In a corridor leading to the Grove City High School boys basketball locker room, framed photos recognizing former standouts in the program decorate the walls.
Coach Greg Waits said the main criteria for being recognized are hard work and commitment, so there's no doubt senior P.J. Jones, a four-year starter at point guard, will have his photo displayed following the season.
"P.J.'s picture will be up there, no doubt about it," Waits said. "Those are some of the hardest-working kids that we've ever had play here at Grove City every year and that's who goes up."
Through 15 games, Jones was averaging a team-high 17.4 points and 6.1 rebounds. The Greyhounds were 9-7 overall before playing Watterson on Jan. 30 and are 2-4 in the OCC-Ohio Division.
"It was always a dream of mine to play varsity my freshman year, and to see what I've become, it's great," Jones said. "(The coaching staff has helped me become) everything I am today. I've matured so much throughout the years and they're everything to me. I couldn't have asked for a better four years."
Jones has fond memories of his prep career, including helping Grove City reach a Division I district final in his freshman season. The 15th-seeded Greyhounds defeated fourth-seeded Dublin Coffman 42-40 in a semifinal before losing to third-seeded Dublin Jerome 61-57 in the final.
After losing in the second round during Jones' sophomore season, Grove City fell to Coffman 54-46 in a district semifinal last season.
Jones hopes to close his prep career by leading the Greyhounds on a long postseason run.
"I obviously want to win (a state championship), but I want to go as far as we can in the (district) tournament and continue to work hard every day," he said. "That's everybody's dream."
Jones will fulfill a longtime dream by playing collegiately at Division II Lake Erie College in Painesville.
"I loved it the first couple of times I went (up) there," he said. "Coach (Kyle) Conley is a great coach. They're building something great there and they're having a great year. They're a very young team, so I loved it."
Lake Erie was 11-9 entering this week.
Waits and his staff were aware of Jones' potential when he attended Richard Avenue Elementary School. He was added to the varsity roster the summer before his freshman year after playing at Jackson Middle School in eighth grade.
"We're going to miss him when he leaves," Waits said. "He's such a special kid, a special player. We knew P.J. when he was in second and third grade. ... We knew he was going to be a good player."
After wearing No. 1 in his first three seasons, Jones is wearing No. 24 this year to honor Nick Bapst, who wore the number for the Greyhounds. Bapst, a junior guard at Ashland University, went into sudden cardiac arrest during a scrimmage Oct. 25 and later was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a thickening of the heart muscle.
Jones and Bapst were teammates during Jones' freshman season.
"It means a lot to me to wear that number," Jones said. "I take pride in it and it's given me a different mindset this year coming out and working hard because when (Bapst) was here he worked hard every single day and expected nothing less than great, and that's what I try to do to model myself after."
Jones competed in his final regular-season game against Central Crossing on Jan. 23, scoring 10 points in a 52-46 win.
Dominic Reinier's 3-pointer with 2 minutes, 10 seconds remaining snapped a 49-all tie. He finished with 16 points and Nick Erwin added 11.
"P.J. and Nick are obviously pretty steady scorers. They played well -- those (are the) guys we look for -- but Dominic Reinier really stepped up and played his (most) complete game of the season and we're proud of Dom," Waits said. "We needed him to step up and he did. He hit some big shots."
On Jan. 26, Reinier scored 14 points and Jones and Ben Wilhelm each added 13 in a 66-60 loss to Reynoldsburg.
Erwin, the Greyhounds' other starting guard, also could have his photo displayed after the season, Waits said. Erwin was second on the team in scoring through 15 games, averaging 15.1 points.
"Nick Erwin is such a competitor," Waits said. "He's one of the most competitive kids we've ever had."
Wrestling team tops Central, North
After splitting a pair of matches in the Division I team dual tournament Jan. 24, the wrestling team improved to 2-1 in the OCC-Ohio by defeating Pickerington Central 36-33 and Pickerington North 67-10 on Jan. 25 at Lancaster.
In the team dual tournament at Hilliard Bradley, Grove City defeated Franklin Heights 72-9 before being eliminated with a 34-33 loss to Central Crossing.
Against Franklin Heights, winners by pin were Jackson Kuhn at 113 pounds (49 seconds), Caden Gordon at 120 (2:38), Justin Swavely at 138 (1:06), Carlin Hamilton at 170 (3:03), Nick Getz at 182 (1:36) and Max Petty at 195 (1:11).
Blake Stevens at 132 (1:54), Hunter Barker at 152 (3:17) and Petty at 195 (4:57) had pins against Central Crossing.
Christensen leads swimmers in OCC meet
Justin Christensen led the boys swimming and diving team in the OCC-Ohio meet Jan. 27 at Thomas Worthington, winning the 500-yard freestyle (4:59.07) and finishing second in the 200 free (1:52.29).
Nicholas Routh was third in the 100 butterfly (58.77), and Gregory Kingsbury was fourth in the 50 free (23.78) and 100 free (53.09).
Grove City finished fifth (172) behind Gahanna (297), Lancaster (238), Reynoldsburg (200.5) and Pickerington North (178) and ahead of Pickerington Central (113.5).
For the girls, Olivia Jordan was fourth in the 500 free (5:53.1) as the Greyhounds finished fifth (116) behind North (389), Gahanna (249), Lancaster (229) and Central (133) and ahead of Reynoldsburg (77).