The Grandview Heights boys basketball team has high expectations, and with good reason.
The Bobcats have a pair of returning four-year starters in 6-foot point guard Brian Collier and 6-7 post player Luke Lachey, and they will compete in Division IV for the first time after winning their sixth Division III district championship last season.
Still, 33rd-year coach Ray Corbett said his squad has a lot of work to do before it can think about winning another district title.
"In terms of what (being in Division IV) does for us, we can be pretty competitive down the road, though so many things can happen between now and then," he said. "In time, we can potentially be a pretty good team."
Grandview finished 19-7 overall and 4-4 in the MSL-Ohio Division last season, defeating Johnstown 54-49 to win a district title before losing to Oregon Stritch 63-58 in a regional semifinal.
Collier was third-team all-state and first-team all-district and all-league after averaging 17.3 points and surpassing 1,000 career points late in the season.
"We have some high expectations this season because we have a lot back," he said. "We just got the football players back (Nov. 17) after their playoff run, so we'll need to work on getting the plays down, but that should only take a few practices."
Lachey was honorable mention all-state, second-team all-district and first-team all-league last season after averaging 18.0 points.
"We have a lot of returning guys coming back and we had a good run last year," he said. "We want to take off from where we left off last year. It's my last year so it means a little more."
Senior forward Lance Trares (6-3) also is a returning starter. Senior guard Charlie James (5-10) returned Nov. 25 after suffering a leg laceration during football season.
Another key contributor, senior forward Kyle Casey, had elbow surgery Nov. 17 and will miss the season.
Senior guard Darreion Davis (5-11) and senior forward Glenn Cribbs (6-4) also saw significant playing time last winter.
"We have three that are close to being guaranteed (starters in Collier, Lachey and Trares), but we have a bunch of kids who can play for us," Corbett said. "One of the things that this team might have is versatility with what we want to do with the lineup. I'm not sure whether we will go big or small, but we have looked good both ways."
The Bobcats also have three juniors in guards Adam Bechtel (5-10) and Johnnie Herlihy (6-0) and forward Grant Culbertson (6-7). Also on the roster are 6-0 sophomore guard Aiden Leslie, a move-in from Upper Arlington, and 6-3 freshman forward Ian Gesce.
"Our execution in our offense is as rough as can be, and our shooting is not where it should be," Corbett said. "Defensively, we're not communicating when we need to, and if we're going to be a good team we have to develop a bench and be able to go eight deep. We still have a lot of unanswered questions."
The Bobcats opened Nov. 30 by defeating Hartley 49-36 in the All-Ohio Nike Hoops Showcase at Pickerington North. Leslie led with 16 points, Lachey scored 15 and Collier added 12.
Grandview begins league play Saturday, Dec. 7, at defending champion Columbus Academy.
Bowling teams impress coach
The boys and girls bowling teams have a combined four seniors, with three on a girls squad that reached the Division II district tournament last season.
Second-year coach Ashley Stahurski liked what she saw from the Bobcats in the preseason.
"They are working on improving," said Stahurski, whose team opened Dec. 3 with a COHSBC-A contest against Marysville. "Last year, they (learned) the basics. They understand where they failed last year and are doing everything they can to improve. I can put them in the right direction, but when they put in the work themselves to improve, that's when it's a success."
The girls team returns three bowlers from its lineup at district in seniors Leila Meyer (418, 46th of 80), Paige DeNiro (400, 50th) and Emily Bullock (393, tied for 52nd).
Rounding out the six-player roster are sophomores Madalyn Hollar, Taylor Sanzo and Kyrsten Willimott.
The boys team will be led by senior Luke Berlin. He competed at district last season, rolling a 528 to finish 44th of 76 bowlers.
"We have a young team this year, so we want to get more experience for everyone," Berlin said. "I would like to advance to district and we have the talent to do that from what I have seen. I think if we work together as a team, district could be in our future."
The roster also includes junior Paul Hatem and sophomores Luke Clark-Moody, Jack Greer, Adam Narcelles and Hayden Roemer.
"They all need to work on their spares, just like every year," Stahurski said. "We had 34 kids come out for the team and kept them all."
Below are the coming schedules for the Grandview Heights boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling and swimming & diving teams:
*Dec. 7 -- At Columbus Academy
Dec. 9 -- At Liberty Union
*Dec. 6 -- Home vs. Buckeye Valley
*Dec. 9 -- Home vs. Whitehall
Dec. 11 -- Olentangy Orange at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 7 -- St. Charles-Columbus School for Girls Sprint Showdown at St. Charles
Dec. 9 -- Hamilton Township, Northridge and Teays Valley at Columbus Aquatics Center