Nearly two months ago, the Grandview Heights High School boys basketball team looked to be spinning its wheels.
The Bobcats had lost three consecutive games and seemed to be headed in the wrong direction, especially in the MSL-Ohio Division, where they split their first four games.
Grandview pumped the brakes and then took off. The Bobcats won 11 of 12 games to close the regular season and swept their final six league contests to earn their first league title since 2009.
"Any time you can win a championship of any flavor, it's special," said coach Ray Corbett, whose team is 18-4 overall and shared the MSL-Ohio title with Whitehall at 8-2. "We certainly had opportunities to fold the tent and not even think about getting this (title), but we weathered the storm and that's quite an accomplishment."
Grandview sealed the deal with a 76-52 win Feb. 16 at London. On the same evening, Whitehall defeated Columbus Academy 60-45.
The Bobcats lost three consecutive contests near midseason, falling to Johnstown 61-40 on Dec. 29 in the championship game of the Bobcat Holiday Classic before losing to Whitehall (49-33 on Jan. 3) and Academy (52-44 on Jan. 6).
"You're going to have bad patches of basketball, but we worked through that," said Corbett, who was named the league's Coach of the Year. "I give our kids credit for being able to win 11 of 12 down the stretch."
A 10-game winning streak was snapped Feb. 13 with a 61-48 loss at Galion Northmor. Sophomore Brian Collier had 23 points with four 3-pointers and sophomore Luke Lachey had 15 points.
That loss energized the Bobcats heading into their game with London, as they outscored the Red Raiders 25-8 in the first quarter and led 44-15 at halftime.
"It's really great to achieve one of your goals like that," senior post player James Lachey said of winning the league title. "We were excited to get back after it and show we were better than we played against Northmor. We knew what was on the line and we wanted to have a strong end to the regular season."
Luke Lachey, the league's Player of the Year, led four Bobcats in double figures with 20 points. James Lachey had 17 points, junior Manny Day scored 13 and senior Justin Johannessen added 12.
"Even though we had beaten London (64-44 on Jan. 23), we wanted to come out strong and play good defense, and that really got us going," Johannessen said. "This (league) title gives us a lot of confidence heading into the postseason. We lost to Northmor, but that showed us that we have to come ready to play every night."
Grandview is seeded seventh for the Division III district tournament and opens Monday, Feb. 26, at home against 17th-seeded Fairbanks. The teams have not played this season.
With a win, the Bobcats will play host to ninth-seeded Johnstown on March 3 in the second round.
"We won the league, but we still have a lot of work to do," James Lachey said. "We have to get back to work (in practice) ... and get ready for district."
Bullock, Jagers, Meyer to bowl at district
Senior Brad Jagers and sophomores Leila Meyer and Emily Bullock will compete for the boys and girls bowling teams in the Division II district tournament Thursday, Feb. 22, at HP Lanes.
The top three individuals not on qualifying teams at district advance to state at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl. The boys compete March 2 and the girls compete March 3.
Jagers advanced by rolling a three-game series of 479 to take the 12th and final district-qualifying spot among 185 participants in the sectional Feb. 16 at HP Lanes. Jonathan Alder's Jacob Schrock (620) was medalist.
The boys finished 17th (3,001) of 30 teams behind champion Jonathan Alder (3,643). London (3,177) was the 12th and final team to advance.
Luke Berlin (458) and Aidan Young (409) also rolled three games for Grandview.
The girls competed at sectional Feb. 17 at HP Lanes but did not have the necessary five participants for a team score.
Meyer (525) was fifth of 157 bowlers behind medalist Rena Kirts (553) of Jonathan Alder. Bullock (420) tied Lakewood's Autumn Small for 37th to take the 12th and final district-qualifying spot.
Shea McHugh (384, 61st) and Emmy Davis (303, tied for 99th) also competed for the Bobcats.
Girls basketball teams begins district play
The 11th-seeded girls basketball team was 13-8 before opening the Division III district tournament Feb. 20 at ninth-seeded Ready.
The winner plays host to 13th-seeded West Jefferson on Saturday, Feb. 24, in the second round. Grandview has not played the Roughriders this season.
The second-round winner plays in a district semifinal against eighth-seeded Centerburg, 10th-seeded Marion Elgin or 12th-seeded Worthington Christian on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at a site to be determined. The Bobcats did not play Centerburg or Elgin this season, but split with the Warriors in MSL-Ohio action, winning 40-34 on Dec. 2 and losing 38-36 on Jan. 13.
The district final is March 2 at Ohio Dominican.
Wrestlers prepare for sectional tourney
The wrestling team will compete in a Division III sectional tournament Saturday, Feb. 24, at Madison Plains.
The top four finishers in each weight class advance to district March 2 and 3 at Heath.
Last season, Hudson Jump (195 pounds) and Bryce Stanley (152) both won sectional championships. Also advancing to district were Kyler Baker (145, second), Jory Lust-George (126, third) and Derek Tullis (120, third).