Lauren Collier thought her season was over, just as it had begun.
Lying on the floor in the southeast corner of her home gymnasium Dec. 1, the senior for the Grandview Heights High School girls basketball team clutched her right ankle in pain with four minutes left in the third quarter of the season's second game.
Collier had scored 12 points in the 39-35 win over West Jefferson, but she wasn't sure if those would be the final points of her prep career. Luckily for Collier, a 5-foot-2 point guard, she would miss only one game. But the injury was a reminder of how quickly her season could end.Video •Watch an interview with Grandview Heights girls basketball player Lauren Collier.
"The way my ankle felt, I definitely thought I had broken it," Collier said. "I was on a fast break (and) went in, made a layup and was fouled, but I came down on the foot of a West Jeff player. It hurt so bad, and I wasn't able to shoot the free throw. Maddi James came in and made (the free throw) for me, but it was called off for a lane violation.
"I was afraid that I couldn't play. I was so mad about it. Our trainer (Kate Weale) did a great job of getting me back in only a week."
The Bobcats are 12-7 overall and 7-4 in the MSL-Ohio Division, quite a turnaround from going 8-15 overall and 4-10 in the league last season. Coach Brian O'Mara said Collier's play has been a key factor in the reversal of fortune.
Collier is averaging 14.0 points, 5.0 assists and 2.0 steals, but O'Mara believes her biggest stat is her 2.0 turnovers per contest.
"As much as Lauren handles the ball, for her to only have two turnovers per game is amazing," O'Mara said. "She has the ball in her hands 60 to 70 percent of the game and that's a major responsibility. She keeps us going.
"If she didn't handle the ball as much and was a shooting guard, she probably would average five to 10 points more per game, but that doesn't matter. It's not always about points. Getting the ball to Lizzie (Van Deusen) or Makenzie (Bush) in transition is as important to her as scoring points herself."
Collier moved to Grandview just before her junior year after her mother, Beth Collier, became the school district's treasurer. She came from Marion Pleasant and wasn't sure if she was ready for a move.
"Pleasant was the only place I had ever known," she said. "My mom got the job before my sophomore year, but my (freshman) brother Brian and I continued going to Pleasant for another year.
"Basketball at Pleasant was more about getting the ball into the post, but you have more leeway with your shot at Grandview. Pleasant is more of a (girls) basketball school than Grandview, but I'm glad I made the move. I love it here."
Collier also played defender in the girls soccer program, which helped her get acclimated to her new surroundings. She has bonded with Molly Smith and Van Deusen in her two seasons in soccer and basketball, and the three also urged several of their soccer teammates to join the basketball program this winter.
"Knowing Molly and Lizzie in soccer made things easier (in the transition between schools)," Collier said. "It was a carry-over going into basketball. Then we talked several girls into coming out from soccer and that has made us a more athletic team this year."
The Bobcats lost to West Jefferson 39-37 on Jan. 13 in their second league meeting, but the teams will meet for a third time in the postseason. The 11th-seeded Bobcats will play at ninth-seeded West Jefferson on Feb. 21 in the first round of the Division III district tournament.
Collier doesn't plan to play basketball in college. She will major in physical therapy at Cincinnati.
"Coach is always teaching you life lessons, which is great," Collier said."
Jump named league's
Most Valuable Wrestler
Hudson Jump won his second MSL-Ohio championship Feb. 4 at London, and the sophomore 195-pounder also was named the league's Most Valuable Wrestler.
Jump defeated West Jefferson's Jake Burns 10-4 in the final round to improve to 21-0 overall. Burns placed fourth in the Division III state tournament last season at 195, and Jump was seventh at 182.
The Bobcats finished fifth (79.5) in the league tournament behind Bexley (196), West Jefferson (191.5), Whitehall (138.5) and London (116.5) and ahead of Columbus Academy (39.5).
Bryce Stanley (152) and Derek Tullis (120) both finished second, Jory Lust-George (132) was third and Kyler Baker (145) placed fifth.
"We had a pretty good day and got the kids some good matches," coach Sam Mehling said. "We will be going to the (Division III) sectional at Madison Plains (on Feb. 25) and I think we have a good chance to get several of our kids out to district."
The top four finishers in each weight class advance to district March 3 and 4 at Troy.
Boys bowlers continue
to shatter records
The boys bowling team set records for highest match score and most wins in a season by defeating St. Charles 2,231-2,037 on Feb. 3. Its previous high score came in a 2,346-2,202 loss to Beechcroft on Jan. 18.
The Bobcats improved to 11-5 overall and 11-4 in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-Central after defeating Worthington Christian 2,093-2,065 on Feb. 6. It is the program's first 10-win season.
Jake DeNiro was medalist with a personal-best 414 series and a high game of 223 against St. Charles.
In the MSL-Ohio tournament Feb. 4 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl, DeNiro rolled a 215 high game as part of a 515 three-game series to lead the Bobcats to a fourth-place finish behind champion Whitehall.
DeNiro and Jackson Spainhoward were second-team all-league, and Ben Hecker and Brad Jagers were honorable mention all-league.
Emma Berlin rolled a 433 three-game series and Emily Bullock had a personal-best 157 game to lead the girls team, which finished third behind champion Whitehall. Berlin and Bullock were second-team all-league.
The girls dropped to 8-6 overall and 8-5 in the COHSBC-Central after losing to Worthington Christian 1,732-1,597 on Feb. 6.
Girls swimming team
wins UA Invitational
Claire Bills and Martina Moncolova won individual events to lead the girls swimming and diving team to a first-place finish Feb. 4 in the Upper Arlington Invitational.
The Bobcats return to UA on Saturday, Feb. 11, for a Division II sectional meet. There are no automatic qualifiers, but 27 at-large qualifiers in each event advance to district Feb. 17 and 18 at Ohio State based on sectional times.
Moncolova won the 50-yard freestyle (26.79 seconds) as the Bobcats (328 points) finished ahead of the UA junior varsity (313) in a seven-team field. Bills won the 100 backstroke (1:09.76) and Nina Burchfield was second (1:11.31).
Leah Stamm was runner-up in the 100 butterfly (1:02.7) and 100 breaststroke (1:12.45).
The 200 free relay of Meghan Watters, Adelle Bechtel, Grace Rubin and Courtney Swihart was third (1:54.57).
Patrick Rowland was third in the 200 individual medley (2:38.28) as the boys team finished sixth (66) behind the champion U.A. j.v. (295).