The Grove City Christian School boys basketball team came up short in its pursuit of a second consecutive Division IV district championship.
The Eagles saw their season end with a 70-48 loss at fifth-seeded Tree of Life in the third round of the district tournament March 2 to finish 9-15 overall.
"It was a tough way to end the season, but I'm still really proud of the kids," coach Chris Timlin said. "I'm really proud of my (seven) seniors. It's going to be a tough group to let go."
The Eagles won their first district title last season, defeating Harvest Prep 64-60 before losing to Portsmouth Clay 100-97 in double overtime in a regional semifinal to finish 22-5. They lost eight players from that team to graduation.
Against Tree of Life, Grove City Christian trailed 21-6 after one quarter and played most of the first half saddled with foul trouble.
Senior forward Noah Tomlinson led the Eagles with 18 points.
"We knew that they had a lot of athleticism in their backcourt and they took advantage of that from the tip. They went right after us," Timlin said. "We had a lot of foul trouble and it took us out of our game plan. We really wanted to trap the basketball a lot more."
After a first-round bye, sixth-seeded Grove City Christian defeated fourth-seeded Shekinah Christian 55-36 in the second round Feb. 27 at Jonathan Alder.
Sophomore forward Garrett Baker, who was promoted from the junior varsity late in the season, led the Eagles with 16 points. Senior guards Riley Peters and Isaac Harmeyer added 14 and 11 points, respectively.
Tomlinson, who will play at Muskingum, was named first-team all-MSL-Cardinal Division and second-team all-district. He averaged a team-high 12.7 points and 8.6 rebounds.
Sophomore guard Brayden Holbrook averaged 10.3 points and was honorable mention all-league.
Other players eligible to return are juniors Brett Baker (forward), Gavin Robbins (guard) and Taylor Stauffer (guard) and sophomores Koby Brunney (guard), Cameron Donohoe (guard) and Timothy Sullivan (forward).
The Eagles went 5-9 in the MSL-Cardinal to tie Berne Union for fifth behind Harvest Prep (14-0), Wellington (12-2), Fisher Catholic (9-5) and Zanesville Rosecrans (6-8) and ahead of Fairfield Christian (4-10) and Millers-port (1-13).
"We were competitive at the Division IV level for the most part and they were engaged all season," Timlin said. "(The seniors) were enthusiastic. They were really good at preparing for each opponent."
Girls basketball player earns district honor
Junior guard/forward Naomi Cotter of the girls basketball team recently was named honorable mention all-district in Division IV.
She averaged a team-high 10 points and seven rebounds as the Eagles went 6-17.
@ThisWeekFrankAt a glance
*Record: 9-15 overall, 5-9 (tied for fifth) in MSL-Cardinal
*Seniors lost: Kendrick Beard, Isaac Harmeyer, Riley Peters, Trent Reed, Caleb Sullivan, Noah Tomlinson and Noah Whitaker
*Key returnees: Garrett Baker and Brayden Holbrook