Coach Ray Corbett had a single focus in preparation of his 32nd season leading the Grandview Heights High School boys basketball program.
Corbett was less concerned about the tendencies of opponents as much as the performance of his team, which went 19-5 overall last season and shared the MSL-Ohio Division title with Whitehall at 8-2.
"Right now, we're not worried about the rest of the world as much as us," Corbett said. "Our execution has been poor in scrimmages, and we haven't had enough time around each other.
"We have to find the tempo that's comfortable for this group. We have to make good, solid decisions on the court."
The Bobcats return three starters in 6-foot-3 senior guard Manny Day, 6-0 junior guard Brian Collier and 6-7 junior post player Luke Lachey, while 5-11 senior Aaron Cincione was the first player off the bench last winter and will share point-guard duties with Collier.
Lachey was special mention all-state, second-team all-district and league Player of the Year last season. Collier was third-team all-district and first-team all-league, and Day was honorable mention all-league.
"Things (went) pretty well in the preseason, but we still need to work on our execution," Lachey said. "We have three returning starters from last year, and we have a lot of guys back with varsity experience. We need to be better conditioned and learn how to play together down the stretch."
Lance Trares, a 6-3 junior forward, also saw time on varsity last winter.
Juniors Kyle Casey (6-3, post player), Glenn Cribbs (6-3, post player), Darreion Davis (5-10, forward) and Charlie James (5-10, guard) and sophomore Grant Culbertson (6-7, post player) round out the roster.
"Luke, Manny, Lance, Kyle and Glenn are all 6-3 or bigger and length means a lot in basketball," Corbett said. "If you're long, that gives you a huge advantage. That should help us get more offensive rebounds and maybe more defensive deflections, which lead to steals.
"We should have three experienced guards in Brian, Aaron and Manny, so we should be comfortable making decisions and handling the ball on the perimeter. Luke can also handle the ball, and even though he's a Division I (college) football recruit, I think he's a Division I basketball recruit as well."
The Bobcats opened by defeating host Patriot Prep 62-29 on Nov. 29. Collier led with 17 points, Day scored 15 and Lachey added 11.
Lachey had 24 points and 15 rebounds and Collier also scored 24 points as Grandview defeated Africentric 65-49 on Dec. 1 in the All-Ohio Nike Showcase at Pickerington North.
The Bobcats had several players start practice late because of football and soccer. The football team reached the Division VI, Region 23 playoffs, but lost to Bainbridge Paint Valley 39-36 on Nov. 2 in the first round. The boys soccer team reached a Division III state semifinal, where it lost to Miamisburg Dayton Christian 3-2 on Nov. 7.
"We have had a shortage of numbers in part because of good football and soccer seasons," said Cincione, whose team opens league play Saturday, Dec. 8, at Worthington Christian. "We're back to full strength, but we need to get more into basketball shape.
"Most everyone plays football or soccer, and it's a different kind of shape for basketball. It's a lot more sprinting. For the kids from football, it's a lot more about conditioning, and for soccer it's being able to run all of the time."
Wrestling team returns defending state champ
The wrestling team has seven participants this season including senior Hudson Jump, who won the 195-pound state championship in Division III last March.
Jump, who will compete at 220, finished 41-1 last winter. He beat Bloomdale Elmwood's Dylan Hinton by a 9-0 major decision to become Grandview's first state champion since Chad Davis won at 215 in 2006.
"I think Hudson's hungry," fifth-year coach Sam Mehling said. "He's a competitive kid, and he embraces challenges. He tries to seek out competition, not just getting empty wins (in non-competitive matches)."
Also back is senior Derek Tullis, who went 2-2 at 120 at district to finish 21-17.
"Last year I was upset at district and I lost my chance to make it to state," said Tullis, a three-time district qualifier who will compete at 126. "My conditioning wasn't all the way to where it needed to be so I have to work on that this year to be ready."
Rounding out the roster are senior heavyweight Jack Wallace, juniors Gabhran Downer (195/220) and Eli Tullis (120) and freshmen William Doolittle (heavyweight) and Tazio Pintor (130).
"We have some good leaders in not just Hudson, but Derek and Jack as well," Mehling said. "They are all really competitive and are fighting to win sprints in practice every day. It's a good environment to have in the practice room."
The Bobcats opened Dec. 1 in the Upper Arlington Lee Spitzer Invitational, placing 10th (16 points) behind the champion and host Golden Bears (255). Tullis was fourth at 126.
Jump did not compete in order to be healthy for the Ironman Tournament on Friday, Dec. 7, and Saturday, Dec. 8, at Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit.
Nov. 29 -- at Patriot Prep
Dec. 1 -- Africentric in All-Ohio Nike Showcase at Pickerington North
*Dec. 8 -- at Worthington Christian
*Dec. 14 -- vs. Bexley
Dec. 15 -- at Berlin Hiland
Dec. 17 -- at Independence
*Dec. 22 -- vs. Whitehall
Dec. 28 -- Grove City Christian in Bobcat Holiday Classic
Dec. 29 -- Johnstown or Jonathan Alder in Bobcat Holiday Classic
*Jan. 4 -- at Columbus Academy
Jan. 9 -- vs. Horizon Science
Jan. 12 -- vs. Washington Court House
Jan. 15 -- at Westland
*Jan. 18 -- vs. Worthington Christian
Jan. 21 -- at Zanesville West Muskingum in Route 40 Classic
*Jan. 26 -- at Bexley
*Feb. 1 -- at Whitehall
Feb. 2 -- at Galion Northmor
Feb. 5 -- at Caledonia River Valley
*Feb. 8 -- vs. Columbus Academy
Feb. 12 -- vs. Franklin Heights
Feb. 16 -- vs. Utica
Dec. 1 -- Upper Arlington Lee Spitzer Invitational
Dec. 7-8 -- Ironman Tournament at Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit
Dec. 27-28 -- Medina Invitational
Jan. 5 -- Bobcat Invitational
Jan. 18-19 -- Alliance Top Gun Tournament
Jan. 25-26 -- Marion Pleasant Sally George Invitational
Feb. 6 -- At Columbus Academy with Bloom-Carroll and Marion-Franklin
Feb. 16 -- MSL-Ohio tournament at Whitehall
Below are the coming schedules for the Grandview Heights girls basketball, bowling and swimming & diving teams:
*Dec. 7 -- At Bexley
Dec. 10 -- At Columbus School for Girls
Dec. 10 -- Westerville North at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 8 -- Ned Reeb Invitational at Ohio State
Dec. 10 -- DeSales at Columbus Aquatics Center