Every inch of the court is being utilized as part of the Gahanna Lincoln High School boys basketball team's game plan this winter.

The Lions have two of the area's more athletic guards in senior Chase Rankin and junior Josh Corbin as well as several other returning players, and they're looking to speed things up.

"We're quick and athletic and we'll try to use it to our advantage to go 94 feet," 16th-year coach Tony Staib said. "We really feel good about using our quickness and athleticism, and we've got multiple guys that can shoot the basketball. We're definitely not the biggest team, but we'll have five players on the court who can run."

Gahanna opened Dec. 1 by losing to Westerville South 61-58. The Lions begin OCC-Ohio Division action Friday, Dec. 8, at home against Reynoldsburg.

Corbin is a 6-foot-3 shooting guard who has offers from several mid-major colleges after averaging a team-best 11.7 points last season. He was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district.

Rankin is a 6-1 point guard who was honorable mention all-league and averaged 8.4 points. He has signed with Purdue Northwest.

The Lions went 15-10 overall last year and were fifth (3-7) in the OCC-Ohio behind champion Pickerington Central (10-0), which beat league runner-up Pickerington North (8-2) for the Division I regional title.

"We've really got the same goals as last year and (we want to) win as many games as possible," Rankin said. "We're probably one of the more experienced teams. We've been doing pretty well. We've got a lot of seniors on the team. We're an up-tempo team so we like to get out and push the ball, play with a high tempo and be scrappy defensively. We're just trying to improve."

There are six other seniors in the program, although one of those players, guard Seth Goodson, is expected to miss the season with an injury after averaging 4.0 points last year.

The others are Cameren Carlisle (6-1, wing player), David Miller (6-1, guard), Nate Ward (6-5, wing player), Mike Reeves (6-7, post player) and Carlton Wilkes (6-3, post player).

Junior Elijah Thomas (6-0, guard) averaged 6.1 points and Ward averaged 4.7 a year ago.

Also on the roster are sophomores Jaiden Davis (6-5, post player) and Nate Staib (5-9, guard).

"Most of us have been playing with each other since middle school, so we've got that chemistry and camaraderie," said Ward, who is the brother of former Gahanna standout and Michigan State sophomore Nick Ward. "Not a lot of teams have that. The OCC is a tough league. Playing in this league gets everyone better, and it's fun."

Gahanna had just one senior a year ago in Basit Seidu, a post player who averaged two points.

Senior guard Randy Olverson transferred to Eastmoor Academy after averaging 4.6 points. Junior guard Jordan Mitchell averaged 11.5 points and made honorable mention all-district but transferred to Montverde Academy in Montverde, Florida.

In addition to playing in a challenging league, the Lions play two teams from the City League in Mifflin (Saturday, Dec. 9, at home) and Africentric (Jan. 27 at Ohio Dominican) as well as perennially strong programs like Whitehall (Tuesday, Dec. 12, on the road), Olentangy Liberty (Jan. 9 at home) and New Albany (Jan. 23 on the road).

"We've got so many guys that can dribble, pass and shoot, and we'll sort of be playing small ball," coach Staib said. "We'll have to play fast to be able to compete."

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek

Schedules

BOYS BASKETBALL

Dec. 1 -- at Westerville South

*Dec. 8 -- vs. Reynoldsburg

Dec. 9 -- vs. Mifflin

Dec. 12 -- at Whitehall

*Dec. 15 -- at Pickerington North

*Dec. 22 -- vs. Grove City

Dec. 28 -- at Watkins Memorial

Dec. 30 -- vs. Zanesville

*Jan. 5 -- vs. Lancaster

Jan. 6 -- vs. Thomas Worthington

Jan. 9 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty

*Jan. 12 -- at Pickerington Central

Jan. 16 -- vs. Worthington Kilbourne

*Jan. 19 -- at Reynoldsburg

Jan. 23 -- at New Albany

*Jan. 26 -- vs. Pickerington North

Jan. 27 -- Africentric in Jared Sullinger Play by Play Classic at Ohio Dominican

*Feb. 2 -- at Grove City

Feb. 3 -- at Dayton Northridge

Feb. 6 -- vs. Westerville Central

*Feb. 9 -- at Lancaster

*Feb. 16 -- vs. Pickerington Central

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the Gahanna Lincoln girls basketball, bowling, hockey, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:

GIRLS BASKETBALL

*Dec. 8 -- At Reynoldsburg

Dec. 12 -- At Westerville North

BOWLING

*Dec. 12 -- Big Walnut at Capri Lanes

*Dec. 13 -- Westerville North at Columbus Square Bowling Palace

HOCKEY

Dec. 9 -- Cincinnati Northwest at Chiller Ice Works

*Dec. 10 -- Springboro at Chiller Easton

SWIMMING & DIVING

Dec. 8 -- Canal Winchester at Gahanna YMCA

Dec. 9 -- Columbus Academy Relays

WRESTLING

Dec. 9 -- Big Walnut Classic

*League contest