Though school will be out of session, the Gahanna Lincoln High School boys basketball team still plans to do a lot of learning during the holiday break.

Though school will be out of session, the Gahanna Lincoln High School boys basketball team still plans to do a lot of learning during the holiday break.

The Lions will take part in the Youth Sports Foundation showcase, hosting a pair of games next week against out-of-area teams. Gahanna plays Cleveland Heights on Tuesday and Huber Heights Wayne on Dec. 31.

Coach Tony Staib said games against unfamiliar opponents are valuable because they can highlight strengths and weaknesses.

"As coaches, we are looking for things we have to improve on," said Staib, whose team was 4-0 overall and 3-0 in the OCC-Ohio Division before playing Pickerington North last Tuesday.

The games against Cleveland Heights and Wayne should provide Gahanna with a lot of information. Both were unbeaten after last Saturday, with Wayne (5-0) and Cleveland Heights (4-0) being ranked among the top teams in their respective areas.

Despite injuries to two of its top players, Cleveland Heights has remained on track, relying primarily on sophomore guard Tyree Gaiter and senior forward Alfonzo Houston. Gaiter averaged 18 points in wins over Euclid and Bedford last weekend.

But Wayne figures to be the tougher of the two opponents. Coming off an 18-6 campaign last season, Wayne added a pair of high-profile transfers -- guards Xavier Jones and Isaiah Boddie -- in the offseason. Wayne's top player is guard Travis Trice, who is averaging 25.6 points per game. Its lineup also features junior forward Markus Crider, who already has a half dozen Division I scholarship offers, including one from the University of Wisconsin.

"I expect them to be really good," said guard Stevie Taylor, who has played extensively against Trice, Crider and Jones. "Our preparation is going to be very important."

Staib said he expects both games will have a district championship feel, given the quality of the teams involved.

"These are teams that have high expectations just like we do," Staib said. "They have the bar set very high for their squads this year."

Ultimately for Gahanna, the most important component of playing tough non-league games is to figure out how to improve going forward.

There will be three other games played at Gahanna on the two days of the event. Prior to Gahanna's game against Cleveland Heights on Tuesday, Wayne plays Urspring Academy from Germany at 7 p.m. On the Dec. 31, Dublin Scioto plays Urspring at 1 p.m., followed by Columbus East and Cedar Grove (Ga.) at 3 p.m. Gahanna's game against Wayne is scheduled to start at 5 p.m.

Gahanna had little trouble last Friday against visiting Central. The Lions used a huge third quarter to blow open the game on the way to a 66-39 victory.

Gahanna took a 30-14 lead into halftime, closing the second quarter on a 12-2 run. Then, after the break, the Lions got hot from behind the arc.

Anthony Jackson made back-to-back 3-pointers in the first 51 seconds of the half.

After a Central basket, Sam Bott and Rob Bradenberg each hit 3-pointers to push the lead to 41-16.