Ray Corbett sat back in his chair in the Grandview Heights High School coaches office Feb. 9 and smiled, savoring a hard-fought victory.
His boys basketball team had just defeated Columbus Academy 55-46 to stay atop the MSL-Ohio Division standings and avenge an earlier loss.
Since losing to the Vikings 52-44 on Jan. 6, the Bobcats had won 10 consecutive games and were 17-3 overall before playing Galion Northmor on Feb. 13. They are on the verge of winning their first league title since 2009.
The Division III district tournament also is on the horizon. Grandview is seeded seventh behind top-seeded Harvest Prep and opens Feb. 26 with a first-round home game against 17th-seeded Fairbanks.
"It's going to be an interesting (district) tournament," Corbett said. "There are so many good teams in there, and no one is going to have it easy."
But first things first, namely the Bobcats' pursuit of a league championship. Grandview and Whitehall are tied for the MSL-Ohio lead at 7-2 with one game to play.
The Bobcats visit London, which is 0-9 in the league, on Friday, Feb. 16. Grandview won the first meeting 52-44 on Jan. 23.
Also on Feb. 16, the Rams face Academy at home.
On Feb. 9, the Bobcats trailed Academy 14-8 after one quarter and 24-16 at halftime before Corbett and his staff made a pivotal switch.
"(The coaches) were watching us chase them around and (the Vikings) run their stuff so well," Corbett said. "We just needed to make a little bit of a change. I was resistant to going to a zone (defense), but it turned out to be gold."
Trailing 32-20 with 5 minutes, 49 seconds left in the third quarter, the Bobcats went on an 18-0 run to take a 38-32 lead into the fourth. James Lachey had 10 of his 15 points in the third to help Grandview take charge.
"What an awesome performance (by Lachey), but that's what your seniors are supposed to do," Corbett said. "I don't care what sport it is, if you are going to win a championship or you are going to win big games, your seniors have to lead you there. They lead you and the other guys follow suit.
"That's something (Lachey) can look back on and be proud of. He was under control emotionally and probably played the best half of basketball that he has ever played here."
Lachey said the zone changed the complexion of the game.
"After halftime, we started to get our offense together and playing real defense," he said. "We have been running this zone since freshman year and it's tough. We're long and we're quick and it's hard to get a shot from the outside."
Luke Lachey led Grandview with 18 points and Brian Collier added 11.
One day later, Collier scored 16 points and Luke Lachey added 11 in a 52-29 win over Utica.
Swimmers head into district meet
Charlie Ferguson and Calvin Furbee led the boys swimming team in a Division II sectional meet Feb. 10 at Upper Arlington.
Furbee finished first in the 200-yard freestyle (1 minute, 47.04 seconds) and is the top seed at district Friday, Feb. 16, at Ohio University.
He also was second in the 100 butterfly (53.28) at sectional and is the second seed at district.
Ferguson was second in the 200 individual medley (2:05.22) at sectional and is the third seed at district, and he was third in the 100 fly (55.05) to earn the sixth seed.
Grandview also qualified for district in all three relays. The 400 free relay of Ferguson, Andrew Bergmann, Bo Hawkins and Furbee is seeded second at district after finishing first at sectional in 3:35.43. The 200 free relay with the same four competitors is seeded sixth after a third-place finish (1:37.91), and the 200 medley relay of Hawkins, Thiemo Alpinice, Bryan Gilleland and Patrick Rowland is the 15th seed after finishing fourth (1:56.04).
All three girls relays won sectional titles. The 200 free relay (1:45.49) of Keelin O'Connor, Martina Moncolova, Adelle Bechtel and Annie Volker is seeded sixth at district, the 400 free relay (3:58.82) of O'Connor, Moncolova, Meghan Watters and Volker is seeded eighth and the 200 medley relay (2:03.59) of Nina Burchfield, Grace Rubin, Bechtel and Watters is seeded 13th.
O'Connor won the 200 IM (2:20.41, fourth seed) and 100 backstroke (1:03.68, ninth seed). Also winning events were Moncolova in the 100 free (58.08, 16th seed), Rubin in the 100 breaststroke (1:18.53, 27th seed) and Volker in the 200 free (2:06.19, 11th seed).
No automatic qualifiers advanced to district from the UA sectional. They were part of 27 at-large qualifiers in each event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectionals.
At district, the top two placers in each event automatically advance to state Feb. 22 and 23 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths will be awarded in each event based on district times statewide.
Bowling teams prepare for sectional tourneys
The boys and girls bowling teams compete in Division II sectional tournaments this week.
The boys compete Friday, Feb. 16, at HP Lanes, and the girls compete one day later at the same site.
In both sectionals, the top 12 teams and top 12 individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district Feb. 22 at HP Lanes.
Last season, both teams qualified for district. The boys finished seventh (3,485) at sectional behind champion Jonathan Alder (4,110), and the girls were 12th (2,776) behind champion Jonathan Alder (3,522).
The boys finished the regular season 7-5 overall and 6-3 in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-C Division. Brad Jagers leads with a 179.9 average, followed by Aidan Young (164.7), Noah Gangloff (156.5) and Spencer Growing (155.7).
The girls team finished 7-5 overall and 4-4 in the COHSBC-C. Leila Meyer (139.0) has the top average, followed by Emily Bullock (130.0) and Shea McHugh (125.3).
@ThisWeekHennenAt a glance
Below are the district qualifiers with sectional time and district seeds for the Grandview Heights boys and girls swimming teams:
BOYS -- Thiemo Alpinice: 100 breast (1:09.87, 17th); Andrew Bergmann: 100 free (54.59, 22nd), 200 free (2:02.91, 18th); Adam Ellis: 100 back (1:09.29, 29th); Charlie Ferguson: 100 fly (55.05, sixth), 200 IM (2:05.22, third); Calvin Furbee: 100 fly (53.28, second), 200 free (1:47.04, first); Bryan Gilleland: 100 free (57.18, 30th); Bo Hawkins: 100 back (1:07.61, 20th); 200 free relay (1:37.91, sixth); 200 medley relay (1:56.04, 15th); 400 free relay (3:35.43, second)
GIRLS -- Adelle Bechtel: 50 free (26.22, 13th), 100 free (58.64, 20th); Nina Burchfield: 100 fly (1:06.36, 20th), 200 free (2:10.14, 21st); Martina Moncolova: 50 free (26.55, 23rd), 100 free (58.08, 16th); Keelin O'Connor: 100 back (1:03.68, ninth), 200 IM (2:20.41, fourth); Grace Rubin: 100 breast (1:18.53, 27th), 200 IM (2:37.37, 28th); Katherine Taylor: 100 breast (1:19.07, 30th); Annie Volker: 100 back (1:03.9, 11th), 200 free (2:06.19, 11th); Meghan Watters: 50 free (26.76, 24th), 100 free (59.59, 25th); 200 free relay (1:45.49, sixth); 200 medley relay (2:03.59, 13th); 400 free relay (3:58.82, eighth)