Despite reaching a Division III district semifinal for the first time in three years, coach Ray Corbett wasn't ready to make any proclamations about his Grandview Heights High School boys basketball team.
However, he was willing to acknowledge the Bobcats had been playing at a high level in recent weeks.
"Over the last few games, we have sat down and guarded, which is what we need to do," said Corbett, whose sixth-seeded Bobcats were 17-6 heading into a district semifinal against second-seeded Worthington Christian on March 5. "We have played with confidence, and we have guarded. Our kids have done a nice job."
The Bobcats and Warriors battled this season in the MSL-Ohio Division, which had four of its five teams reach a district semifinal.
Bexley defeated Centennial 75-53 on March 2 to reach a Division II district semifinal, and Columbus Academy outlasted Wellington 77-73 on March 2 to reach that round in Division III. Only Whitehall failed to reach a district semifinal, losing to Newark 61-43 on March 1 in the second round in Division I.
"We had some good teams in our league, and it showed," Corbett said. "We had battles every game, and it helped to get us ready to face good teams."
The Bobcats' last loss came at the hands of Academy, 48-43 on Feb. 8. They had won six in a row entering the district semifinal.
"Our conference was really strong, and there was never a night off," junior guard Brian Collier said. "You had to bring it every night no matter who you were playing.
"It was a tough loss (to Academy), but we didn't get down on ourselves. We came to practice the next day and wanted to finish strong."
The Grandview-Worthington Christian winner advanced to a district final against third-seeded Johnstown or eighth-seeded Marion Pleasant on Friday, March 8, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. The Bobcats lost to Johnstown 56-35 on Dec. 29 in the championship game of the Bobcat Holiday Classic.
The district champion plays fourth-ranked Genoa Area, Bloomdale Elmwood, Metamora Evergreen or Oregon Cardinal Stritch in a regional semifinal Wednesday, March 13, at Bowling Green. The regional final is March 16 at Bowling Green.
Grandview closed its home schedule with a 55-37 victory over ninth-seeded West Jefferson on March 2 in the second round of district play. Manny Day scored 16 points, Luke Lachey had 15 and Collier added 14.
The Bobcats outscored the Roughriders 31-15 in the second half.
"They have a couple of outstanding kids, and we put Luke Lachey on one of them, Ben Casey, in the second half," Corbett said. "Luke held him to four points in the second half, and that was a big difference."
The Bobcats also defeated 18th-seeded Heath 66-28 on Feb. 25 in the first round at home. Collier scored 19 points with four 3-pointers and surpassed 1,000 career points.
Lachey also scored 19 points and Day added 15.
"It's nice to score 1,000 points, but having a long tournament run would be better," Collier said.
Corbett hoped his players could continue their strong performances.
"What it comes down to is, when you get to this time of the year, your best kids have to play against your opponents' best kids, and they have to play well," he said.
Jump aiming for second state title
Hudson Jump continues his quest for a second consecutive Division III state wrestling championship and his first unbeaten season Thursday, March 7, through Saturday, March 9, at Ohio State.
The senior 220-pounder improved to 34-0 while winning his weight class with four pins in the district tournament March 1 and 2 at Rayland Buckeye Local. He pinned West Jefferson's Hunter Braithwaite in 1 minute, 59 seconds in the final and totaled 6:37 of mat time in his four bouts.
As the Bobcats' only competitor at district, Jump totaled 30 points. That gave Grandview a 24th-place finish behind champion Galion Northmor (114 points) as 46 teams scored.
"It was really a lot of fun," Jump said. "It's great to get a chance to get back to the Schottenstein Center and do the best that I can."
Jump will be making his fourth state appearance. He placed seventh at 182 as a freshman, fifth at 195 as a sophomore and won the title at 195 last year.
"I only have a few more high school matches remaining," he said. "I want to push myself and see what I can do."
Jump opens state against Gibsonburg junior Hunter Smith (27-8). Jump is the only defending state champion in the bracket and also the only one who is unbeaten.
Hamler Patrick Henry junior Wil Morrow (31-1) is the only past state placer after finishing seventh at 182 last season. He is a possible opponent for Jump in a semifinal match.