Coach Neil Hohman is seeing things come together in his fourth season leading the Central Crossing High School boys basketball program.
Hohman has just one starter back from last year, when the Comets finished 11-12 overall and 3-7 in the OCC-Central Division. However, he's seeing former junior varsity players step up to fill vacancies on varsity.
"We have (5-foot-11 junior guard) Anthony Lowe as our only starter back, but (6-3 senior post player) Dan Ewald came off the bench for us and senior (6-2 guard) Josh McLaughlin is in his third year on varsity," Hohman said. "This is my fourth year as coach and we keep taking steps as a program. Everyone gets along pretty well, and we have eliminated some of the problems we have had in the past."
Ewald is joined in the post by seniors Michael Devereaux (6-5), Jasaad Montague (6-5) and Clay Watercutter (6-5) and juniors Devon Miller (6-4) and Tyler Ronevich (6-4).
"I'm really excited about this year," said Ewald, who averaged 4.2 points and 3.3 rebounds last season. "I thought we might be smaller but we have some decent height this year, and I like that."
Lowe and Miller both are filling roles previously occupied by their brothers, 2018 graduates Keason Lowe and Nic Miller. Keason Lowe started at point guard for three seasons.
"Keason has done a lot for the school," said Anthony Lowe, who averaged 8.0 points last season. "It's a little shift from shooting guard to running the point now, but I have to get the job done.
"We like to speed up the pace more and that's where we get our energy. When we do that, I think we're really effective."
Hohman said it's a natural progression for the program.
"We have some guys filling some roles from the seniors from last year that are getting some experience now and figuring things out together as a group," Hohman said. "Keason started three years and Anthony played off the ball. Now he takes over that spot, and Devon takes over for what Nic was doing for us and sliding in his spot. Brothers taking over is like a natural flow."
Juniors Jalen Coles (6-3, guard/forward), Donovan Collins (6-3, guard/forward) and Logan Green (6-0, guard) and sophomores Jeremy Burns (6-0, guard) and Tristen Needham (6-1, guard) round out the roster.
"We have decent size across the board and good athleticism," Hohman said. "Physically, we're there, but it's getting to the point where we need our basketball abilities to match our physical abilities.
"Anytime we get a rebound, we want to get out and go and see if we can get some easy transition buckets. We want to get things going that way."
The Comets opened Dec. 4 at Ready. They begin league play Friday, Dec. 7, at defending champion Upper Arlington.
Wrestling team features young roster
With the graduation of two-time Division I state champion Jaden Mattox, the wrestling team features a younger and less experienced lineup under ninth-year coach Jamie Ramirez.
The Comets return just three district qualifiers in senior Hudson Leapley (126/132 pounds), junior Derek Layne (138) and sophomore Eddie Roberts (120/126).
Mattox won at 160 as a senior and 132 as a sophomore.
"It's a new look for us, but it's exciting," Ramirez said. "We normally have a lot of kids back, but now we get to go back and teach. It's kind of refreshing to do that.
"We only have two seniors and a handful of juniors, and the rest of the team is sophomores and freshmen. Right now, they don't have habits that you need to break. We're looking to the future because we're so young and, for the most part, it will be a two- or three-year development cycle."
Leapley is a two-time district qualifier, but he didn't advance from sectional last season at 120 because he was battling an illness. Layne (145) and Roberts (113) both were 0-2 at district last winter.
"Hudson isn't getting much recognition but we know what he's capable of doing, and he's also a top 25 student in his class," Ramirez said. "We expect him to do good things.
"Eddie Roberts is young and we expect to see a lot of progress in his sophomore season. Derek Layne is a junior and he's a leader for us and he knows our system."
Juniors Lance Blackwell (heavyweight) and Omari Green (220/heavyweight) are expected to excel in the upper weights, and Ramirez has high expectations for sophomore Justin Carney (145).
"The team is starting to jell and bond," Ramirez said. "They are starting to realize the expectations we have for them in both the classroom and the practice room."
The Comets opened Dec. 1 in the Olentangy Invitational, finishing eighth (108) of nine teams behind the champion and host Braves (197).
Green (heavyweight), Leapley (132) and junior Nathan Vanhouten (195) all finished first, and Layne (145) was second. Sophomore Abel Garantche (220) placed third, and sophomores Michael Bradshaw (182) and Caleb Davis (160) both were fourth.
Dec. 4 -- at Ready
*Dec. 7 -- at Upper Arlington
Dec. 8 -- vs. Columbus Academy
*Dec. 14 -- vs. Marysville
Dec. 18 -- vs. Canal Winchester
*Dec. 21 -- at Hilliard Davidson
Dec. 28 -- at Olentangy Orange
*Jan. 4 -- at Dublin Coffman
Jan. 8 -- at Groveport
*Jan. 11 -- vs. Westland
Jan. 12 -- at Briggs
Jan. 15 -- vs. Licking Heights
*Jan. 18 -- vs. Upper Arlington
Jan. 22 -- vs. Grove City
*Jan. 25 -- at Marysville
Jan. 26 -- vs. Dublin Scioto
Jan. 29 -- vs. Teays Valley
*Feb. 1 -- vs. Hilliard Davidson
Feb. 2 -- vs. Hamilton Township
Feb. 5 -- at Reynoldsburg
*Feb. 8 -- vs. Dublin Coffman
*Feb. 15 -- at Westland
Dec. 1 -- Olentangy Invitational
Dec. 12 -- at New Albany with Whetstone and Whitehall
Dec. 14-15 -- Olentangy Liberty Classic
Dec. 29-30 -- Marion Harding Classic
*Jan. 10 -- vs. Dublin Coffman
Jan. 12 -- Comet Classic at home
*Jan. 17 -- at Upper Arlington
Jan. 18-19 -- Mike Casey-Maumee Bay Classic at Oregon Clay
*Jan. 24 -- vs. Hilliard Davidson
Jan. 26 -- Rieman Invitational at Delaware
*Feb. 7 -- vs. Westland
Feb. 9 -- Canal Winchester Invitational
*Feb. 14 -- at Marysville
Below are the coming schedules for the Central Crossing girls basketball and gymnastics teams:
*Dec. 7 -- Home vs. Upper Arlington
Dec. 12 -- At Hilliard Davidson with Franklin Heights, Grove City, Hilliard Bradley, Hilliard Darby and Westland