun Tournament on Friday, Jan. 12, and Saturday, Jan. 13. "I'm not wrestling where I need to be right now, but I'm getting there. I'm excited to see what I can do in the Top Gun. It's one of the best tournaments of the year."
The Bobcats finished fifth (105 points) of 17 teams in their home tournament behind champion Grove City (179).
Seniors Jory Lust-George (138) and Bryce Stanley (152) were runners-up, and seniors Kyler Baker (145) and Joe Kotte (182) placed fourth.
"Our seniors had a good showing and that's good for their final time in this meet," coach Sam Mehling said. "I'm proud because even though we lost some matches, they all went 100 percent and that's all we can ask of them."
Boys basketball team loses three in a row
The boys basketball team is 7-3 overall, but has lost its last three contests.
The Bobcats lost to Johnstown 61-40 on Dec. 29 in the championship game of the Bobcat Holiday Classic and then opened 2018 with a pair of MSL-Ohio road losses. They dropped a 49-33 decision to Whitehall on Jan. 3 after trailing 30-2 in the second quarter and lost to Academy 52-44 on Jan. 6.
Grandview's last victory came Dec. 28 when it defeated Marion-Franklin 74-57 in the opening round of the Bobcat Holiday Classic.
Luke Lachey is leading the Bobcats in scoring, averaging 13 points, followed by Brian Collier (12.0), James Lachey (8.3) and Justin Johannessen (8.0).
Below are the coming schedules for the Grandview Heights boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 12 -- Home vs. London
Jan. 15 -- Waterford in Route 40 Classic at Zanesville West Muskingum
*Jan. 13 -- Home vs. Worthington Christian. The Bobcats defeated the Warriors 40-34 on Dec. 2.
Jan. 16 -- Home vs. Columbus School for Girls
*Jan. 11 -- Marion-Franklin at Sawmill Lanes
*Jan. 16 -- Columbus South at Stardust Lanes
*Jan. 17 -- Columbus West at Game of Western Columbus
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 11 -- At Oakstone Academy with Hartley
Jan. 13 -- Northeast Classic at Branin Natatorium in Canton
Jan. 11 -- At West Jefferson with Columbus Academy
Jan. 12-13 -- Alliance Top Gun Tournament